As a Jeep enthusiast, tires (especially all terrain off road) are usually a very big investment. The tires for my Jeeps run about $150-175 apiece. The best way to protect that investment is to regularly rotate your Jeep’s tires in order to keep the tread wear on them as even as possible. This article will discuss Jeep tire rotation.
Rotating your Jeep’s tires is a relatively easy process that you can do in your garage or driveway in about an hour. The process requires a jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, and a lug wrench. Start by simply lifting the front and rear of the Jeep on one side, make the swap, and then again on the other side of the Jeep. Below is a detailed, step by step description of the process of Jeep tire rotation in more detail. Here is how to rotate your Jeep’s tires:
Here’s what you need to rotate your Jeep’s tires:
- Jeep or truck/SUV jack – To safely lift the Jeep
- Jack stands – Minimum of two 2-ton capacity jack stands
- Wheel chocks – Minimum of two-wheel chocks to place behind the opposing wheel to avoid the Jeep rolling during the jacking, repair, and un-jacking
- Lug nut spinner wrench – A proper sized lug nut wrench, I prefer a cross shaped, spinner style wrench. You can also use an impact wrench to remove the lug nuts. I would be very careful using an impact wrench to put the lug nuts back on
- Torque wrench – For re-tightening lug nuts to proper torque specs typically 150-175 ft lbs.
- Impact gloves – To keep hands clean and safe from knuckle busting
- Jeep owner’s manual or Jeep reference manuals – To check the manufacturers recommended service schedule as it relates to tire rotation, as well as recommended tire rotation patterns to follow
With these items at the ready, you are prepared to start the tire rotation process for your Jeep.
Here’s what to do to rotate your Jeep’s tires:
- Consult your Jeep’s owner’s manual – For the recommended frequency of tire rotation for your specific Jeep, as well as the various recommended patterns for your number of tires and intended use of the Jeep. I tend to rotate the tires on my Jeeps every 10,000 miles. On my Jeep Cherokee (XJ), I have six identical rims and tires. I rotate back to front, and off the Jeep. The two rims and tires that come off the front are reassigned as follows: one to the on-board spare and one to storage until 10,000-15,000 miles and returning to the rear of my Jeep. On my other Jeeps (TJ, ZJ, and ZJ) I use a five-wheel pattern recommended in the respective Jeep owner’s manual. Some of my tire rotation patterns are in the illustration above.
- Lug nuts – Loosen lugs nuts (but don’t remove the lug nuts) on one side of Jeep while it is still one the ground using the lug nut wrench or the impact wrench
- Wheel chock the rear wheels – Place wheel chocks behind the rear wheels of your Jeep.
- Raise the front wheel – Now jack the front wheel on the side of the Jeep you are rotating first. Place the jack under the axle, or differential, or control arm and raise the wheel off the ground 1-2 inches maximum
- Place a jack stand at that wheel – I usually place jack stands under the solid axle tube of my Jeeps
- Lower the wheel onto the jack stand – Slowly lower the wheel onto the jack stand
- Wheel chock the opposing front wheel – Move the wheel chock from behind the rear wheel that is about to be raised, to in front of the opposing side front wheel of your Jeep
- Jack up the rear wheel on the same side – Now jack the rear wheel on the side of the Jeep you are rotating first. Place the jack under the axle, or differential, or control arm and raise the wheel off the ground 1-2 inches maximum
- Place a jack stand at that wheel – Again, I usually place jack stands under the solid axle tube of my Jeeps
- Test the security of the Jeep – Give the Jeep a push from side to side to confirm your jacking and jack standing of your Jeep. It should not move. You can now confidently work on the Jeep
- Now remove the lug nuts – Remove the lug nuts and put them where they won’t get lost
- Remove wheels and switch – Now remove the wheels and swap them. Be sure to remove the wheels with your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions for added safe practice. Should the Jeep fall on the tire, your hands shouldn’t be stuck with a Jeep on them
- Start the lug nuts by hand tightening – This is to avoid stripping them out. This is a fixable problem, but a pain in the butt you can avoid by taking an extra thirty seconds to hand start the lug nuts
- Reverse the order of the above steps – Now reverse the order of the above steps. One added step is that when safely back on the ground, use a torque wrench to properly tighten the lug nuts to torque spec—usually 150-175 ft lbs. on these Jeeps
- Repeat the process on the other side of your Jeep – As for the other side . . . just repeat this process again.
Time to clean up. The whole job should take an hour, most of it spent raising and lowering the Jeep.
Two Added Tips
While the tires are off your Jeep, be sure to:
- Inspect the tires for wear and damage. Replace the tires if needed. Remember that tires should be replaced in pairs—front pair or back pair
- Check the air pressure in your tires. I use 33 lbs. psi
That’s it! You can now rotate the tires on your Jeep.