Tire Rotation vs Wheel Alignment

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Many people out of the automobile industry are always confused between Tire rotation and Wheel alignment. They both may seem as synonymous terms but there’s more to it.

Tire rotation and alignment

So let’s get to it, starting with the basics.

Role of Suspension in Tire Rotation and Wheel Alignment

Before discussing tire rotation, first let’s analyze the car suspension system and the link that it has with both wheel alignment and tire rotation. 

The suspension system is a protective lattice of shock-absorbing components and helps to ensure that your drive is safe & smooth by absorbing the energy from various road bumps and other kinetic impacts. Your car suspension system connects the wheels to the car. 

A vehicle suspension system consists of shock absorbers and struts. They control suspension and spring movements of your vehicle to make sure that tires are balanced on the road. It is also related to wheel alignment as the tires must be positioned upright and be correctly aligned.

If the condition of wheels is not like this, the tire wearing speed will increase as they will become unbalanced.

What is Tire Rotation?

A car can be FWD (Front Wheel Drive) or RWD (Rear Wheel Drive).

FWD means that the power from the engine is delivered to the front wheels of your vehicle while RWD means that the power from the engine is delivered to the rear wheels and then these rear wheels further push the car forward. Both the front and rear tires receive uneven wear if tire rotation is not implemented after a specific time so this is the reason why it becomes so important.

It is recommended to rotate your tire on a regular basis in order to get proven results for your vehicle. It is often talked about that you should do tire rotation after every 6000-8000 miles of driving and some people also do it when they change the oil.

There are different amounts of weight on your front and back tires which can cause many problems in the functioning of your vehicle and can even lead to replacing your tire very soon.

This is actually done by placing your back tires to the front and front ones to the back. Due to this, the weights on the tire will be balanced which corrects the weight imbalance on your tire and wheel assemblies.

They are often randomly replaced as well, like from left to right and vice versa.

What is Wheel Alignment?

Wheel alignment is simply the relationship between the steering wheel and the tires. Wheel alignment will help the tire to behave as intended by the steering wheel.

For example, if your steering wheel is straight the car must travel straight without being left and right.

If this happens with you while driving, then this is a sign that your wheels are not properly aligned. This happens by adjusting the angle of your car’s axles and wheels.

As the vehicle ages, its alignment geometry can change due to its spring experiencing metal fatigue and the ride height will change.

During the wheel alignment process, adjustments made to the angle of the tires will affect how they contact the road throughout the range of vertical travel as the vehicle moves down the road.

The adjustments are made to Camber, Toe, and Castor. 

Camber is the inward and outward tilt of the tire and wheel assembly. While castor is the angle that identifies the forward and backward slope of a line.

And Toe is the measurement that determines how much the front and/or rear wheels are turned in or out from a straight-ahead position. 

What’s the Difference?

Tire rotation and Wheel Alignment solve the same issues and are implemented for some similar purposes. But they are not exactly the same and have some major differences. 

The main difference between the two is that wheel alignment is only required if your car has come out of alignment and once you have done it, then the alignment will not be required for a very long time.

Whereas, the situation is different with Tire Rotation which must be done after 6000 to 8000 miles of driving.

The simple difference that you can consider between the two is that Tire Rotation is a necessity that must be performed regularly while wheel alignment is a problem faced by your vehicle which must be resolved.

Why Tire Rotation is Important?

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel-efficient driving has many benefits as the car will burn less fuel in the air, making the tires very environmentally friendly.

Vehicles will produce fewer greenhouse gases. And those with better fuel efficiency tend to consume less fuel to carry out the same task. 

Tire rotation increases the fuel efficiency of the vehicle as your tires will maintain uniform contact with the road which will result in reduced friction and that further has many benefits. 

Smoother Performance

When there will be more even amount of tread on your tires, they will deliver smoother performance on different types of roads.

As we know that all tires wear at different rates so evenly worn tires will provide a smooth and comfortable ride.


Uneven tread wear on your tires causes them to wear out at a faster speed and effect their durability negatively.

It will also damage your suspension system which will further damage the oil pan and exhaust system.

Rotating your tires regularly is an efficient way to increase the lifespans of your tires and suspension.


The tire grip on the road will significantly increase due to tire rotation.

The tires will have better control when your car would be dealing with sharp turns, making hard stops, or driving on wet and icy roads.

Tire rotation will also prevent accidents to a great extent.

Why Wheel Alignment is Important?


When a tire is over or under-inflated, it loses stability, negatively affecting handling, cornering, and stopping as well as reducing the life of the tire.

Accurate wheel alignment optimizes driving stability as the tire grip on the road enhances.

The stability increases as the tires are parallel with each other and are set evenly after wheel alignment


It’s very hard to steer if your wheels are out of alignment.

It may also happen that you would have to steer the wheel at an awkward angle in order to drive the vehicle straight.

This will also increase the chance of an accident.

A proper wheel alignment will not only improve the steering response but also the overall driving of the vehicle.

Regular Repairs

When your tires are misaligned, little rough jolts can lead to big problems.

The tires will become flat quite regularly and more damage will be caused to the suspension system.

Spending small amounts of money on wheel alignment can prevent you from shelling out big bucks for bigger auto repairs down the road.


Misalignment leads to more frequent tire changes as they will not be long-lasting, making them less durable.

Due to misalignment, the tires become feathered when the tread is smooth or worn down on one side and sharp on the other.

This can be prevented by proper wheel alignment.


Tire rotation simply means periodically changing the position of each of the tires on your vehicle while wheel alignment means adjusting the angles of the tire.

During wheel alignment, the technician makes adjustments to the camber, caster, and toe of each wheel as needed.

Tire rotation is to be done every 6000 to 8000 miles whereas wheel alignment is done when a problem in alignment and steering is observed.

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