Everything You Need To Know About Rotating Tires With One Jack

Tires are consequential parts of a car’s entire framework. It is the one part that carries the weight of the car and anyone else in it, while also ensuring control. In that case, you are about to discover why and how to rotate tires with one jack.

It is important that you are invested in the maintenance of your vehicle.

Why Is It Important to Rotate Tires?

Wearing tire treads is inevitable with driving. The reason is that every car has front and rear tires that act independently to ensure proper movement.

The front tires, however, carry more weight than the rear tires, making them more vulnerable.

The vulnerability of the front tires is quite evident when making turns or drifting through corners.

Over time, they wear out and you will have to replace them. So you don’t have to keep replacing tires, you need to rotate from one position to another.

The significant purpose of rotating tires is to maintain an even wear with other tires. Further reasons are to reduce future damages and costs.

You should rotate your tires every time you’ve gone within the mileage – say, every three to five thousand miles.

Can you rotate tires with only one jack?

Every vehicle comes with its own jack, nevertheless, you need to know the type to use.

Rotating with one jack is possible but dangerous, and not advisable.

You need to get one or two jack stands to support your car while at it. You will have to position these jack stands at appropriate locations, and rotate depending on the car rotation pattern – directional tires or non-directional tires .

Why You Shouldn’t Use One Jack?

If you plan to do DIY and use one jack to lift a vehicle for rotation, you need to be careful, as accidents are quite common. You need one or two jack stands for support.

Is A One-Jack Tire Rotation safe?

No, it is not without a jack stand.

Tools Needed

For a DIY tire rotation, below is a list and description of the tools you need.

Car Jack

Tire removal and rotation are only possible with the most important tool – a car jack. It is a tool meant to periodically raise a car to a certain height to work underneath it.

There are different types of car jacks depending on the vehicle – hydraulic car jacks are quite common.

You can also use a floor jack.

Jack Stands

While raising your car for tire removal or rotation, you need to support it; at this point, you need another piece of equipment – jack stands. You can use up to four jack stands, depending on how much you want the car rested or stable.

Lug Nuts

Lug nuts are the last set of tools you need. They are important in securing tires to a vehicle’s wheel system. You can use a lug wrench to remove these lug nuts from the tires.

Step-by-step way for rotating tires with Jacks

Whether you want to rotate directional tires or non-directional tires with jacks, here is a step-by-step guide on how to go about it, conveniently.

Park Your Car and Apply Brake

First thing first before doing anything on your car, you need to park it to safety. Find a stable surface with limited to no movement. When you park, ensure to use your parking brake for maximum safety.

Loose the Lug Nuts and Studs

The next step is to loosen the lug nuts and studs of your front or rear tires with a lug wrench.

Slowly, you are detaching your tire(s) from your car’s suspension system.

Use Jack to Raise Car

While the tire is loose, the next thing to do is raise your car with a preferred jack. You can check your owner’s manual to see how to use the jack.

Support with One or Two Jack Stands

As you raise the car up with the jack, you need to support it with one or two jack stands. It needs a little mental work and alertness.

Remove the Tires and Rotate to Tire Pattern

Once the car is raised and the jack stand(s) is/are efficiently supporting, you can now remove the tires. Follow with rotating the tire(s) using the appropriate pattern, i.e., directional or uniform, or zero-directional.

Return the Tires, Remove Jack Stands and Lower with Car Jack

After you rotate your tires the appropriate way, you can now return/position them. Once it is in position, you can remove the (one or) two jack stands, and lower the car.

As soon as the car is back to the ground, you can now tighten with the lug nuts and studs using the lug wrench.

How many jacks do you typically need to rotate tires?

Typically, you need one jack to rotate a tire but you might have to consider the size of the jack. Most larger cars use 3-ton jacks while smaller cars use 2-ton jacks.

You might also have to check with your owner’s manual to discover what type is appropriate for your car.

Which tire rotation pattern is best?

Ideally, there are two types of rotation patterns for tires – directional and non-directional tires. You need to consider these patterns in order to successfully rotate your tire.

For high-performance and directional tires, the following methods are ideal.

Side to Side

Side to Side Pattern

Here, you can utilize the four tires you have.

A Side by Side directional pattern means you can replace the front tires and rear tires at opposites, as long as they are the same size.

Front to Back

Front to Back pattern

In this case, you replace the left front tire with the left rear tire and do the same for the right side.

For uniform or non-directional tires, the following methods are ideal.



4 wheel and rear-wheel drive vehicles are advised to use the rearward method.

It involves replacing the rear with the corresponding forward axle, while the front tires are replaced with opposite sides of the rear.

That means, front right with rear left, and front left with rear right, and at the same time, rear right with front right and rear left with the front left.



The X-Pattern or Star Pattern is recommended for front-wheel drive vehicles – sedans or lightweight trucks.

This method involves replacing the front tires with opposite sides of the rear, i.e., right front with left rear, left front with the right rear, as well as left rear with the right front, and right rear with the left front.

The star pattern is quite easy.



The forward cross is the opposite of the rearward. Instead of the front wheel getting replaced with the opposite rear wheel, the rear wheel gets replaced with the opposite front.

Likewise, you can rotate the tires at the front with the corresponding ones at the back, i.e., right front with the right rear, and left front with the left rear.

It is another ideal choice for front-wheel drive.

How long does it take to rotate tires yourself?

Whether you want to rotate your wheels from front end to rear end or any other pattern described above, it shouldn’t take you more than 20 minutes.

How often are you supposed to rotate your tires?

Every car’s manufacturer specifies the mileage you should do tire rotations. Ideally, they are always between 5,000 miles to 7,500 miles.

Does tire rotation affect alignment?

Tire rotations and wheel alignment or balancing are two factors that can affect the quality of your tires. They are different concepts but almost similar in techniques, i.e., lug nuts removal, jack stand usage, etc.

Nevertheless, both can affect a car’s suspension system positively or negatively. For wheel alignment, you will see warning signs like uneven tire wear, and crooked steering wheel.

However, wheel balancing and maintenance can be done every 5,000 miles to 6,000 miles after a tire rotation.

Final Thoughts

If you would like to rotate the tire of your vehicle, you need to be as careful as you can be.

Rotating front and rear tires requires a lot of effort but if done successfully, you may enjoy a more comfortable ride.

As you remove the lug nuts, raise the car, and also lower the car, ensure to get the perfect jack and jack stands to make work easier for you.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

Thanks for reading our article! We've written this article with a lot of thought and care. If you're interested in seeing more of our content, please check out our Tires section and find an answer to your questions!

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