Rotating Tires on a Front-Wheel Drive Car

Whether you have a front-wheel drive car, a rear-wheel drive car, or some other configuration, it's important that you rotate your tires regularly. Rotating tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles ensures that the tires wear out evenly and helps to both extend the lifetime of the tires and to reduce the likelihood of dangerous blowouts as you're driving. A front-wheel drive car tends to be harder on the front tires, as they bear the burden of the brake system and also account for the steering as well.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Air compressor
  • Air chuck
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack stands and floor jack system
  • Lug wrench and socket set
  • Torque wrench set

Step 1 - Check and Adjust the Pressure

Each vehicle has different recommended tire pressure levels. These help to control the gas mileage and the overall safety of the car, as well as specific details of driving like handling and control. Check on the tire pressure by finding the recommended tire pressure placard inside of the vehicle. You can also look to your vehicle owner's manual if you'd like.

Use the tire pressure gauge to check on the pressure of the tires for your car. Using the air compressor, adjust the pressure in the tires so that they meet the requirements of the vehicle. Be sure to adjust the rear tire pressure so that it's lined up with the recommendation for the pressure of the front tires and the front tire pressure so that it's aligned with the recommended pressure for the rear tires.

Step 2 - Check the Tires

Look to the treads of the tires to determine if they are unidirectional. If you see an arrow or a note that says "unidirectional" or "outside," you will have to keep the tire on that particular side of the vehicle. Otherwise, the tires can be rotated to any other position on the vehicle.

Step 3 - Jack the Vehicle

Loosen the lug nuts for the tires before you jack up the vehicle. Use your hoist and floor jack system to lift the vehicle up so that it's off of the ground. Support all four corners of the vehicle with jack stands and check to be sure that the vehicle is secure. Remove the lug nuts completely.

Step 4 - Replace the Tires

Remove the front tires and put them on the wheels directly behind them, using the lug wrench and socket set. Take off the back tires and put them on the opposite wheel in the front. The back driver's side tire will go to the front passenger side, while the front driver's side tire will go to the back driver's side position.

Step 5 - Tighten the Tires

Use the torque wrench set to tighten the lug nuts on the tires in their new positions. Be sure to tighten the tires until you've reached the recommended torque level for each of the 4 tire positions on the car.