Lessons Learned From Rotating Tires

Subaru Jack PointsI’ve got a book worth of stories from just the past couple of days, but I doubt I’ll be able to get all of them “on paper”.

But this one, I suppose, is worth telling.

In due form, my list of “Things I’d Like to Do Today” was actually pretty long, but it was also an unconscious list, in that I really had no idea of what I was going to attempt to accomplish. The List just runs on and on, I guess, and I grab items from it from time to time to do.

But before we went off for the Spring Break Adventure 2016, I had said that I would need to rotate the tires on the Subaru after we got back.

Since I didn’t get it done yesterday, that left today.

I hate rotating tires. It’s an annoying Adventure under the best of circumstances, especially since I don’t have a lift or a really good jack. The idea of having multiple tires off of the vehicle at one time means that jackstands are necessary, and it usually means a lot of moving the jack from one end of the car to the other and fighting with the “jack points”.

Yeah, that’s pretty much how the rotation of the tires on the Subaru went, except that I first tried to put the car completely up on jack stands so that I could just rotate the tires and then set the entire unit back down.

That turned out to be a really bad idea, so I’ve made a new “Tire Rotation Rule.”

One side at a time, dimwit. Don’t make it harder on yourself than it has to be.

And, maybe, by the time I’m 80, I’ll have an air compressor that is large enough to run an impact wrench so my forearms and elbows won’t have to be so  darn sore after breaking all those lug nuts loose, spinning them off and back on, and the tightening them up again.

So, for the lessons?

  • Don’t try to get fancy when it’s not necessary.
  • Sometimes trying to do stuff the easy way is actually more work because you don’t have all the right equipment to do it the easy way.
  • Trying to save money usually results in having to do a lot of work.
  • Doing a lot of work results in being tired and hurting.

The Jack Points Diagram is actually from Geothunder – it’s not mine.

6 thoughts on “Lessons Learned From Rotating Tires

  1. Hi,

    I’m just about to roate all my tires on my Forester.

    So why was having the car up on 4 jack stands a bad idea whenn rotatting your tires? I couldn’t figure out why you mentioned to do one side at a time??



    1. Hello, wow, this comment caught me off guard as it’s been quite a while since I posted this and I can’t quite remember all the details. I think most of the problem was that all I have to do this with is a hydraulic floor jack and the Subaru jack, and my garage space is a bit tight. With the equipment that I have, it was simply more work to try to get it up on all four jack stands than it was to just do front / rear on one side, then the other. Even crossing the rears AFTER doing the front to back swap was easier than the work required to get all four off the ground. I think I ran out of reach on my jack, and there’s really not enough “jack points” to have a jack AND a jack stand under a given corner during the process. If I used the “jack point” for the jack, then I didn’t have anywhere good and safe to put the jack stand. If I tried to keep the jack point clear for the jack stand, I had to lift using a suspension point and that became shaky.

      In other words, I simply wouldn’t recommend trying to lift all four, but that’s just personal experience, not anything official.

      Hope that helps.

  2. OK, thanks Bernard!!

    I was planning on using the floor jack on the front / rear designated jack points and then use the jack stands in the designated vehicle side positions IE where the pinch welds are, same place as the desginated scissor jacking points. I can see how garage space would affect your planning. I haven;t domne this before (jacking the whole car up) so am trying to get as much info ahead of time as possible. Cheers,


  3. Simon – Understood, no problem 🙂 My issue was that the scissor jacking points were the ONLY jack points I could find. I couldn’t find anywhere designated as “front / rear jacking points” but I may have missed a crucial issue. Let me know how it works for you, as this is a continuing concern for me, even tho I get free rotations from my tire dealer at this point. (That’s a BIG deal – our Forester has less than 80K miles and is on its FOURTH set of tires, one set of which were Michelins…) That 6000 mile rotation issue is very frustrating.

  4. Eh, I just looked at the diagram I posted here, and I see your point. Seems like I tried them, and the whole buttload of a car got really unstable. For one thing, you need to have some kind of jackstand or jackstand adapter that allows for the shape of the rail at the scissor lift point. Second, I seem to remember that it was just very unstable to lift the whole dang rear end once I got the front on jackstands. But I can’t say for sure. Sorry!

  5. This guy employs the spare tyre in the process of wheel rotation and juist uses the scissor jack from his boot / trunk ( I’m a Brit living in USA so I can use both terms!! haha).

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