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Old 07-24-2011, 07:52 AM   #1
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Rotating Tires

Lucy has now had her 16" LT tires for 9 months, and we have put about 15,000 miles on them. So far, so good. Now come the big question.

Do I rotate Lucy's tires, and in what format and frequency?


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:13 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
Lucy has now had her 16" LT tires for 9 months, and we have put about 15,000 miles on them. So far, so good. Now come the big question.

Do I rotate Lucy's tires, and in what format and frequency?

If it was a car or light truck, I'd say every 6,000 miles. Trailers, I'd say annually, or every 12,000 miles, when you check the brakes and pack the bearings (if applicable). Rotate front to rear only, on the side they're on, so you aren't cross-rotating them. It's really tough to get tire guys to admit it, but cross-rotating can contribute to belt separation.

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Old 07-24-2011, 08:47 AM   #3

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AS does recommend same side rotation. I do not include my spare for that reason, (never know where it might end up). My spare is OEM and has never been on the trailer and will only be used in an emergency til new replacement is installed.
When you do rotate make sure the mounting surface on both wheel and flange are corrosion free.

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Old 07-24-2011, 10:06 AM   #4
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Brian, I have a depth gauge for tires. I check the depth between knobs across the tires in 2 places for each tire. This tells me whether they are wearing unevenly which can mean either balance issues or over- or underinflation. It also tells me which tires are most worn. I keep records of my measurements so I can tell if anything is trending over time.

Since the trailer doesn't have drive tires, they wear pretty evenly, but one will be slightly more worn than others. I switch that one with the spare. If the trailer isn't level, I think one axle will wear tires more because more weight is on that axle, so that's something else to watch for.

My understanding it is no longer necessary that radials only roll one way. If Airstream recommends it, that means to me they are behind the times—that would be no surprise. It is possible that ST tires do have to roll one way, but I don't think it is true of LT tires.

I use the depth gauge on our Tundra and 4Runner. Drive tires wear faster than steering tires on rear drive vehicles, so they get rotated more often—with either steering tires or spare. If I have a spare and wheel identical to the others, I include that in any rotation.

Vehicle manuals tell you to rotate in a pattern, but using the tire depth gauge shows me which tires really need to be rotated. Usually it is 2 or maybe 4 and that is a lot easier than rotating all of them. I'm more likely to rotate them if I don't have to rotate 15 tires, but maybe only 6 or 8 or whatever.

I check them periodically and I rarely need to rotate them at 5,000 or maybe even at 10,000 miles. Rotating the spare on the Airstream gets me 20% more tire wear. The 4Runner has 5 identical wheels and tires, the Tundra doesn't. With Toyotas I think you have to buy the Limited trim line to get 5 identical ones.

Any aftermarket store should have depth gauges. I paid around $11 for one. I have used this system for many years and it works for me. Tires are all wearing as expected, are even across the tread and all is well.

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