A brand new set of four quality tires for most of the passenger vehicles on the road today can range from $400 to $700. (Some of us paid something in that range for our first car!) If you want to maximize the investment you have in your tires and extend their life and performance, remember to rotate them!

It's important because your front and rear tires wear differently. If your vehicle is front-wheel driven, there's more pressure on your front tires. Every mile and every start, stop and turn creates friction, heat and wear... more so on your two front tires. That's why it's necessary to rotate the tires front to rear several times during their life cycle. By doing this you even out tread wear, reduce the impact of uneven weight distribution and maximize the life of the entire set.

Understand too, there's a correct and incorrect way to rotate your tires so you want to be sure that the local mechanic, tire dealer or service shop knows the best rotation patterns for your vehicle. Florida-based All Tire & Wheel's tire expert, Brian Watkins, says "Good driving and proper tire maintenance --which means regular rotation, proper inflation and alignment-- can significantly extend the life of the tire well beyond the manufacturer's projected mileage."

Watkins notes also that certain tires such as uni-directional tires and tires with asymmetrical tread designs cannot be rotated at all. Additionally, some vehicles may have different size tires mounted on the front and rear axles and these different size tires have their own tires restrictions.

How often should you rotate your tires? Your owner's manual will tell you what's best for your vehicle but the Rubber Manufacturers Association suggests tires be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, or at any sign of uneven wear.