Rotating your tyres is an important element of tyre upkeep and safety, making them last longer and keeping your wallet happy at the same time.
Tyre rotation is one of the simplest maintenance routines one can perform for their car. It only takes up a short period of your time, and costs next to nothing to undergo. However, this simple but crucial maintenance step is often overlooked, and it can lead to uneven tyre wear over time.
Ideally, you would want to replace all four tyres at the same time. With all four tyres having even amounts of wear, it makes it easier to keep track as well.
So what does ‘tyre rotation’ mean?
The term ‘tyre rotation’ means periodically changing the position of each tyre on your vehicle. You should rotate your tyres as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer, or if that information isn’t available, a good rule of thumb would be roughly every 8,000 kilometres.
Rotating your tyres also provide good opportunities to visually inspect each wheel for damage or to check if there is sufficient air pressure. You can even have them rebalanced if you’re noticing any vibration whilst driving, or inspect their tread depth to see if you are in need of a new set.
Why is it important?
There are several reasons why tyre rotation is a simple but important affair. By routinely rotating your tyres, wear and tear are spread evenly across all four tyres, maximising your tyre set’s lifespan. Depending on the type of car you are driving, your car’s wear pattern will vary slightly.
With even tread wear across all four tyres, handling and performance characteristics are kept consistent across all four tyres, improving safety.
For those of you who drive all-wheel-drive cars (looking at you Subaru owners), evenly worn tyres can lower the stresses on the drivetrain, reducing overall wear on expensive drive components. You would rather replace some tyres than an entire driveshaft right?
Tyre Rotation Patterns
There are several different tyre rotation patterns that exist, and each are tailored to a specific kind of car. In most applications, the standard tyre rotation pattern is front-to-rear, but here are some other patterns that could also help promote longer tyre life.
- Rear tyres swap with the front tyres, done on the same side of the vehicle
- Used in situations when wear is normal, and also when tyres have directional tread (designed to roll in one direction)
Forward cross (Front-wheel drive vehicles)
- Front tyres are swapped to the rear, done on the same side of the vehicle
- Rear tyres are crossed to opposite sides when swapped to the front
- Used in situations when rear tyres show uneven wear
X-pattern (All types of vehicles)
- Front tyres are swapped with rear tyres in a cross or X pattern (E.g. Front left tyre is swapped with the rear right tyre)
- Used in situations when there’s uneven wear
Rearward cross (All-wheel, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles)
- Rear tyres are swapped to the front, done on the same side of the vehicle
- Front tyres are crossed to opposite sides when swapped to the rear
- Used in situations when there’s uneven front tyre wear
Side-to-Side (Staggered ‘differently sized’ wheels)
- Both front and rear tyres are swapped to opposite sides of the vehicle
- Used in situations when your front and rear tyres have different tyre widths and sizes
Read more tyre guides right here on AUTA!