How to Rotate Tires With One Jack – How to Rotate Tires at Home

September 6th, 2021 by

Experts recommend rotating your tires regularly. Rotating the tires on your car, truck, or SUV not only will prolong their life but also optimize your safety. Whether you bring your vehicle into our service center for your tire rotation or you like doing it yourself, we want to ensure you get the job done correctly. In this article, we discuss the reasons to rotate your tires, how often to rotate them, and how to do the job at home even if you only have one car jack.

Why Do You Need to Rotate Your Tires?

car raised on jack with spare tire on

Image via Flickr by robmba

As you drive, your tires continue to wear down, mainly due to the friction between the tire and the road surface. This wearing happens to every tire on every vehicle. Rotating your tires on a regular schedule will help them last longer and remain more durable. Here’s why.

Regardless of the type of vehicle, the front tires operate under different circumstances than the rear tires, both mechanically and environmentally. For instance, a front-wheel-drive car uses the front tires for acceleration, traction, and steering control, while the rear tires only offer traction.

The rear tires get used for acceleration and traction on a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, while the front tires remain responsible for steering and traction, but not acceleration. On the other hand, a four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive car has all four tires contributing to traction and acceleration.

The load on the rear axle changes depending on cargo and passenger volume. The load on the front axle remains fixed because it typically houses the engine, which the front tires bear the brunt of the load. Road surfaces, temperature, and weather all play a role in your tires’ wear rate.

Keeping your tires in the same position keeps them under the same conditions. Those tires under the most pressure will wear out sooner, ultimately resulting in a disparity in tread depth between the tires on the front and those on the rear. Rotating your tires helps spread the wear around them evenly and subsequently over a more extended period. As a result, you’ll enjoy better fuel economy, improved traction and control, longer life for your tires, and protection against getting a flat tire.

How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires?

Most mechanics recommend rotating your tires every other oil change or approximately every 7,000 miles. The number varies by make and model, so check your owner’s manual for the exact specifications. If you have any questions about how often you should rotate your tires, you can contact our service department for advice.

Tires can last anywhere from 20,000 miles up to 60,000 miles depending on the type of tire, weather, temperature, road surfaces, and even driving style. Rotating your tires will extend their life, but you can do more to prolong your tires’ life. Keeping them properly inflated protects against uneven wear. Driving the streets of Youngstown like you were on the NASCAR circuit can cause your tires to wear faster, especially the front ones.

Emergency braking also causes uneven wear. So while you must brake fast in some cases, experts recommend not waiting until the last second to brake. Instead, try and anticipate braking situations and slow ahead of time.

Rotating Your Tires With One Jack

We always recommend having a professional to service your car, truck, or SUV, including rotating your tires. Our service center technicians receive extensive factory training in all things, including tire rotation. In most cases, our regular maintenance services take less than 30 minutes, having you back to your busy life in no time.

We know many of our customers enjoy working on their cars themselves. In that case, we can help you with advice and even order your tires for you. The biggest struggle with a tire rotation at home stems from the lack of a car lift. Not having the lift creates the challenge of taking off multiple tires, which becomes tricky if you only have one jack. In that case, you must have jack stands. You can pick up a set of four for under $40.

First, you want to ensure you park your car on a level surface. Before you jack up any tire, go around and loosen the lug nuts first. When the tires are in the air, they can spin, making it complicated to loosen them. Then, jack up one side, front or rear, and lower the axle to rest on the jack stand. Move on to another tire and repeat until all four tires are in the air and the car remains entirely supported by the jack stands.

Once securely in the air, you can remove the tires. How you rotate them will depend on whether you have directional or non-directional tires. Directional tires were designed to rotate in a single direction, with a tread pattern designed to optimize steering and shed water. Non-directional tires can rotate in either direction with equal effectiveness.

Because of this, directional tires always remain on the same side of the vehicle. Rotate your directional tires by swapping the front right for the rear right and again on the left side. When rotating non-direction tires, you want to move the rear tires forward to the same side. Then, take the front tires and put them on the opposite side of the rear axle.

When you’ve finished rotating your tires, tighten the lug nuts until the tires begin to spin. Then, carefully jack up one axle, remove the jack stand, and lower the tire to the ground. Repeat this process for the other three tires. Once on the ground, go back around to each tire and tighten the lug nuts securely. Congratulations, you’ve successfully rotated your tires.

At Sweeney Car, we know the importance of regular maintenance. That’s why our service center uses the latest tools, technology, and repair practices to service your vehicle. Should you ever have a problem rotating your tires yourself or with any regular maintenance, we’re here to help. You can conveniently schedule service online or stop in at any time. One of our expert technicians will review your needs and carry out your service quickly and affordably.

Posted in Auto Service Tips