TIRE ROTATION IN STERLING, VA
Tire rotation is not rocket science. Just unbolt the wheels from the studs and move them on the car. Seems pretty simple. So what has changed? When we had bias ply tires we would rotate front to back and keep tires on the same side of the car. If we had a car with radial and bias ply tires mixed the rule was to just keep the same kind on the same axle. Now things have changed with radial tires.
We still move tires from the back up front but we cross the front tires when moving to the back so they are actually spinning in the opposite direction. As with most rules there are some variations. We can have directional tires that must stay on the same side of the car unless we dismount the tire from the rim and flip it over. This would make a rotate the same cost as a mount and balance and would only be done in extreme circumstances for instance if the alignment could not be corrected and we had a specific tire wear problem.
We also have cars with staggered tires. This is where the tires on the back are actually bigger than the front. In this case there is no rotation possible. Other things that can happen on a tire rotation is the lug nuts may have not been off for quite some time and may be corroded or another shop put them on with an air gun and did not torque the lug nuts. This may create a situation where we would need to perform an extra service and replace the lug nut and stud.
Another situation that can occur on a tire rotation is the fact that a tire gets worn in at a certain spot on the car. When moved to another location the car may develop a shake in the steering wheel or a vibration that would feel like an out of balance tire. This can sometimes be fixed by balancing the tire and in some cases depending on wear the tire may need to be replaced.