Do Tires Need to be Balanced When Rotated

Do Tires Need to be Balanced When Rotated?

No doubt about it, tires are expensive. But even with the big investment, the rubber compound degrades over time and they wear out. But there are certain things you can do to make your tires last longer than they would otherwise. One of the best methods for increasing tire lifespan is to regularly rotate and balance them. But do tires need to be balanced when they’re rotated? That’s what I’ll talk about here.

In a way, tires are a bit like shoes. Over time, they wear down because of friction.

Rotating and balancing are key parts of tire maintenance. They help your tires reach their maximum possible mileage.

One of the most common questions my readers send me is: “should I rotate and balance my tires at the same time?”

Here I’ll talk about:

  • Do Tires Need to Be Balanced When Rotated? (Answered)
  • What is Tire Balancing?
  • What is Tire Rotation?
  • How Do I Know if I Need a Rotation or Balance?
  • Signs Your Tire Needs to Be Balanced
  • Signs You Should Rotate Your Tires
  • How Often Should Tires Be Rotated?
  • Which Tire Rotation Pattern Should I Use?
  • How Often Should Tires Be Balanced?
  • Do I Need to Balance and Rotate Tires at the Same Time?

Let’s get into it!

Do Tires Need to Be Balanced When Rotated? (Answered)

Tire rotation and balancing are two separate maintenance procedures.

However, in some cases, your mechanic may tell you that your tires need both rotation and balancing at the same time. If that happens, do it.

What about my recommendation?

I advise my readers to always get rotation and balancing done at the same time. It’ll save you money and means you can avoid two trips to the mechanic.

Should You Balance Tires When Rotating Them?

In the following article, I’ll dig deeper into the subject and explain why it’s so important to balance and rotate your tires. I will also explain why there are some circumstances where you might need to balance and rotate at the same time.

What Is Tire Balancing?

Balancing is a relatively quick procedure that most mechanics will bundle in with tire rotation.

While the procedure is known as a tire balance, the mechanic will actually be working on the wheel and not the tire.

When a new tire is installed, the wheel is fitted with small metal pieces that clamp onto it. There are typically three of these attachments and they help the wheel maintain balance by ensuring the tire distribution is even.

What Is Tire Balancing?

When you take your vehicle to the shop, the mechanic will mount the rim onto a machine that spins the wheel to show how steady the tire is. The three metal attachments I mentioned earlier are then moved around the wheel until the balance becomes steady.

Imperfections can happen even if there is a tiny change in the tire’s mass distribution.

You will probably know your tire needs rebalancing if you feel a lot of vibrations at higher speeds. However, shaking only really shows if the front tires are balanced.

When you rotate, the rear tires you are putting on the front may then be out of balance. That is why I think it is a good idea to get balancing done alongside tire rotation.

What is Tire Rotation?

Tire rotation is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to prolong the life of your tires.

With tire rotation, you periodically swap the position of your tires on the vehicle. This helps you get uniform tread wear across all four tires.

During the rotation process, you or your mechanic can use the opportunity when the wheels are off to inspect the tires and check tread depth, balding, air pressure, and cracks.

How Do I Know if I Need a Rotation or Balance?

While you don’t need to rotate and balance your tires at the same time, both are essential maintenance tasks that must be done at some point.

Balancing and Rotating Tires

There are telltale signs that will show you when it is time to get a tire rotation or balancing.

It is worth noting you should be doing preemptive maintenance on your tires, but here are some of signs that you need to rotate and/or balance your tires, just like there are some signs that it is not time to rotate your tires.

Signs Your Tire Needs to be Balanced

If you spot uneven tire wear, there is a good chance you need to schedule a rebalance. For example, if the tread on one side of your tire is more worn than on the other side.

It is worth noting tire wear is a general symptom of a host of potential ailments, so it is only a first step in deciding when you need a tire balance.

Vibrations in the seat or steering wheel are a more obvious sign of a balancing issue. If you also see tire wear, it is time to book an appointment with your mechanic.

Before you do, you can locate which tire is causing the problem from home. To do this, look at which area of the vehicle is vibrating.

A shaking steering wheel points to a balance problem on the front wheels. A vibrating seat suggests issues with the back rims.

Signs You Should Rotate Your Tires

While the signs of tire balance problems are relatively limited and easier to diagnose, understanding when to rotate tires is more challenging.

Reasons to Rotate Your Tires

Here are two signs that you may need to rotate your tires.

Uneven Wear

As mentioned above, uneven tire wear is a symptom of just about every tire ailment. If you’re seeing uneven wear, then it could be time to swap your tires around.

How do you know if the uneven wear means you need to rotate, or whether it’s the sign of a wider problem? Well, the best way is to head to the mechanic, but you can also see at home if your front tires are wearing down more quickly than the rear.

The front tires take more damage because most of the vehicle weight and braking load is on the front.


Another common problem for many tire ailments is vibrations and shaking in your vehicle. In terms of whether you need to rotate your tires or there’s a different problem, vibrations around your car usually mean it is time to rotate your tires.

More localized shaking is normally a specific problem such as balance problems or alignment.

How Often Should Tires Be Rotated?

I recommend that you rotate your tires every 6 months or 6,000 – 8,000 miles.

Tire manufacturers and vehicle manufacturers provide information about how often tires need to be rotated on specific models. While this timeframe may differ slightly, it is usually around every 6 months or 7,500 miles.

I prefer to judge by mileage because people drive different amounts. Some motorists may not cover many miles in six months.

However, the average driver in the U.S. covers around 13,000 miles each year. As you need to rotate your tires every 7,500 miles, you’ll probably be doing it twice each year.

Which Tire Rotation Pattern Should I Use?

One common question about tire rotation is how they should be swapped and which positions to change. This is known as the rotation pattern and which pattern is best for you depends on the vehicle you have. ]

For example, is your vehicle 4×4, rear-wheel, or front-wheel drive? Also, does it have non-directional or directional tires?

Your mechanic will know which rotation pattern is best for your vehicle.

How Often Should Tires be Balanced?

I recommend that you get your tires balanced every 12,000 miles or so. For many people, this will be about once a year.

Tire Balancing Machine

Syncing up your tire rotation with balancing gets tricky because you don’t need to do rebalancing as often as you do rotation. Most technicians, manufacturers, and experts recommend having a rebalance around every 12,000 miles.

If we look at the average driving distance of U.S. drivers (13,000 to 13,500 miles), you’ll need to rebalance your tires about once a year.

Obviously, this does not fit exactly with my advice to get a rebalance when you get a rotation. You need to do the latter around every six months.

It is worth reiterating that you don’t have to do the rotation and balancing at the same time.

Some motorists get a rebalance done every other time they do a rotation.

Still, a balance is quick and many mechanics bundle it with a rotation. It’s usually a great idea to get it done each time you take your vehicle to have its tires rotated.

Mounting and Balancing Tires

Do I Need to Balance and Rotate Tires at the Same Time?

(No, but I recommend it)

You don’t need to rebalance your tires every time you get them rotated. It is possible to wait longer to rebalance your tires, getting them done every second time you take your vehicle in for rotation.

However, with so many mechanics offering special deals on rotation and balancing together, it is often worth having both procedures done at the same time.

Final Thoughts

So, now you know whether tires need to be balanced when they’re rotated. While you usually don’t have to do this, I generally recommend it.

If your mechanic says it’s necessary, you should definitely do both procedures at the same time.

Before you leave, check out my guide to why you need to rotate tires on your car.

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