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A tire rotation is exactly what it sounds like. You remove the tires from the car, and put them back on in a different arrangement. The standard rotation is to move the front tires straight back, so the driver’s side front tire is now the driver’s side rear tire, and the passenger’s side front tire becomes the passenger’s side rear tire. And then move the rear tires forward, but diagonally, so the driver’s side rear tire becomes the passenger’s side front tire, and the passenger’s side rear tire is now the driver’s side front tire. Still with me? The purpose of a tire rotation is to extend the life of the car’s tires. Tires wear at different rates, depending on where they are on the car. The front and rear tires don’t wear at the same speed, and neither do the left and right tires, especially if you have any sort of alignment issue. Rotating your tires keeps the wear and tear even, which, in turn, makes sure that they have a long life. That’s a good thing, right?
When’s the last time you cracked open your owner’s manual? Tires should be rotated on a schedule. Your manufacturer may mandate that schedule, but if not, wherever you get your tires installed will. So, you can do one of two things. You can follow that scheduled maintenance, or you can ignore it, and pay for new tires a lot sooner.
The entire purpose of a tire rotation is to help your tires wear and tear evenly. If they’re doing so unevenly - say, the right tires are wearing out far faster than the left ones, or the front tires look much different than the rear ones - that’s a sure sign that it’s time to get those things rotated.
No, you’re not going crazy. If your tires are due for a tire rotation, it might feel like your car is pulling to the left or to the right all the time. In all likelihood, your car is actually doing that. And a likely culprit are your tires that are in dire need of being rotated.
You can keep driving your car when you need a tire rotation. For a while, it will be perfectly safe. But every mile you drive when you need a rotation is a mile that you’re causing uneven wear and tear to the tires, diminishing their lifespan, and pushing up the date of when you have to spend more money replacing them.
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