JAM | May 4, 2023

Car Care Tips | It’s important to rotate your tyres

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Owning and driving a car does not mean that you should operate until the wheels fall off. One often neglected car care maintenance tip is that of rotating the tyres.

It means periodically changing the position of each of the tyres on your vehicle. Regularly rotating your tyres gives you a good opportunity to visually inspect them for damage, check their air pressure, have them rebalanced if you’re noticing any vibration, and check their tread depth.

You should rotate your tyres as recommended by the car manufacturer. Some care care professionals may advise you to rotate the tyres every 5,000 miles. For those of you who are on top of your regular overall car maintenance, tyre rotation may usually take place at the same time you go in to get your oil changed.

Importance of tyre rotation

By routinely rotating your tyres, wear is spread evenly across all four tyres, and their tread life is maximised. That’s because each specific position on your vehicle requires more or less from each tyre. For example, tyres on the front of a front-wheel drive vehicle will take a larger proportion of the torque (measure of the force that can cause an object to rotate about an axis) and friction that is needed for turning, accelerating and braking. It is especially important to rotate new tyres regularly because deep, fresh tyre tread is more susceptible to uneven wear.

Additionally, even tread wear keeps the tread depth on your tyres uniformed, which can help keep traction and handling consistent across all four tyres. This will improve cornering and braking performance and keep your vehicle safer for driving overall.

Finally, if your vehicle has all-wheel-drive, evenly worn tyres will lower the stresses on the drivetrain, (the parts of your vehicle that interact with the engine to move the wheels and various parts of the vehicle to thrust it into motion) reducing the wear on expensive drive components.

Tyre rotation patterns

The tyre rotation pattern that’s best for your vehicle will depend on the type of tyre you use, whether your vehicle is front, rear, all, or four-wheel drive, whether your tyres are directional or non-directional, whether or not your tyres are the same size on the front and rear of your vehicle, and whether you have a full-size spare that can be rotated through as well, unlike a temporary spare. Here are some tyre rotation patterns to consider.

For tyres that are of uniform size and non-directional

  1. Rearward Cross
    For vehicles that are rear wheel drive vehicles, the rearward cross pattern is recommended. Rear tyres are moved to the forward axle and kept on the same side of the vehicle while the front tyres are moved to opposite sides of the rear axle.
  2. X-Pattern
    Recommended for 4-wheel and all wheel drive vehicles such as light-weight trucks and sedans, all tyres are moved diagonally, meaning tyres are switched from one axle to the opposite as well as being repositioned from one side to the other.
  3. Forward Cross
    This is the most common pattern for front-wheel drive vehicles. The front axle tyres are moved directly back while the rear tyres are moved up diagonally to the opposite side of the front axle.

For tyres that are of unifrom size and non-directional with a full spare tyre

In order to insure that all of the tyres on your vehicle have even tread wear, you’ll want to be sure to rotate your full-size spare tyre along with the other four. This is especially vital for all-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicles where even small differences can put undue strain on your car’s drivetrain.

  1. Rearward Cross (Rear-Wheel or 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles)
    Both rear axle tyres move directly forward to the front axle while the spare tyre moves to the right side of the rear axle. The right front tyre moves diagonally back to the left side of the rear axle while the left front tyre becomes your new spare tyre.
  2. Forward Cross (Front-Wheel Drive Vehicles)
    Rear tyres are moved diagonally to opposite sides on the front axle while the right front tyre becomes the new spare tyre. The spare tyre is positioned on the right side of the rear axle while the left tyre on the front axle is moved directly back into the left rear position.

For high performance and directional tyres

  1. Side-to-side (for differently sized performance tyres on the front and rear axles)
    All tyres are switched with their same-sized partner and remain on the same axle. The two rear tyres switch to the opposite side with one another while the two front tyres do the same.
  2. Front-to-back (for directional tyres)
    All tyres are moved from one axle to the other but remain on the same side of the vehicle. For example, the front left tyre is moved to the left side of the rear axle while the rear left tyre is repositioned on the left side of the front axle.

This is the 11th article in the weekly series, ‘Car Care Tips’ where we highlight various aspects of a car, how to provide care and maintenance for optimal performance while ensuring safety. This series may feature your favourite mechanic or others from the motor vehicle industry.

Read the tenth installment of Care Care Tips: Car Care Tips | Benefits of wheel alignment

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