Are Your Tires Rotating in the Correct Direction?

Look for the Rotation Symbol on the Side of the Tire
Look for the Rotation Symbol on the Side of Directional Tires

Yesterday I accompanied my sister to a well known automotive repair chain to help her purchase two tires for her Honda Civic. We asked the salesperson about the Uniform Tire Quality Grading ratings of Treadwear, Traction, and Temperature and what was included in the out the door price. We wanted to make sure the cost covered mounting, balancing, tire disposal, and new valve stems. After receiving all the information and being satisfied with the price, they began installing the two tires. I asked the service manager if the tire tech was going to torque the lug nuts and he said yes. I also asked the service manager if the tires were directional and he said yes. We stood behind the yellow line and watched the tire tech install the two tires. After mounting and balancing, he put the wheels back on the car, tightened the lug nuts with torque sticks (these are connected to an impact wrench and are designed to only allow the lug nuts to get tightened to a specific lb-ft of torque). He lowered the car to the ground and double checked the lug nuts with a hand held torque wrench. I was impressed! I really appreciate it when tire techs take the extra minute to double check the lug nuts with a torque wrench. My sister received the bill for her tires. As she was paying for the tires I decided to inspect the tires to make sure the tech put the tires on correctly given the fact that they were directional. Directional tires have an arrow pointing in the direction of rotation when the vehicle is moving forward. Surely the tech looked at these before installing the tires? He impressed me so far. Unfortunately the tires were on backwards! They quickly fixed the problem, but I thought how many directional tires are out there that are going in the wrong direction? This facility is a nationwide chain and I was an educated consumer asking many questions. What should you take away from this blog post? Ask questions and don’t be afraid to double check the technician’s work. When purchasing new tires make sure you get new valve stems, the tires are balanced, the lug nuts are torqued to the correct specifications, and finally if you get directional tires make sure they are installed correctly.

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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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