What Happens If You Don’t Rotate Your Tires?

If you don’t rotate your tires, they will wear more on one side and less on the other side. This will significantly reduce the tire life. Worn out tires increase the risk of problems such as tire blowout, heat buildup, reduced traction and compromised hydroplaning resistance. Hence, to ensure better performance, safety, and longevity of your car and tires, you must rotate the tires. 

So, it should be clear what happens if you don’t rotate your tires?

But you need to keep in mind the frequency of which you can rotate your tires or how long you can go without changing the tires. To know more about all of these, let’s get directly to the explanation. 

tire rotation

What Are The Consequences of Not Rotating Tires?

There are a few consequences you need to keep in mind, if you don’t rotate your tires. Some of the major effects are discussed below.

More Tire Wearing One Side

This is the biggest impact of not rotating the tires. Your tires eventually wear down more on one side and less on other side and cause massive disruptions like heat buildup, poor traction on snow and ice, reduced vehicle safety through increased risk of punctures and blowout.

As the tire treads get worn out, it can’t let the space for cool airflow when there is increased friction between the tire and the road surface. A bad tread also has effects on traction in general. Your tires need proper tread depth to maintain the grip during icy conditions. 

So, wearing down has negative impacts on your tire performance and you can avoid it by just rotating the tires. 


As you don’t rotate your tires, it becomes more prone to hydroplaning. Hydroplaning is the phenomenon where a tire loses its traction through continuous contact with the water surface. Through regular use the tire wears down and its tread depth decreases. Tires need to have proper tread depth to maintain proper traction on a wet road. 

Since the tire wears down, its hydroplaning resistance ability is also compromised.

Now, decreasing hydroplaning resistance is not a good sign as it increases the risk of an accident by reducing the overall safety of the vehicle. So, you need to rotate your tires to keep the hydroplaning resistance intact. 

However, rotating the tires does not mean that hydroplaning will not happen, it just that the tire will not wear down non-uniformly. That is, if you don’t rotate the tires, one side will wear down more than the other. This is more dangerous if you want good hydroplaning resistance from your tires. 


A tire surface is not uniformly distributed. There are spots that go through repeated pressure and have a probability of wearing out faster than other points. Now, if this weak spot comes in contact with any sharp rock or object, or if there is any heat expansion inside the tire from increased temperature,this spot can be the reason for a tire blowout. 

Rotating the tires does not mean that blowout will not happen. It means that one side of your tire will have more chance of blowout than the other. 

So, you need to rotate the tires to avoid blowouts. 

Fuel Efficiency

As it has been already discussed, the main purpose of rotating your tires is to avoid uneven wearing down. If the tires wear out unevenly then it will have higher rolling resistance. High rolling resistance means more power required to travel with the tire. More power required means less fuel efficiency. 

So, tire wearing down directly contributes to increased fuel efficiency and you can reduce it by rotating the tires regularly. However, always remember that rotating the tires will not eliminate the fuel efficiency problem but will reduce uneven wear out of the tires.   


There are different impacts of not rotating your tire such as hydroplaning, blowout, loss of fuel efficiency and the eventual tire wearing down. Of course, rotating the tires will not completely eliminate any of these problems, but through rotating you reduce the chance of uneven tire wear and slightly improve the overall performance. 

How Long Can You Go Without Rotating Tires?

Alright, if you still decide not to rotate your tires, you can go on without any immediate problems until it eventually wears out. 

The distance until which you can use the tires after which it wears out varies by the type of vehicle. 


On a FWD, you should rotate your tires every 8000 miles. Because if you do not rotate your tires then you will need to replace it soon. Over the long run, replacing is more expensive.   


On a RWD, since the rear wheel tires are more prone to wear out than front, you need to rotate them sooner than front tires. 


On an AWD, you need to rotate the tires around 3000 – 5000 miles. You might notice that the frequency of changing is sooner this is because on AWD, all the wheels are engaged. 

How Often Should You Rotate Your Tire

You should rotate your tires within 5000 to 8000 miles of use. Now, check the tire manual after you buy the tires and find the distance recommended by the manufacturers to maintain the tire warranty. Besides that, you can also rotate your tires after every oil change. 

It is recommended that you maintain consistent distance during every tire rotation cycle. For example, if you rotate your tires after every 7500 miles, keep it that way or within 1000 miles of that range.

Before moving into the next discussion, here’s additional information for Jeep Wrangle owners. Will 33 inch tires fit a 2.5 inch lift on Jeep Wrangler? You’ll find the article helpful when needed.

Is It Expensive To Rotate Tires?

No, rather rotating tires will save you money. On the surface it might look like rotating tires is an unjustified expenditure but let’s break it down.

Let’s assume you have a FWD and you rotate the tires every 8000 miles. If each rotate costs you around $20 per tire, then it will cost $80 per rotation. For a lifespan of 150,000 miles you need to rotate it around 18 times. 

So, the total rotation cost around the lifespan will be $1440.

Now, let’s get to the second condition where you don’t rotate your tires but replace them after the tire wears down. An average lifespan of a FWD is 150,000 miles. If you replace your front tire after every 20,000 miles and rear after every 60,000 miles then you need to replace your front tires around 14 times in total and rear tires around 4 times. So, a total of 18 times.

If each replacement costs you $100, you will have to pay about $1800. 

Therefore, tire replacement costs more than tire rotation. 

Can You Rotate Your Own Tire?

Yes, you can rotate your tires. All you need is a jack stand, floor jack and a few other tools like torque wrench. However, the process is really complicated and it is much better if you consult a professional to help in the tire rotation process. It should cost you around $20 per rotation but the technician might do it for free if you buy tires from their shop. 

Now before you try to rotate your tires. Here are some of the tire rotating patterns you need to follow for each type of car. 

For Uniform and Non-directional Tires [Symmetrical, Asymmetrical]

Rearward Cross

Applicable to: 4WD, AWD, RWD

Image: Priority Tire

Here, the rear tires are brought to the forward axle and kept on the similar side of the vehicle. For example, the left rear tires to the left side of the forward axle. However, the front tires are moved to the opposite side of the rear axle. 

If you want to try this method then follow this All Wheel Drive Tire Rotation

Forward Cross

Applicable to: FWD

Image: Jeep ABC

Here, the front tires are brought to the same side of the rear axle. But the rear tires will be moved to the opposite side of the front axle. For example, the right front tires to the right side of the rear axle but the left rear tires to the right side of the front axle. 

If you want to try this method then follow this Front Wheel Drive Tire Rotation


Applicable to: FWD [Light-weight trucks and Sedans]

Image: Tire Review Magazine

Here, the tires are being moved to the opposite end of the other side’s axle. For example, the right front tires will be shifted to the left side of the rear axle and the right rear tires will be shifted to the left side of the front axle. 

Go through the following video X-Pattern Tire Rotation if you are into DIY work

For High Performance and Directional Tires

Side To Side

Applicable To: Differently Sized Performance Tires on Front and Rear Axles

Image: CJ Pony Parts

Here, you have to switch the tires with the same sized partner on the same axle. Basically, the two rear axle tires get interchanged and the same goes for the front axle tires. Speaking of the size, here’s a 18×9.5 tire size list in case you need it.

However, if you want to try it out yourself then follow this video How To Rotate Staggered Tires

Front To Rear

Applicable To: Directional Tires

Image: Bridgestone Tires

Here, the tires are from front to rear axle and vice versa while keeping the side unchanged. For example, the right side tire from the front axle will move to the right side tire of the rear axle. 

To get a clearer understanding of how to do this tire rotation pattern, follow this Directional Tire Rotation

Finally, to get an overall idea on the tire rotation process, follow this video How To: Rotate Your Vehicle’s Tires. 


Yes, you can rotate your tires yourself but do it only if you are into DIY work. More importantly, your tire rotation pattern will depend on the type of the vehicle you are driving so remember that before you rotate the tires. 

With that, hopefully you got a much clearer idea on rotating the tires, the consequences of not doing it and how often you should do it. 


Can Rotating Tire Cause Misalignment?

No, rotating the tires does not cause any misalignment. In fact, rotating the tires avoids misalignment. This is because rotating the tires helps to avoid uneven wearing on the tire surface and therefore it runs smoothly. So, to avoid misalignment and ensure a safer ride you need to rotate your tires. 

Will Not Rotating Tires Affect My Tire Warranty?

Yes, tire warranties include rotating your tires at a certain interval. Failing to rotate tires on this interval means voiding the warranty. This is a problem because if the tire wears out and there is no proof of any tire rotation, then there will not be any tire servicing or warranty. 

Do I Need To Rotate Asymmetrical Tires As Well?

Yes, you need to rotate asymmetrical tires as well. But you have to keep in mind that asymmetrical tires have to be mounted keeping a specific side out. Based on the marking of the sidewall of the tire, always rotate the specific side in the outer direction. 


So, now you know what happens if you don’t rotate your tires. Keep in mind about the safety of your tire and car while you make a decision regarding tire rotation. Besides, if you want to rotate your tires, always follow the specific pattern based on the type of car you drive. Finally, remember how often you should rotate the tires.

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William Baldwin

This Is William Baldwin, The Founder & Managing Editor of this website. Me and my team share automotive tips, tricks, and news

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Talha Atta

Talha Atta, a Mechanical Engineer and experienced technical content writer and editor at Autoglobes.com with a passion for the automotive industry.