How to Rotate Tires

Mechanic changing a wheel

Whether you know how to rotate tires at home or normally visit a Santa Cruz Toyota dealership for professional service, rotating your tires is a key part of your maintenance schedule. Keeping up with recommended tire rotation service intervals will help maintain traction on the road in Watsonville, as well as extend the life of your tires as long as possible. Join the Santa Cruz Toyota service team to learn when and how to rotate tires on your Toyota vehicle.


Why is Tire Rotation Necessary?

In the course of normal driving, many factors cause tires to wear unevenly. Driving habits like aggressive cornering can cause faster wear, but even turning a corner at normal speed will cause uneven wear rates on the inner vs. outer treads. If you don’t rotate your tires to balance out the wear patterns, they’ll wear through the treads and require replacing much more quickly. Although it may sound daunting at first, learning how to rotate tires at home can save you time and money. Keep in mind that you can always contact us to speak with an expert technician if you have questions!

Removing a wheel from a car

How Often to Rotate Your Tires

If you drive a front- or rear-wheel drive vehicle, experts recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. All-wheel drive vehicles require tire rotation every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Keep in mind that your owner’s manual can recommend a more exact service interval for your model if you use your vehicle for high-performance jobs or if you use it on the race tracks during the weekend.


Tire Position

When it comes to tire position, how to do a tire rotation will depend on whether you drive a FWD, RWD, or AWD vehicle:

  • For FWD tires: Move front tires directly back to the rear positions. Then move the rear tires forward, switching the left and right positions.
  • For AWD tires: Move front tires to the rear positions and switch the left and right positions. Then move the rear tires directly forward to the front positions.

How to Rotate Tires Step-by-Step

Before you begin, make sure you have a car jack, lug nut wrench, and a set of car jack stands. Then follow these steps:

  1. Park your car on a flat surface and engage the parking brake.
  2. With your wrench, loosen (but don’t remove) the lug nuts on all four wheels. Fully unscrewing the lug nuts will be much easier when the tires are elevated.
  3. Elevate one wheel with the car jack and place a jack stand underneath it.
  4. Fully unscrew the lug nuts and remove the tire. Now is a good time to check tire pressure, and refill if necessary.
  5. One at a time, rotate your tires according to the correct rotation pattern for your vehicle’s drivetrain.
  6. After moving each tire, place it back onto the wheel mount and screw the lug nuts as far as possible by hand.
  7. Lower the car from the jack stands and finish tightening the nuts with the lug nut wrench.
  8. Tighten the lug nuts evenly across all 4 wheels by working diagonally in a star pattern. This will help prevent warping of the brake rotor.

Get Assistance With Tire Rotation in Capitola

Still feeling unsure about how to rotate tires at home? Or do you want to know how long an oil change takes? Our team of expert technicians are here to help. We’re happy to walk you through the process over the phone and answer any DIY auto maintenance questions, like why your car is overheating or how to check your tire tread depth. If you’d rather entrust tire rotation to the professionals, schedule a rotation with the Santa Cruz Toyota tire department. From oil change service to brake pad replacement, we have safe driving in Santa Clara covered!

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