Is tire rotation really necessary?
Yes. If you want your tires to last as long as possible, it is necessary - and recommended by both vehicle and tire manufacturers - to have them rotated regularly, every six months or so. A good rule of thumb is to rotate your tires with each oil change. Each tire receives a different degree of stress depending on where it is located on your vehicle. When you have your tires rotated, and they take a turn at every position, you allow them to wear evenly. They all then tend to wear at the same rate and over a longer period of time.
What is the correct tire rotation?
There is no single tire rotation pattern for all vehicles. Traditionally, it was common to simply move the rear wheels forward and the front wheels back. Today, vehicle manufacturers have discovered the pattern that is most likely to achieve the desired results. And they make a recommendation that a specific pattern be followed. For instance, on some front-wheel-drive vehicles, the tires are rotated in a cross pattern, where the front tires cross to the rear, and the rear tires cross to the front. On others, the rear tires move straight forward and the front tires cross to the back. Some trucks and SUVs with full-size spare tires include the spare in the sequence as well.
What happens if I never rotate my tires?
If you ignore the recommendation for rotating your tires and leave them in one position, your tires will wear unevenly and at different rates. The service life of your tires will be reduced, and your vehicle could suffer a loss of traction, handling, and steering ability. If you do not rotate your tires, you might also void your tire warranty.