Rotating your tires is a very important step for maintaining your vehicle. Why? Because it extends the life of your tires by ensuring they wear evenly. Check out the video that demonstrates how to rotate your tires when needed:
- Jack stand(s) — Quantity varies based on how you choose to rotate your tires
- Ratcheting wrench (an extension is also useful) or an impact wrench
- Sockets for the lug nuts (check to make sure you have the proper size so you don’t strip the lug nuts)
- Torque wrench
- Floor jack
First, look at your tire for any markings classifying it as directional or not. For example, “Right >>>” or “<<< Left.” If your tires are directional, they need to stay on that side of the vehicle. Meaning, you can rotate the tires from front to back and vice versa, but not from side to side.
Now you’re ready to start. If you’re using a ratcheting wrench, loosen only the front lug nuts first before jacking up the car. Forgetting this step will cause the wheel to spin as you try to loosen them after it’s already been jacked up. Don’t remove the lug nuts, just break them loose. This step doesn’t apply to the back tires.
Once that’s done, jack the vehicle up until the desired tires are off the ground. Secure the jack stand underneath it for safety in case the jack slips or fails. Look in your vehicle’s manual to find a designated “jack stand-safe” place.
Next, take the lug nuts off fully and carefully remove the wheel, making sure to not scratch anything. Take this opportunity to inspect the tire for any potential issues. Then simply swap the tires and put them back into place on the vehicle.
Start screwing the lug nuts on by hand so you don’t accidentally cross thread the wheel studs. Secure one lug nut to the point where it’s as tight as your bare hand can get it. You can then jump around and secure the other ones to be tighter. Follow a star pattern for best results. Do not immediately go in with the impact wrench and forcefully tighten the lug nuts down, creating a loud noise!
Once all the lug nuts on your rotated tires are hand-tight, remove the jack stand and let the weight of the vehicle come back down on the wheels and tires. Then, you can fully tighten the lug nuts with the torque wrench. Your owner’s manual and/or wheel manufacturer will be able to tell you what the torque specs should be for your specific wheel. Tighten them down in, again, a star pattern.
And that’s it! After you’ve driven on the vehicle, make sure to go back in and check everything is still tight and safe. It’s recommended to rotate your tires every 7,500 miles, and now you know how to get it done!