Rotate Your Tires, Or Pay The Price
The last two weeks have brought lower than normal temperatures, and a handful of light snowfalls. I noticed our van, which we purchased in January, was sliding quite a bit when I slowed at intersections, but just figured it was normal winter driving in the Midwest. But when I was unable to make it up a hill while driving home from a movie, I wondered to myself if maybe our tires should be checked.
It suddenly occurred to me that I had completely spaced off having our tires rotated.
Iâ€™ve been fairly good at remembering to have it done in the past, but with the purchase of our new van, Iâ€™ve gotten out of my rhythm. I normally take our vehicles to a quick lube place for an oil change every 3000 miles, and every other visit Iâ€™d go to the tire place which is literally 200 feet away and have the tires rotated. But our new van only requires an oil chance every 5000 miles so my process no longer worked.
Compounding the issue is the fact that our van has been used a lot this year. In addition to our normal usage, we also drove over 2000 miles to and from Florida for a vacation in March, and another longer trip to Chicago in July.
I visited my usual tire place, and asked the employee to give me an opinion as to whether I just needed my tires rotated, or whether I needed new tires. It took him about a tenth of a second to tell me I needed new front tires. There are two parts to your tire tread:
- The groves that go the circumference of the tire
- The groves that go from the center to the edge of the tire
My front tires didnâ€™t have any tread at all going from the center to the edge, and those are the groves that allow water and snow to be pushed out of the tire for traction. Then he looked at my rear tires, chucked a little, and said, â€œThose look brand new.â€
That, my Clever Friends, is why you rotate your tires every 6000 to 8000 miles.
Had I rotated my tires regularly, my tires would have worn evenly, and I would not have had to purchase new tires for quite a long time. I purchased two new tires for our van to the tune of $330. It was an expensive lesson to learn, but I guess the good news is I basically have four brand new tires on my van for the upcoming winter. I think the next time I would have done it, I probably would have gotten my tires at Costco, they have pretty good cash back rewards and their tires are good quality (savingadvice has a good write up here).
Have you ever learned an expensive lesson by ignoring vehicle maintenance? How much did it cost you?
Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.