Rotating tyres is an important part of overall tyre maintenance that can not only increase their lifespan – but can also make a big difference to your vehicle’s performance and handling.
As tyres wear at different rates, rotating them can help them to wear more evenly as well as minimise vibration and provide a quieter, smoother ride. Ensuring that all four tyres are wearing in a uniform way also optimises traction and therefore the safety of the vehicle (and you!) on the road.
While there is no set time to do a rotation, it is recommended that this is carried out about every 6,000 miles and usually along with a wheel alignment. This should be done earlier where the tread begins to show signs of wear or the vehicle has hit an obstacle in the road causing vibration to occur.
There is no “one-size-fits-all rotation” – so it’s important to know what kind of rotation is appropriate for your vehicle and tyres. Rotational patterns are used to suit the vehicle (such as a 4×4, all-wheel or front-wheel drive) and the type of tyre (directional or non-directional) – as well as whether the front and back tyres are different sizes!
Some of the main rotation types include the ones below, but it’s always advisable to consult your vehicle owner’s manual or get advice from a tyre shop expert before going ahead.
Rearward Cross: Suitable for many 4-wheel and rear-wheel drives, the rear tyres are moved to the front, on the same side of the vehicle. The front tyres are moved to the opposite sides of the rear.
X-Pattern: Often used for front-wheel drives, the tyres are rotated diagonally.
Forward Cross: Frequently used for front-wheel drives, the front tyres are moved directly back (on the same side of the vehicle), while the rear tyres are moved diagonally to the opposite side of the front axle.
Front to Rear: Used for vehicles with the same size directional wheels and/or directional tyres, the front tyres are moved directly back on the same side, while the rear tyres are moved directly forward on the same side.
Side to Side: Used for vehicles with different sized non-directional tyres and wheels on the front and back axles, the front and back tyres respectively are changed with each other in a sideways rotation on the same axle.
And lastly, remember to check whether you have a full-size spare tyre that can be included in the rotation.