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What is Tire Rotation?

If you have been a long-time car owner, you don’t need to know the benefits of tire rotation. You have probably had your tires rotated a few times before at your mechanics or tire store. Who wouldn’t want their tires to last longer? Besides maintaining appropriate inflation, tire rotation can also add years to your tires’ life. Tire rotation also contributes to tire safety because it ensures your mechanic or you get a chance to inspect the tires completely before making the swap. But for those of you who are new car owners, here’s the “what and how” of tire rotation:

Tire rotation is the process of swapping tires from one position in the vehicle to another. Tires are swapped from one wheel to another keeping a view on general wear and tear at the same spot. Tire rotation is known to enhance performance, control tread wear and extend tire life. Most car manufacturers will recommend a scheduled period and pattern to rotate tires.

How do I do a Tire Rotation?

The very first thought of tire rotation sounds like a simple act of taking out all the tires and then putting them back in a new place. Only if it was as simple as that. NMT Oakville clients visit us every year and let us take care of it, making your life easier. However, if you are planning to do it yourself, here are some factors you must consider:

Kind of car drive: front-wheel, rear-wheel, four-wheel or all-wheel drive
Kind of tires: directional, non-directional or asymmetrical
Kind of wheels: Staggered fitment or staggered application wheels means a change in diameter between front and rear wheels
Once you have this information ready, know which spots are wearing out quicker due to your driving habits, and where to change them over, the rest will be easier. The Tire Industry Association and the Tire and Rim Association have developed patterns for car owners to follow. One thing to remember as a basic rule for tire rotation is, “Cross the free rolling axle”.

Front Wheel Drive:

If you are rotating tires for a front wheel drive vehicle, follow the “Forward Cross” pattern. Reposition the tires from the front straight back to the rear. However, when you bring the rear tires front, let them go on to the opposite side which means they should form a forward cross pattern. The diagram below can explain better.

Rear Wheel Drive:

If you are rotating tires for a rear wheel drive vehicle, follow the “Rearward Cross” pattern. Reposition the tires from the back straight to the front whereas the front tires will go back on the opposite sides forming a rearward cross pattern.

All-wheel and 4-wheel Drive:

All-wheel and 4-wheel Drive (AWD or 4WD):It is recommended to use the “Double X” pattern for these vehicles. According to this strategy, you simply take off the rear tires and re-position them in the front opposite sides. Then switch the sides and position for the front tires bringing them to the rear. The pattern resembles the alphabet letter X. These patterns work for non-directional tires that have the same size and offset, and the wheels are not staggered either. Now let’s look at directional tires or staggered wheels. The patterns we discuss below are meant for high-performance tires and wheels.

Directional Tires:

If your vehicle has directional tires, then switch the tires on the same side from front to back and vice-versa.

Staggered wheels/ Non-directional tires:

If your vehicle has staggered wheels and non-directional tires, it means you will have to switch the sides only as in Side-to-Side pattern. Take the front tires off and swap the left to the right and vice-versa. Similarly, take the rear tires off and switch the sides at the rear. With differently-sized tires, it becomes important to dismount the tire from the wheel, remount and balance on the opposite wheels.

Non directional tire rotation[/caption] We hope this was helpful and that you can rotate your tires every 5,000-7,000 miles or as recommended by your car manufacturer. If you are not confident of doing it correctly, it’s better to bring your car to our garage and store at NMT Oakville, and we can help you with tire rotation, as well an inflation and pressure check, to ensure you are back on the road safely.