Rotating tires used to be very simple, take them off, rotate them (front to back, back to front), then re-install them, it’s that simple.
It has become a much more difficult job in recent years. Most cars these days have what is called TPMS or “Tire Pressure Monitoring System”. There are more “all-wheel drive” vehicle on the road as well. It can still be done, but you need much more information and, specialized equipment in order to do this job.
How Does TMPS Work?
TPMS or Tire Pressure Monitoring System. This system does just what its name suggests. Monitoring the pressure in your tires to be sure that they are inflated to the exact pressure, which will give you increased tire life and better gas mileage. The system will also alert you if you are about to lose tire pressure while you are driving.
Why is this a problem?
These systems must have a sensor inside each tire so that it can tell the computer how much pressure is in it. Normally this would not be a problem, however each of these sensors are “marked” by the computer so that the car’s computer will know which tire is which.
What that means is the computer knows if it is the right front tire or the right rear tire.
When “Mr. truck owner” goes to rotate their tires without using the TMPS, the computer can no longer tell which tire is which, turning on a light on the instrument panel. The light will not go out until you reset it.
How do you Reset TPMS Light?
Most of the TPMS sensors have to be reset using a scan tool every time the tires are rotated, and some of them even have to be reset even if you are just putting air in the tire.
Starting in 2008 the government required that car manufacturers to use this system on every vehicle. This means that your car will have this system if it was made after 2008. Many of the cars that were made before this date have this system on them you can always check the owners-manual before you go and change your tires.
You can also purchase a scan tool at most any auto parts store that will re-set this system or you can take your vehicle to any local mechanic to have them do it. There are some auto part stores can reset them also.
Should You Rotate Tires Yourself?
If your vehicle is not equipped with TPMS, or if you have a scan tool that can reset TPMS codes you should be able to do this job fairly easily. You will need a basic set of hand tools, a floor jack, and a jack stand, with all that you would need a torque wrench. Then what you do is simply put the tire that is on the front right on the back left and the tire that is on the back left goes on the front right. Do the same on the other side.
I would say that if you have a vehicle that is older than 2000 then yes, you should be able to do this job fairly easily. If your car is newer than 2000 that does not have the TPMS system, also yes, but if it does have this system, you should take it to a professional.
If you really want to change your tires yourself then we recommend taking your car to an auto repair shop that has a TPMS scan tool, they can reset the sensors for you. Check out where you can buy a TPMS reset tool for your car that would work as well. Some of these tools may be different to use so make sure you read the instructions and feel comfortable before you try it yourself.