Tips for Rotating Your Tires
Regular maintenance can help ensure the long life of your car, and that should include rotating your tires on a regular basis.
To help make sure that your tires are in good condition and functioning properly, they should to be checked and rotated regularly — typically every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, says Edmunds. Since many manufacturers have different recommendations for tire rotation, consult your owner’s manual or instructions specific to your vehicle. It’s also important to know that tires can wear differently depending on their location on your car. For example, your front tires work with the steering wheel to turn your car. All of the turning and extra friction may result in sections of your tires wearing out at different rates, according to Edmunds. Routinely rotating your tires may help them wear more evenly, Cars.com explains.
In addition, tires can get out of balance, since oftentimes a tire may not be perfectly round or its weight may not be distributed evenly, says Cars.com. The result can be uneven wear patterns that could affect the performance of your vehicle. By rotating your tires from front to rear or left to right, the wear pattern may even out, helping to extend the life of your tires.
How To Properly Rotate Your Tires
|Your Vehicle Type||Tire Type||Rotational Pattern|
|Rear & four-wheel drive||Directional||Rearward cross or X|
|Front-wheel drive||Nondirectional||Forward cross or X|
|Same-size wheels||Directional||Front to rear|
|Different-size wheel||Nondirectional||Side to side|
How to Rotate Directional/Asymmetrical Tires
Directional/asymmetrical tires have both the v-shaped tread pattern to help discharge water and the asymmetrical outer tread of dry weather tires, according to Pep Boys. They are designed to rotate in one direction, front to rear.
How to Rotate Non-Directional Tires
Non-directional tires are not to be used only on one side of the vehicle, like directional tires are. These tires are designed to rotate in either direction (front to back, side to side) often utilizing the forward-cross pattern.
When to Use the Rearward-Cross Pattern
This pattern features rotating tires from rear to front, then from left front to right rear and right front to left rear. Typically, this pattern is utilized by vehicles with rear wheel drive, four wheel drive and all wheel drive and requires non-directional tires.
When to Use the Forward-Cross Pattern
The front tires are rotated to the rear, then left rear to right front and right rear to left front. Typically, this pattern is utilized by vehicles with front wheel drive.
When to Use the Front-to-Rear Pattern
The most common rotation configuration for today’s vehicles, this pattern is used for directional tires which are rotated front to rear on both sides.
When to Use the Side-to-Side Pattern
This pattern is typically used when the front and rear tires are different sizes and are non-directional. Both the front and rear tires are rotated to the opposite side.
While you can rotate your own tires if you have the proper tools, this is one job that you may want to consider leaving to a professional. Not only is it typically safer, but many auto shops will offer the service for free or at a discounted rate as part of routine maintenance tasks like oil changes. Then, with your routine tire rotation checked off your list, you can hit the road with the knowledge that your car’s tires are in proper position.
Originally published October 2016.