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How To Tell If Dealer Rotated Tires


How To Tell If Dealer Rotated Tires

If you’ve ever rotated the tires you might have gotten the question of “has my dealer actually rotated my tires?” In this article, we’ve gathered 3 methods to help you figure out that question as well as collect additional information on the topic.

Probably the easiest way to tell if the dealer has rotated your tires is to mark each tire with a marker (RL, FR, etc. ), indicating its original location, and then checking it after the rotation. If it doesn’t match with the original, they have rotated your tires. You can even tell which tire rotation pattern they’ve used.

What is Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is the process of periodically switching wheel positions to reduce uneven tire wear. During a tire rotation, each tire is moved to a different position on your car’s axles. This process can help reduce tire wear and overall improve the safety and lifetime of your tires.

How Much Does Tire Rotation Cost

Tire rotation should be free from where you bought your tires from, if not, you can always do it yourself as it is an easy task and shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes.

If you bring your car to a dealer/shop, it will cost somewhere between $15 although it can get up to $100, depending on where you live. If you brought your car to do repairs, you can try asking for a free tire rotation, it might work

How To Tell If Dealer Rotated Tires 

There are 3 methods to tell if a dealer has rotated your tires. This list goes from easiest/practical to hard/optional.

 1. The easiest way to tell if the dealer has rotated your tires is to mark each tire with a marker (RL, FR, etc. ), indicating its original location, and then checking it after the rotation. If it doesn’t match with the original, they have rotated your tires. You can even tell which method for rotating tires they’ve used.

2. Tires have several codes imprinted on the sidewalls, and on some tires, the number can differ. What codes are there seems to vary by manufacturer, and you don’t always get four distinct ones. If you do, though, you can always use that to confirm tire placement.

3. You can remove the valve stem cap on one of your tires, you won’t be able to tell precisely what wheels have changed, but you can tell if that specific tire has changed. Although, this isn’t a method we can recommend. When rotating tires dealerships will often remove the caps to check for pressure, possibly changing which tire ends up capless. Some dealerships can even replace caps on tires.

Is Tire Rotation Necessary?

It is usually recommended to rotate tires every 5000 to 10,000 miles, but is it really necessary? That depends on who you ask and your personal preferences. The reason for rotating tires is to equalize tire wear and make them last as long as possible. if you don’t rotate your tires it may decrease your safety on the road.

You can expect things like heat buildup, hydroplaning, poor traction in snow and ice, and an increased risk of punctures and blowouts. According to an NHTSA 2012 report, inadequate tread depth is responsible for more than 25% of all tire-related car accidents.

Additionally, Consumer Reports found that up to 50% of all passenger vehicles currently on the road have at least one tire with insufficient tread.

How Long Does It Take To Get Tires Rotated?

Generally, it would take about 15 minutes to get your tires rotated at a dealer. But if you’ve decided to do it yourself, it could be more/less than 15 minutes depending on how competent you are. 

Can I Rotate My Own Tires?

Of course, you can rotate your own tires. If you don’t want to pay/wait you can do it yourself. The only hard part can be taking off the tire and putting it back as it can be quite heavy, but it also depends.

How To Rotate Tires Yourself

You can rotate tires yourself with 5 of these methods depending on what car and tires you have. These are generalized patterns, there is more if you search for it. 



This is a universal method for tires that are of uniform size and non-directional, whether it is 4-wheel, all-wheel, or rear wheel.

Rear tires are moved to the forward axle and kept on the same side of the vehicle while the front tires are moved to opposite sides of the rear axle.


This is the same as “Rearward cross” but in “reverse” and with a spare tire (although you don’t have to). Rear tires are moved diagonally to opposite sides on the front axle while the right front tire becomes the new spare tire.

The spare tire is positioned on the right side of the rear axle while the left tire on the front axle is moved directly back into the left rear position.


Recommended for front-wheel drive vehicles such as light-weight trucks and sedans, all tires are moved diagonally, meaning tires are switched from one axle to the opposite as well as being repositioned from one side to the other.


This is recommended for cars with differently-sized performance tires on the front and rear axles. All tires are switched with their same-sized partner and remain on the same axle.

The two rear tires switch to the opposite side with one another while the two front tires do the same.


This is recommended for directional tires. All tires are moved from one axle to the other but remain on the same side of the vehicle. For example, the front left tire is moved to the left side of the rear axle while the rear left tire is repositioned on the left side of the front axle.

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