Everything You Need to Know About Tire Balancing and Rotation

Tire Rotation

The primary purpose of tire rotation is to reduce wear and tear on your tires, with the goal being equal wear around your car.

Each tire undergoes different types and levels of stress during operation, causing unequal wear. By having your tires rotated regularly, you can get the most useful service life from your tires and prevent premature wear and tear.

Here are other reasons to consider tire rotation:

  • Ensures more even tread wear
  • Reduces stress on your vehicle’s vital components, including braking and suspension systems
  • It helps prevent cupping of the tread
  • Ensures optimal fuel economy by reducing strain on your car’s engine
  • Enhancing handling so you’re safer behind the wheel
  • Allows for a smoother ride

During tire rotation, Caliber Auto Care’s tire pros remove each tire and wheel assembly on your car and then move it (aka, rotate) to another position. Usually, front tires — which generally receive the most wear — are rotated from the front to the back. Then the back tires, which typically have the most minor wear, are placed in the front.

In other cases, the tire technician may recommend swapping passenger-side tires with driver-side ones. Another typical rotation pattern is an “X.” This involves rotating the back passenger side tire with the front driver’s side tire and the front passenger side tire with the rear driver’s side tire.

That said, your ideal tire rotation pattern often depends on your car’s drive train (rear-wheel drive versus front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive) and the previous tire rotation pattern.

During tire rotation, your Caliber Auto Care technician will examine the tires, looking at tread depth and wear. The technician also checks for damage, air pressure, and loose lug nuts on the wheel. This type of inspection helps prevent you from having significant issues crop up while you’re making it from point A to point B.

Without regular rotation, your tires may end up with uneven wear and irreparable wear patterns. This can lead to phenomena such as your car pulling to a particular side during operation or poor handling, both of which can result in dangerous situations on the road.

How Often Should You Rotate Your Car’s Tires?

Obviously, tire rotation recommendations vary based on tire wear. Perhaps less obviously, your driving habits dictate how often you should head to Caliber Auto Care for tire rotation. You should rotate tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. This promotes even wear of the tires on their tread.

Tire Balancing

Tire balancing is equally as crucial as regular tire rotations. Everyday wear and normal imperfections in manufacturing (such as wheel or rim irregularities) can lead to tire weight imbalances. The same is true of regular driving on bumpy roadways. You may feel this imbalance if you ever experience vibrations in the floorboard, seat, or steering wheel.

Steering wheel vibration strongly indicates an improperly balanced front tire. Seat vibrations are typically indicative of imbalances in the rear tires.

Just like improperly rotated tires, tires that are out of balance can experience uneven and more rapid wear, leading to handling and fuel economy problems. Tire balancing helps ensure even weight distribution around your car’s wheels. As a result, your tires undergo more even wear, roll more smoothly, and last for more miles.

Tire balancing requires specialty equipment. Your tires are removed and mounted on a balancer during the balancing process. Caliber Auto Care’s mechanics can discover imbalances and use small lead weights to correct the imbalance.

A general recommendation for balancing your tires every two years is common. However, an annual balance check is more appropriate if you regularly drive over rough terrain. Tire balancing should also occur if:

  • A previously placed weight falls off
  • Vibrations are felt in the steering wheel, floorboard, or seat
  • Tires are wearing unevenly
  • You have new tires put on your car

Wheel Alignment

Discussing tire rotation and balancing would be incomplete without touching on wheel alignment.

Tire rotation, balancing, and alignment are not the same thing but both help with many of the same things — safety, drivability, and overall tire performance. Whereas tire balancing helps distribute weight equally, wheel alignment ensures your vehicle tracks straight when operating.

Alignment requires correcting the tires’ angle so that tires make appropriate contact with the road. This involves adjusting the system that connects the wheels to your car. Wheel alignment helps your car handle better, prevents weird vibrations, and keeps the vehicle from pulling to the right or left.

Several factors contribute to wheel misalignment, including normal wear and tear, road conditions, or even impacts and accidents. You may need to bring your car in for wheel alignment if your steering wheel seems “off center,” your tires are unevenly worn, or your car pulls to the side.

Most professionals recommend a wheel alignment every two years or so. Others suggest that your car’s wheels should be aligned with every other oil change or around every 6,000 miles.

Seek Expert Help

Caliber Auto Care’s automotive experts are specially trained to understand what your tires need to keep you and yours safe and help your car operate at its smoothest.

As a rule of thumb, inspect and rotate your tires when you bring your vehicle in for an oil/filter change. It’s usually a good idea to have your tires balanced and rotated at the same time since both procedures require removing your car’s wheels. Our technicians can quickly and efficiently rotate and balance your tires (and handle wheel alignment needs), helping you protect your investment.

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