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Old 03-24-2013, 09:29 PM   #1
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5-wheel rotation...truth or BS?

FIrst, I'll open by saying that I NEVER EVER go into any situation thainking that I know all that there is to know. And thus, I am always open to learn new things.

That being said...today I "learned" something new, that I simply have difficult believing.

I dropped off "Serenity" (thats my Wrangler) at NTB for an oil change, alignment and 5-wheel rotation. Yes, I had to explain to the desk attendant what a 5-wheel rotation was.

I went on my merry way, knowing that they said it would be an hour...which usually means four. But I had plenty of errends to do to keep busy.

About 30-minutes after I left, they called me to say that their manager had told them that NTB Policy ( a large national chain) was to do only front to rear rotations. And that they wouldnt recommend incorporating the spare into the rotation because it would be fine...the first time. But on the second rotation, if one of the wheels was rotated from the left side to the right...the change in the direction of relative rotation would cause the radials to seperate and I'd lose that tire.

Now, Im thinking to myself, I've been around the block a few times. Actually, quite a few times. In fact, I'd say Ive been around the block so many damn times I should have a number stenciled on my side and a few sports drink sponsors. But I've never heard of a radial seperating because it was rotated from one side to the other. So I mentioned that. Their service manager explained that "back in the day", the bias ply tires didnt have the problem. I explained that although I have been around 43 years...I've never owned a set of bias tires and dont know anybody younger than my dad who has. I told them that I brought the vehicle to them instead of taking it to walmart because I trusted their expertise and told them to do whatever they thought was best.

When I got back to NTB to pick up my Jeep, they went through their story again. They did say: "we will do it if you insist, but dont recommend it."

Now, if I had time to argue with them, I woulda had time to do the work myself...I had neither. And being a deciple of the philosophy of not arguing with an idiot, I simply paid for the oil change and went on my way.

As I said in the begining...I am always open to learning new things. The question in my mind is:
a) Have I learned a vital new fact about radial tires only being able to be rotated front to back?
or
b) Have I learned that the service technicians, management and even corporate policy makers of a Large National Chain which I once respected (long ago....but deminishing for some time) are dumber than the wrenches that they are turning?

What say you, forum of wise and knowledgable brethren?

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Old 03-24-2013, 11:42 PM   #2
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I am like you in that I do not pretend to know everything...but the manager was right that when radials first came out, there was concern that changing rotation would cause them to seperate...well, a lot has changed in 40 years and the seperation thing is no longer a problem... Heck, even a 4 wheel rotation crosses the fronts to the opposite rears....

I use a 5 wheel rotation on my JKUR to keep the tires even as possible.

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Old 03-24-2013, 11:54 PM   #3
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Yeah, thats what I figured.

But they were saying that the bias ply tires of the flintsones sperated....AND...the radial tires that I bout 3 months ago would also seperate if I rotated them to the other side of the vehicle.

I've been driving for a couple of decades...been maintaining vehicles for a bout a decade longer than I've been driving them...I've never ever done just a front to rear same-side rotation.

I had a hunch it was an extra-large serving of crap that he was spouting. But wanted to check in here and make sure the biggest idiot in the room...wasnt me...for once.

Fella spend 10 minutes trying to explain whay they didnt wanna do 3 minutes of work.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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I suppose it couldn't hurt to call the tire mfg just to make sure
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:35 PM   #5
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I take all of my vehicles to Discount Tire. The first time I took my TJ in for a rotation, they jumped at the opportunity to do all 5! They even took time to explain the logic behind the 5 tire rotation. I was even more impressed when I saw them roll out two floor jacks
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:49 PM   #6
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I have always done a 5 tire rotation in most of my cars just to keep them as even as possible in the case that I would need to use the spare. Never heard of it being a bad thing
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:03 PM   #7
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hi all. im one of those walmart tire tech up here and they are giving a load of bs on it at my shop we do any type of rotations. I feel as doing that type of work keep your business there my parent and grand father taught me better then that. also most of the people we have hired in the last 2 years have no work ethic at all so the wont do the extra work if it saves time
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:25 PM   #8
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I was a tire manager for Firestone for a year and I always would offer the 5 tire rotation if it could be done. The only reason I would have not done it is if the spare was more than 1/16" more worn than the tires it was going to be rotated out on or if it was a different brand/pattern. The only reason for doing a front to back rotation on the same side would be for directional tires (seen more than my fair share rotated to the other side by competitors). Ive also seen "full" size spares that look just like the stock tire that said Spare Only on it (again rotated on by a competitor that couldn't get the wobble out of a tire that wasn't made to go 50mph+)
I call Shenanigans on your big retailer. Besides if it where company policy it would be in writing somewhere. The only big change in which tire goes where in the last 20 years has been when Firestone recommended installing new tires on the rear when only purchasing 2. Reason being is when you break traction in a slide the car would continue straight and hit front on rather than spin out and hit sideways. ( also was a solid marketing tool to sell all 4 (or 5) when you talk about it)
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:45 PM   #9
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I just ask this same question on Monday when I purchased my spare to match, They said I could do the five tire rotation. End of story...
Good luck to all...
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:03 PM   #10
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Always good to have validation that you arent the bigger moron in the discussion.

Thanks, all.

I'm done with NTB.

I've been going to them for 20 years. Their service has declined for the past 10 and has become deplorable in the past 5.

I purchased a 5 year alignment program from them...unlimited alignments for 5 years.

I still have two years left. But it aint worth going back.

Discount Tire has done me right each time I've gone to them when NTB has pi$$ed me off in the past. Time to make them my first stop...rather then the back-up.
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Old 03-27-2013, 01:56 PM   #11
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I have heard of this on directional tires. I'm not sue if our jeep tire are directional tires.
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Old 03-27-2013, 03:01 PM   #12
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wow, you hear something ridiculous everyday... thanks for sharing vroooom glad you've seen the light and well (i'm speculating here) decided to take your business elsewhere in the future.

what a bonehead! makes you wonder how many other customers they screw over by facilitating faster tire wear by not crossing....

funny side note... i keep the picture of the 5-tire rotation saved on my phone. every now and then i have to explain it to a new service adviser (yes i have one of those stupid maintenance plans...) i enjoy the funny looks i get - and the look they get when the "proverbial light bulb" goes off and they finally understand


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Old 03-28-2013, 07:30 PM   #13
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It is BS...back in the day the steel belts would tighten during rotation so if you reversed rotation they would loosen and the tire could fail. That was a long time ago and no longer the case. I always do a 5 tire rotation, every 5K with the oil change. What good is a full size spare if you don't get it in the mix? Also extends the life of all of your tires.

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