Just like the worn ends on the bottom of old shoes, tires also wear down unevenly the more it’s driven on the road. This uneven wearing is not just a cosmetic issue. It will speed up the tread life of the tyre and also on expensive drive components of your vehicle’s drivetrain. Tire rotation is important to prevent this uneven wearing of tires.

There are multiple ways to rotate tires, but the premise is switching the position of each tire with another tire on the vehicle.

The Importance of Tire Rotations

Tire rotation is often overlooked. But as previously mentioned, the importance of tire rotation is to lessen the uneven wearing of tires. Depending on the position of the tires, it will wear out more on specific sides. For instance, front tires will wear more on the outside edges due to the car leaning as it turns a corner.

Even if other parts of the tire have more thickness and grip, the outside edges can wear down to have no traction, leaving you to replace the tires thousands of miles sooner. Without tire rotation, more severe tire problems will arise such as tire cupping.

As per carbibles.com, “Tire cupping is seen as three to four inch patches of worn tire surface depressed into the tire separated by regularly worn tire surface. With this tire damage, the thickness of the tire’s surface is wavy and uneven. It will cause vibration or wobbling while you drive. Tire rotation will help prevent this, too”.

Spreading the wearing on tires will extend its life and by prolonging the need to change out the tires, it will save you money. It will also save you money by prolonging the life of the components in the drivetrain. If unkept, uneven tire wear will add more stress on these components and cause expensive drivetrain repairs.

Even wear on the tire’s surface is the importance of tire rotations. It will keep the car running smoother, handling safer, and save you money. Tire rotation is part of the routine maintenance of your vehicle and may be necessary to qualify for your car insurance and warranty coverage. The vehicle’s owner’s manual will often call for a tire rotation every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.

Tire Rotation Patterns

Every car and tire requires a different tire rotation. The importance of tire rotation patterns involves knowing the type of drivetrain and the type of pattern on the tires. The most common tire rotations are the rearward cross, the forward cross, and the x-pattern.

  • Rearward Cross is best for uniformly sized, non-directional patterned tires. This rotational pattern involves moving the front tires diagonally to the back and the rear tires move forward but stay on the same sides of the vehicle.
  • Forward Cross is best for front wheel drive vehicles with uniformly sized, non-directional patterned tires. For this rotation, the rear tires are moved to the front diagonally and the front tires moved to the back and stay on the same sides of the vehicle.
  • X-Pattern can be used in place of a forward cross rotation. In this rotation, the front tires are moved diagonally to the back and the rear tires are moved diagonally to the front.
  • Front-to-Back tire rotation requires the front tires to be switched with the back tires of the same side.
  • Side-to-Side tire rotation requires the front tires to switch with each other and the rear tires to switch with each other, keeping the front tires in the front and the rear tires in the back.
  • Front Wheel Drive Rotation Patterns includes a forward cross and x-pattern. If a spare tire is involved, a variation of the forward cross can be used with the front right tire turning into the spare tire and the previous spare tire is placed on the back right wheel.
  • Rear Wheel Drive Rotation Patterns will require a Rearward Cross
  • Directional or Staggered High-Performance tires require no diagonal tire switching. Instead, the front tires are switched with the back tires of the same side or the right tires are switched with the left tires.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a wheel rotation?

  2. A wheel rotation is just the circular motion of the wheel as it drives along the road. This can be a misused term in place of a tire rotation, which is the switching of the positions of the tires between the wheels of a car.

  3. Does tire rotation direction matter?

  4. The most fitting tire rotation to use on your car will also depend on whether the tires have a directional pattern.

  5. What happens if you don’t do tire rotation?

  6. It is important to rotate the tires because the lack thereof will cause uneven wearing on the vehicle’s tires which will continue to worsen causing more stress on the drivetrain, worse handling and braking efficiency, more frequent replacing of tires, and possible denial of vehicle warranty coverage.

  7. Are tire rotations worth it?

  8. Tire rotations are worth the money kept longer in your pockets, tires kept longer on your vehicle, and warranty coverages kept intact.

  9. Can rotating tires mess up alignment?

  10. Rotating the tires will hardly affect the alignment of the vehicle. However, if the tires are completely lopsided from uneven wear, it can affect the alignment.

  11. Can you change rotation on radial tires?

  12. You can rotate radial tires with the specified pattern recommended based on the type of steel belted radial tires they are.

  13. Why are my tires loud after rotation?

  14. Noticing noise after a tire rotation can be related to alignment issues.

  15. Is tire rotation free with oil change?

  16. Depending on the auto shop, they may provide free services like tire rotation with an oil change.

  17. How do I know if my tires need to be rotated?

  18. Check the vehicle’s owner’s manual for the recommended miles to pass for a tire rotation. You may feel a vibration that can let you know it’s time for a tire rotation. Noticing one low tire pressure despite no sign of leakage can also tell you its time.

  19. How long will tires last if not rotated?

  20. A 60,000 tire may last up to 50,000 miles but it is highly affected by driving style.

  21. How often should tires be rotated?

  22. If you drive only 7,000 miles a year, it may be best to rotate your tires once a year.

  23. When should I rotate my tires?

  24. You should rotate your tires based on the vehicle’s owner’s manual or if you have a telling sign such as one tire being low in pressure with no leakage or if you feel a vibration.