By Rick Popely on May 6, 2013
A good time to rotate your tires is when you get the oil changed, assuming you do that at least once a year and more often if you drive, say, more than 10,000 miles annually.
Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that the tires be rotated on the same schedule as oil changes. In most cases that means every 7,500 miles or six months, though some have stretched the oil-change interval to 10,000 miles, such as on many Fords, Volkswagens and Toyotas. BMW allows up to 15,000 miles between oil changes, but that is too long to wait to rotate the tires.
Unless you drive fewer than about 7,500 miles per year, you should probably rotate tires every six months or so.
The tires mounted on the drive wheels of any vehicle perform extra duty because they apply the power to the pavement. On front-wheel-drive vehicles that is amplified by the weight of the engine and transmission, and because the front tires do most of the work in turns. Rotating the tires between front and rear a couple of times a year spreads out the burden so they wear evenly. Automakers that offer all-wheel-drive cars also recommend rotating tires. Subaru, for example, says to do it every 7,500 miles or 7.5 months, whichever comes first.
There are exceptions to these examples, particularly with performance models that may have different schedules for tire rotation. We suggest you follow the recommended schedule outlined in your owner's manual, but rotate the tires (and change the oil) at least once a year. You don't have to go to a car dealership to have this done, and many tire dealers and other repair shops will perform both jobs for about $30 total.
Contributor Rick Popely has covered the auto industry for decades and hosts a weekly online radio show on TalkZone.com . Email Rick