An occasional tire rotation is necessary to maintain good tire health. In fact, it’s sometimes required if you want to keep your tire warranty.
And, while some people go the entire lifespan of the tire without ever rotating them, you should be doing it every 5,000-12,0000 miles or once a year.
Tire rotation is the simple process of changing the location of the tires on the vehicle to spread out how stress and wear impact the tire. That increases the longevity of the tires.
The average cost of tire rotation is $35. However, you could pay anywhere from $24-$210 for the same service. Here, every part of the cost is labor, so rates depend entirely on your mechanic or service station.
The table below shows a quick price comparison of tire rotation cost estimates from reputable suppliers:
|Supplier||Tire Rotation Cost|
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Tire Rotation Cost Breakdown*
A tire rotation can cost anywhere from a few dollars for a basic job to several hundred for a performance car. This normally depends on what the auto service company is offering with the rotation.
For example, many national dealerships offer cheap deals on tire rotation to get you into the shop. From there, you can have other services like an oil change, a car tune-up, fluid checks, etc.
And, in many cases, tire rotation is included in a normal tune-up. So, you can always expect your mechanic or dealer to try to upsell you when you go in for the tire rotation.
In addition, some mechanics don’t even offer the service without also balancing your front-end as well.
Otherwise, there are very few cost differences between vehicles. Most take exactly the same amount of time to remove the tires from, so you can expect exactly the same costs. If you go to a dealer, you will see different costs.
For example, the following chart details average costs for rotating tars on popular cars, with dealership prices taken into account.
|Vehicle||When to Rotate Tires||Tire Rotation Cost|
|Tesla Model Y||10,000-12,000 Miles||$15-$150|
|Nissan Rogue||7,500 miles||$35-$79|
|Honda Accord||5,000-10,000 miles||$21.95-$79.99|
|Nissan Altima||7,500 miles||$24.99-$79.99|
|Chevy Impala||3,000-5,000 miles||$24-$43|
|Lexus Rx 350||5,000 miles||$24-$150|
|Ford F150||6,000-8,000 miles||$15-$51|
|Toyota Corolla||5,000-7,500 miles||$24-$54|
|Honda Civic||5,000-10,000 miles||$21-$47|
|Toyota Camry||5,000-7,500 miles||$22-$51|
*Note: Prices are estimates and were correct at the time of writing (February 2022). Cost estimates may have changed since, our figures should be used as a starting point for your own research.
Tire Rotation Pricing Factors
In most cases, you can expect a flat rate for tire rotation. Most mechanics and auto service shops will give you a flat-rate upfront fee with no variables.
However, if you choose to have your vehicle serviced at a dealer you will pay more. In addition, if you choose to have other services at the same time, you’ll pay more.
Here, having the front end balanced, tire pressure checked, or even a full fluid check at the same time is a great idea.
Cost of Labor
The cost of labor is the only truly influential factor in having your tires rotated. For example, if you go to an organization that charges a minimum fee, you’ll always pay that minimum fee.
In addition, mechanic’s rates range considerably based on geographic location. You will pay an average of $60 nationwide, or a scale of $15-$210. This can heavily impact what you actually pay for your tire rotation.
However, if your normal mechanic is pricey, there’s no reason why you can’t take the car to a chain auto service location. Most of these offer flat-rate and discounted tire rotations as a means of getting customers in the door.
For example, Valvoline, Firestones, and PepBoys frequently offer discounts, coupons, and flat-rate pricing. You can easily get your tire rotation for around $24.99.
However, your normal mechanic might throw a tire rotation onto a service check for as little as $10 or $15 as well. So, it might be important to see what you want and why before you make a decision.
Some people prefer to have their tires rotated at the dealership. This is because many cars have a tire rotation pattern.
However, there are only three major tire rotation patterns. Most importantly, you can reference them in your owner’s manual or repair manual. These are:
Rearward Cross – All-wheel, 4-wheel-drive, and rear-wheel-drive vehicles need a rearward cross pattern. Here, rear tires switch to the front axle on the same side of the vehicle.
On the other hand, the front tires switch to the back, on the opposite side of the vehicle.
X-Pattern – Most mid-weight vehicles like sedans and light-weight trucks use an X-pattern tire rotation. Here, all tires are moved to the opposite end of the vehicle, on the opposite side of the car.
So the rear passenger side goes to the front driver side, the rear driver side goes to the front passenger side, and so on.
Forward Cross – Nearly all standard front-wheel drive cars use a Forward Cross tire rotation pattern. Here, you move the front tires to the back on the same side. The back tires are moved to the front, on the opposite side of the vehicle.
Essentially, if you take your car to a dealer, they will know if you use this or a special pattern. However, you’ll pay a premium for that.
Most mechanics will either reference your manual or use the standard pattern for your type of vehicle.
Tire rotation normally aligns with other service periods like tire pressure checks, brake caliper checks, brake fluid checks, fluid servicing, coolant flushing, and balancing the front end.
Normally you can get a package deal for all of these services for a single, flat-rate price. For example, you might pay $150 for a full package including coolant and oil flush.
Going for a full-service approach is a great idea if it’s been a while, as this will save you a trip to the mechanic again in the near future.
However, it’s important to check what you’re actually getting for it. Some “Tune-ups” offer battery checks, pressure checks, spark plug changes, and other necessities.
Others offer very little other than the exact service you requested. So, it’s always a good idea to check.
Signs Your Tires Require Rotating
In most cases, if you’re waiting until your tires show signs of wear or needing rotating, you have waited too long.
The idea behind a tire rotation is that you change the tires to spread out the pattern of wear and tear. This increases the longevity of the tread and the tire.
In fact, if your tires are too worn, your mechanic will simply refuse to rotate them. In this case, it normally means your tires are getting close to needing a replacement.
Every 5,000-12,000 Miles
It’s important to rotate tires every 5,000 to 12,000 miles, or once a year, whichever comes first. This is frequent enough that it spreads stress out over the tire, preventing wear, and increasing the lifespan of your tire.
Some vehicles also have special recommendations, which you can check in your owner’s manual.
How Are Tires Rotated? (10 Steps)
Rotating your tires is a relatively easy job and most people can do it themselves. In fact, you shouldn’t need anything more than about 30 minutes of time and a good jack and jack stand. And, of course, a lug wrench.
If you have two jacks and four jack stands, you can greatly speed up the whole job. If you have a torque wrench, you can also ensure wheels go back on to manufacturer specifications when you’re finished.
Note: It’s always a good idea to take the time to inspect the tires, the brake calipers, the boots, and the suspension while rotating the tires.
One of the advantages of rotating tires is that it gives you the option to easily check and perform preventive maintenance while the wheels are off.
- Park your vehicle on a clean and level space and take the key out of the ignition. Set the parking brake. You may also want to block the wheels.
- Check the tire rotation pattern recommended by your owner’s manual or for your type of car. If you’re not sure, the internet will usually tell you.
- Take a lug wrench and loosen the wheels but don’t take them off.
- Jack up the car and balance it with jack stands. You can do both sides at once.
- Finish taking off the wheels.
- Inspect the wheels for wear and tear, uneven wear, damage, etc., You’ll also want to inspect the suspension and the brakes for issues. Finally, check the oil and the steering fluid while the vehicle is jacked up.
- Exchange the tires based on your vehicle’s recommended tire rotation pattern.
- Put the tires back on.
- If you have a torque wrench, tighten the lugs to the specifications of your car. Every wheel has its own recommended torque specifications, so you’ll have to check by your vehicle. This should be in the owner’s manual.
- If you have an air pressure gauge or are at a gas station, now is a great time to check the air pressure.
From there, you can lower your car and test your rotated tires. It may be helpful to make a note of when you rotated the tires and at what mileage your vehicle was at.
Putting a note in your calendar and rotating the tires a year from that point if you haven’t in the interim is always a good call.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still have questions about rotating your tires, this FAQ should help.
How often do tires need to be rotated?
In most cases, tires should be rotated at least once a year.
However, individual vehicle manufacturers recommend anything from 5,000 to 12,000 miles. You’ll want to check the recommendation from your manufacturer to get a better idea.
In addition, if you buy new tires, the tire manufacturer usually has a recommendation. In some cases, following this recommendation and keeping a record of service may be necessary to maintain your tire’s warranty.
How do you tell if your tires were actually rotated?
Without marking the tires upfront, there’s no real way to tell if your tires were rotated or not. Unless, of course, you physically see your mechanic do the job.
If you suspect that the tires weren’t actually rotated, you could do the work again yourself.
How long does a tire rotation take?
In most cases, you can perform a full tire rotation in anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. However, this partially depends on your vehicle.
If you take time to inspect the suspension and brakes, it could also take longer. And, if you have seized or rusted lug nuts, you might have to wait for penetrating fluid to soak in so you can get the lugs off.
Therefore, time varies. But, if everything is in good condition, you can expect about half an hour.
Does tire rotation affect alignment?
Tire rotation should not affect alignment. However, if tires have different pressure or have different wear and tear, it could affect steering.
Regular tire rotation should, theoretically, prevent this issue. In addition, many mechanics will offer front-end balancing as part of the tire rotation, simply because that should also be part of regular maintenance.
Tire rotation is an important part of tire maintenance. Here, you simply switch the position of the tires in a pattern recommended by the vehicle manufacturer or the tire manufacturer. The pattern you use should depend on your vehicle and vehicle type.
In most cases, a tire rotation costs about $50. However, many chain auto service locations offer deals for $24.99. You might also pay as much as $200. And, of course, you can easily do the job yourself.
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