Tesla electric vehicles often feature radial tubeless tires for a smooth and safe driving experience. These performance tires are exceptionally durable thanks to their thick tire sidewalls and low rolling resistance. They also help optimize handling and reduce road noise.
However, EV owners must rotate their tires regularly to get the best out of them. Tesla tire rotation is critical to proper tire care and maintenance. It helps maximize tire tread life and distribute wear evenly across all four tires.
This Tesla tire rotation guide explains why this routine tire maintenance is significant. Follow along to learn more.
What is Meant by “Rotating Tires?”
Rotating tires means moving your vehicle’s tires from their current position to another to help maximize their lifespan. Depending on the tread depth and type of tires, you can move the tires from the front to the back or side to side.
The essence of this routine maintenance is to keep your Tesla tires in optimum condition by distributing wear evenly across all four tires. The tire rotation pattern depends on the drivetrain and transmission system. For instance, in four-wheel drive cars, the service team will move the rear tires to the front axle and vice versa.
Electric vehicles, Tesla included, are heavier than typical gas-powered cars. They have heavy battery packs and a reinforced framework, increasing their overall weight. Besides, they are faster and have better acceleration than their internal combustion counterparts. The extra weight and instant torque mean Tesla tires contend with higher loads and premature tire wear, making basic tire rotation more critical than ever.
Why Are Tire Rotations Necessary?
Tire rotations are necessary to prevent premature tire wear and sustain an even tread pattern. This tire maintenance routine distributes wear evenly across all tires for a smoother ride. After all, tires wear unevenly depending on the drivetrain, transmission system, terrain, tire configuration, and air pressure.
For example, the Tesla Model 3 RWD delivers more power to the rear wheels. For this reason, the rear tires wear out faster than the front tires. Conversely, a Front-Wheel-Drive model distributes more power to the front wheels, making them wear out quickly. A simple tire rotation routine can help prevent premature tire replacement by ensuring an even treadwear pattern.
Most, but not all, Tesla models are All-Wheel-Drive (AWD), meaning they distribute power evenly across the front and rear axles. However, features like Plaid Track Mode allocate more instant torque to the rear wheels for better on-center steering, faster acceleration, increased turn-in response, and enhanced yaw control. For this reason, the rear tires are likely to wear out faster than the front tires.
While aggressive driving contributes to faster tire wear, other uncontrollable circumstances can cause tire failure. Your Tesla tires may wear out over time due to extreme temperatures, effects of ultraviolet light, environmental conditions, improper tire settings, and heavy loads. Rotating the tires can help extend the lifespan of your tires.
Aside from the evident benefits, Tesla tire rotation ensures better traction, especially when driving in wet or icy conditions and navigating sharp bends. It enhances your vehicle’s overall safety and improves its driving range. While at it, auto mechanics will also get the chance to re-check tire pressure and fix misaligned wheels. You’ll also know if it is time to buy replacement tires.
How Are Tires Rotated?
Tire rotation patterns depend on the type of tire and drivetrain or transmission layout. For instance, non-directional tires cannot apply the same rotation pattern as direction tires. The same logic applies to Front-Wheel-Drive, All-Wheel-Drive, and Rear-Wheel-Drive vehicles.
The most common tire rotation patterns include:
- Forward Cross Pattern
The forward cross pattern is suitable for Front-Wheel-Drive (FWD) vehicles since they use the front axle for steering and braking. The front tires move to the back on the same side while the rear tires crisscross (diagonally) to the front.
- X-Cross Pattern
The X-cross tire rotation pattern applies to All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive vehicles. It is also ideal for non-directional tires. Alternate tires move diagonally in opposite directions. The left front tire swaps with the right rear tire, while the left rear tire moves to the right front position.
- Rearward Cross Pattern
The Rearward cross pattern is for Rear-Wheel-Drive vehicles. The rear tires move to the front on the same side while the front tires crisscross (diagonally) to the back axle.
The Front-to-Rear pattern is for same-size directional tires. These tires have a tread pattern that rotates in one direction, hence the name. The front tires swap with the rear tires on the same side.
The Side-to-Side rotation pattern is suitable for non-directional tires and staggered wheels. The left front tire swaps with the right front tire, while the right rear tire moves to the left rear tire.
How Often Should Tire Rotations Be Done?
Tire rotation frequency depends on the tread depth difference or amount of wear. Tesla recommends rotating your tires every 6,250 miles. However, a tread depth difference of 2/32 inches might require you to rotate your tires before you hit this mileage.
Unfortunately, the Tesla Tire Pressure Monitoring System or the tire sensor does not tell you how often you should rotate your tires. You must do it manually by checking wear indicators such as tire marking, road dust, and flat spots. Deep treads might accumulate debris over time, meaning it’s time to rotate your tires.
Some mechanics recommend rotating your tires with every oil change. Moreover, you can refer to the tire manufacturer’s owner manual for additional details regarding a suitable tire rotation schedule.
How Much Does a Tesla Tire Rotation Cost?
Tire rotation costs vary from one service center to the next. That said, you should expect to pay between $50 to $200. Tesla might charge you more or less depending on whether you have a road assistance policy with the company.
The good news is that you can rotate your tires as a DIY task. You only need to know the appropriate tire rotation pattern for your Tesla. Some auto mechanics include tire rotation as part of their tire maintenance services so you don’t have to pay extra.
What Happens If You Don’t Rotate Your Tesla Tires?
Not rotating your Tesla tires can be costly. The tires may wear out unevenly, making your EV unsafe and uncomfortable. It also reduces your tire’s lifespan, meaning you must replace them earlier than expected, increasing your overall maintenance costs. Tire failure also increases the risk of auto accidents.
Does Tesla tire rotation increase safety?
Tire rotation increases safety since it ensures all four tires wear out evenly. This tire maintenance routine provides better handling, improves traction, and increases in-turn response for enhanced safety.
Should I rotate my spare tire as well?
Rotating your spare tire is unnecessary since you don’t use it as often as the other four tires.
Do tire rotations increase tire lifespan?
Tire rotations can help increase tire lifespan. It distributes treadwear evenly across all tires, maximizing tire life.
Tesla tire rotation is a vital part of proper tire care and maintenance. It helps keep an even treadwear pattern for a smoother, safer, and more comfortable driving experience. Moreover, it extends the common tire lifespan, so you don’t have to buy replacement tires earlier than expected. Most mechanics include tire rotation as part of their tire maintenance services. Depending on the package, you’ll get additional services such as tire balancing and wheel alignment. Visit the nearest Tesla Service Center or contact a reputable auto care center for tire rotation services.