Tyre Rotation Advice

Front and rear tyres do different jobs so they usually wear at different rates. Some tyres transmit drive, others steer and in some cases they do both. Their share of cornering and braking loads varies also. So regular tyre rotation is needed to help even out any irregular wear patterns and ensure maximum tyre life. So what’s the correct way to rotate radial tyres?

In the past it was fairly straightforward.  There were two possible options –  front to back or diagonally side to side.

However the widespread adoption of temporary use spare wheels, uni-directional and asymmetrical tyres, and in some cases different size tyres front to rear complicates the matter greatly.  In fact it’s now common to find vehicles that come with a number of possible wheel / tyre combinations, all of which necessitate different rotation patterns.  So the one vehicle could potentially have a number of different tyre rotation patterns shown in its handbook.

We always suggest following the vehicle manufacturer’s rotation recommendations as outlined in the vehicle’s handbook, or alternatively taking advice from an experienced tyre dealer.  However where this is not available or not an option, the following information may be of assistance.

How frequently should tyres be rotated?

Many manufacturers recommend tyre rotation at least every 10,000km, or more frequently if uneven wear patterns are evident.  Depending on the wear patterns, attention to wheel alignment, correct tyre pressures or revising driving style may also be required.  High powered Front Wheel Drive vehicles can be very hard on front tyres and, depending on driving style, it could be necessary to rotate tyres even more frequently to maximise tyre life.

Rotating your tyres periodically can help to prevent uneven wear and prolong the lifespan of your tyres.

Rotating Tyres: Best Practise

When should you rotate your tyres? Generally speaking, it is recommended that you rotate the tyres on your vehicle once every six months, or 5,000 miles – whichever comes first.

To do so, each tyres needs to be removed and refitted at a different position. This helps to ensure that each tyre wears evenly and lasts longer.

For each driving method, there is a correct way to rotate your tyres. You want to ensure that you rotate the tyres to the correct position for your vehicle.

Rotating Tyres on a Front Wheel Drive

front wheel rotation

The two front tyres stay on the same of the car and are transferred to the rear. However, the rear tyres move forward and switch sides.

Rotating Tyres on a Rear Wheel Drive

four wheel rotate

The two rear tyres stay on the same side of the car and are transferred to the front. However, the front tyres move backwards and switch sides.

Rotating Tyres on a Four Wheel Drive

In this instance both sets of tyres swap sides and position. So the two front tyres move back and switch. At the same time the two rear tyres move forward and switch.

Rotating Directional Tyres

directional wheel rotate

The above rules should not be followed if your tyres are ‘directional tyres’. The tread pattern on this variety tyre is designed specifically to work in a certain way in relation to its position on the vehicle – switching sides would be dangerous.

The tyres change position, but do not switch. The two front tyres move back and the two rear tyres move forward – they stay on the same side of the car as before.

Other maintenance requirements

Maximum tyre life will only be achieved if tyres are regularly rotated, correctly inflated and wheel alignment and balance are checked and corrected as necessary.

Alignment should be checked annually or when abnormal wear patterns appear, while tyre pressures should ideally be checked at least weekly.  Tyre balancing is relatively inexpensive and it would be wise to have it checked when tyres are being rotated to prevent imbalance induced problems.