text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation
'How to Rotate Banner'

How to


As you probably know, tires have an essential role in keeping you in control. Tires cushion the weight of your car, grip the road through rain or shine and help you stop when it matters most. That's why it's important to keep your tires in the best possible shape. One simple way you can maintain your tires is by rotating them regularly.

Why Rotate Your Tires?

The front and rear tires on your car wear differently. Your front tires carry more of your car's weight, which causes front tires to wear down faster than the rear ones. Also, making turns wears the front tires at different rates. For instance, in the U.S., we generally take left turns faster than we do right turns. This puts more load on the right front tire, which results in the right tire wearing faster than the left. After thousands of miles of driving, uneven tread wear is bound to happen.

When you rotate your tires from one position to another, you equalize these natural wear patterns. Tire rotation helps give you a smoother, safer ride. Plus, you extend the life of your tires, which saves you money in the long run.

How Often Should You Rotate Tires?

Check your owner's manual first for the recommended tire rotation schedule for your vehicle. We recommend rotating them every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, even if they don't show signs of wear. An easy way to remember is to do it whenever you change your oil.

Tools Needed

Need a lift? Pep Boys has all of the ramps, car jacks, car dollies and engine hoists and stands you need to support your vehicle and help you rotate your tires.

'How to Rotate Car Jack Banner'

Car Jack

You might use the jack that came with your car for this job, but it is not recommended. It's designed to lift your car only long enough for a quick tire change. The safer route is to use a hydraulic floor jack. A good car jack delivers the lift you need, wherever and whenever you need it. Check out our wide assortment of car jacks and lifting tools to find what you need to get the job done.

'How to Rotate Jack Stand Banner'

Jack Stands

After you get your car up, you'll need jack stands to rest the car on top of while you switch out the tires. We have a variety of jack stands to fit every vehicle weight and size.

Rotation Pattern: Directional or Non-Directional Tires

Before you start loosening the lug nuts, you need to know what pattern you are going to use to rotate your tires. The way you rotate your tires depends on whether your car has directional or non-directional tires.

'How to Rotate Directional Banner'

Directional Tires

Directional tires have a one-way tread pattern optimized for the direction the tires rotate on the car - they're specifically made for either the left or right side. You'll notice little arrows or triangles on the sidewall indicating which way the tire is supposed to turn.To rotate directional tires, swap the front right tire with the back right tire and the front left tire with the back left tire. See image for reference:

'How to Rotate Non-Directional Banner'

Non-Directional Tires

The tread pattern on non-directional tires is designed so that they can be mounted on any wheel.
To rotate non-directional tires, use the cross pattern. For cars with rear-wheel drive, move the front tires to the opposite sides of the rear: left-front to right-rear and right-front to left-rear. The rear tires are moved straight forward. Here's how it looks visually:

*On vehicles with front-wheel drive, do the opposite. Move the rear tires to the opposite sides of the front and move the front tires straight back.

Rotating Your Tires: Step-by-Step

  1. Engage the parking brake for your safety.
  2. Loosen the lug nuts on all your wheels. You don't want to take them completely off yet; loosening them now will make unscrewing them when the car is elevated much easier.
  3. Lift up one wheel with the car jack and place the jack stand underneath it. If you have only one or two jack stands, you'll need to plan how you're going to proceed with lowering and raising your car. (Because you have fewer stands, you'll also spend more time lowering and raising your car in order to switch them out.)
  4. Remove the tires and rotate them according to the appropriate pattern for your tire type. When you place a tire back onto the wheel mount, screw the lug nuts on by hand as far as you can.
  5. Lower the car from the jack stands. Take the lug wrench and tighten the nuts even more. It's best to work the lug nuts diagonally from one to another, in a star pattern. This ensures even tightening. Tightening the lug nuts unevenly can warp the brake rotor.
  6. And that's it! Repeat these steps after 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

If you'd rather have your tires rotated by a certified professional, make an appointment at your local Pep Boys for our Tire Rotation service.