Tire Rotation Tips
by Jeff Lucius
for the Mitsubishi 3000GT/Dodge Stealth
Rotating tires helps to minimize irregular wear and extend the tread mileage. These tips assume that all the tires and wheels are the same size. If you have directional tires (there will be an arrow on the sidewall indicating forward rotation direction) or directional wheels (many of the early 3000GT/Stealth models had these) you are limited to moving the wheels and tires forward and backward on the same side of the car, unless you dismount and remount the tires. Tires that are asymetrical require only that a particular sidewall is on the outside. Treat tires that are both directional and asymmetrical as you would plain directional tires.
Before you start, decide on a rotation pattern. The figure to the right shows two options. You could also move the rear tires forward on the same side and the front tires to opposite rear locations. Our cars use an under-sized spare tire, so the spare tire is not part of the rotation. The important point is to use the same pattern each time you rotate the tires. Tire rotation should be performed every 5000 miles or whenever you notice uneven tire wear. If possible, try to determine why the tire is wearing unevenly and correct the situation.
The tools required are a hydraulic jack, two (or three) jack stands, two wheel chucks (blocks of wood are fine), lug wrench or the appropriate sockets and socket wrenches for your wheels, a torque wrench that goes up to 100 lb-ft, and a small flat-head tool for some Stealth owners to remove the center cap. You may also want to assemble some cleaning supplies and tire dressing. The instructions below follow the pattern shown on the left side of the diagram above. Please read through all the instructions before starting this operation. The left side of the car is the driver's side; the right side is the passenger's side.
Rotate the Tires
1. Park the car and loosen the lug nuts. Find a level surface where you can leave the car for maybe an hour or so. Put the chucks behind the rear wheels. Put an automatic transmission in Park or a manual transmission in first or reverse gear. Set the parking brake. Remove the center caps if you have them (there is a slot on one edge for the tool). Loosen all lug nuts one full turn.
2. Raise and support the front end. Using the either the pad on the front cross member or the rails under the side sills, raise the front of the car and support it with jack stands so that both front wheels just clear the ground (they will rotate if both are off the ground even if the transmission is in gear). I recommend not placing the jack stands under the bushing at the rear of the lower arm. Its nice curved shape looks like an attractive spot, but use the edges of cross frame member that the bushing bolts to. Some tips and pictures are on my web page 2-raisecar.htm. If you are keeping the directional wheels and tires on the same side of the car, you can raise both wheels off the ground using the rail under the side sill about one foot in front of the rear wheel well. A jack stand should be used to re-inforce the jack's support of the car. As always, be sure the car is safely supported before working under or near it.
3. Remove front wheels. With the car safely supported, finish removing the lugs nuts on both front wheels and remove the wheels and tires. If at all possible, remove the lug nuts turning the socket by hand. Try to minimize the use of a lug wrench or socket wrench to reduce the chance of cross-threading the lug nut on the wheel bolt. Yes, I have done this (once) and it is a repairable situation, but you do not want this hassle.
With the wheels off the car, you have a great opportunity to inspect the tires and wheels for wear and damage. You may also want to take the time to clean the wheel and apply some wax, and clean the tires and apply some dressing (sidewalls only).
4. Right rear wheel. Place the hydraulic jack under the rail under the side sill near the right rear wheel and raise the car. On my Stealth, this raises both right side wheels, so the car will lift off of the jack stand in front. You can add a jack stand under the sill for additional security. I just used the hydraulic jack for support because I was never under the car. Remove the lugs by hand if possible and set the right rear wheel aside. Install the wheel that was on the front right. Tighten the lug nuts by hand in a pattern similar to that shown in the diagram to the right. You may have to move the wheel a little by hand to get each lug nut seated. At this point, I like to snug the lug nuts a little further using a socket and wrench. Do not torque down the nuts at this time. Lower the car back down so that the front again rest securely on the jack stand (check it!).
5. Left front wheel. Install the wheel from the right rear onto the left front hub. Tighten lugs as before.
6. Left rear wheel. Place the hydraulic jack under the rail under the side sill near the left rear wheel and raise the car. You can add a jack stand under the sill for additional security. Remove the lugs by hand if possible and set the left rear wheel aside. Install the wheel that was on the front left. Tighten the lug nuts as before.
7. Lower left side and torque left lug nuts. Remove the front jack stand and lower the left side of the car so both wheels rest on the ground enough to not turn but without the full weight of the car on them. Finish tightening all (10) lug nuts on the left side using the pattern shown above to 87-101 lb-ft (120-140 Nm). Do not guess; use a torque wrench! I have always tightened the lug nuts to 95 lb-ft without problems. After all the nuts are tight, finish lowering the left side completely to the ground.
8. Right front wheel. Install the wheel from the left rear and tighten the lugs nuts by hand as before.
9. Lower right side and torque right lug nuts. Place the hydraulic jack near the right rear wheel again and lift the right side. Remove the front jack stand and lower the right side of the car so both wheels rest on the ground enough to not turn but without the full weight of the car on them. Finish tightening all (10) lug nuts on the right side using the pattern shown above to 87-101 lb-ft (120-140 Nm). After all the nuts are tight, finish lowering the right side completely to the ground. Remove the wheel chocks.
9. Adjust tire inflation. At this point you need to check and adjust the inflation in all four tires. I use 42 psi front and 38 psi rear in my Pirelli Rosso 265/35-18 tires. Follow your experience or the recommendations on the "B" pillar near the driver's door or the tire manufacturer's recommendations for your tires. Generally though, the front tires should be inflated 2 to 4 pounds more than the rear tires because of our car's weight distribution.
Page last updated July 4, 2002.