The main difference between alignment and tire rotation is that alignment adjusts the angle of the tires while tire rotation simply moves the position of the tires from one part of the vehicle to the other. Both are important for maintaining your vehicle’s safety and performance but are very different aspects of tire maintenance.

What is a tire rotation?

Tire rotation simply means moving the tires to different positions on the vehicle. The front tires are moved to the rear and the rear tires are moved to the front, can also. The purpose of tire rotation is to promote even wear on all four tires. Over time, the weight of the vehicle causes the front tires to wear down faster than the rear tires. By rotating the tires, you can extend their lifespan and ensure that they all wear evenly.

What are the different types of tire rotation? The most common type is the forward cross pattern, where the front left tire is moved to the back right and vice versa. Other popular types are the X-pattern which puts the front right on the rear left, and the front left on the rear right. Or the rearward cross, which moves the front left to the rear right, and the front right to the rear left. Then the rear tires are moved directly forward rear left to the front right and vice versa.

How does tire rotation help your tires?

Tire rotation helps your tires last longer and perform better. By moving the tires from one side of the vehicle to the other, you are balancing out the wear and tear on each tire. This helps you get the most mileage out of your tires and save money in the long run as well. It also helps ensure that all four tires are in good condition and have the same amount of tread.

What is a wheel alignment?

A wheel alignment is a separate but related procedure. A wheel alignment involves adjusting the angle of the tires so that they point straight ahead. This is important because wheels that are out of alignment will cause the vehicle to pull to one side or vibrate. Both tire rotation and alignment are important for maintaining your vehicle’s safety and performance.

How does an alignment help your tires? A wheel alignment helps to provide even wear on the tires by making sure that they are all pointing in the same direction. Poorly aligned wheels can lead to uneven tread wear, which can shorten the life of your tires. Additionally, wheels that are out of alignment will cause the vehicle to pull to one side or vibrate, which can be dangerous for the driver. Aligning your wheels will help ensure that your vehicle drives safely and efficiently.

Do I need an alignment after tire rotation?

While both an alignment and a tire rotation help with even wear on your tires, they do not play hand-in-hand. You do not need to get an alignment whenever you get a tire rotation!

You may need an alignment though if your vehicle begins driving differently after a tire rotation. If your car is pulling to one side or vibrating, then it could be due to an alignment issue that needs to be addressed. That said, this could also be your tire being off-balance, rather than out of alignment, so make sure to have your tire repair facility have that checked first.


Tire rotation and alignment are both important aspects of maintaining your vehicle’s performance and safety. Tire rotation helps promote even tire wear, while wheel alignment ensures that the wheels are pointing straight ahead (which also helps with even wear).

Both should be done regularly to ensure your vehicle is running smoothly and safely. It’s best to consult with an experienced professional for advice on how often to perform these services.