Rotating tyres is often considered a key part of their maintenance, helping ensure you get the most life and wear from them, while also providing important performance, handling and safety benefits.
And that’s not all … when it comes to tyre rotation, the pluses keep on adding up! It’s a fact that rotating tyres not only helps them wear more evenly — but can also make a big difference in areas such as minimising vibration, maintaining optimal traction and providing the driver (and passengers!) with a quieter, smoother ride.
Understanding when, how and why to rotate tyres (and in the right way for your tyres and vehicle) is the important first step in the process of getting rotating underway – so let’s take a look at exactly what’s involved!
Where tyres on a vehicle are wearing at different rates, rotation can help
Even when fitted on a vehicle at the same time, tyres can wear at different rates depending on a number of factors such as driving style, whether they are situated on the front or back of the vehicle and also the application and surface they are being used for. Rotating tyres (i.e. moving the tyres to a different position on the vehicle) is one way of adjusting this so that tyres on a vehicle wear more uniformly and their longevity is enhanced.
There are a few different methods of rotation (called rotation patterns), with each pattern usually aligned to the type of vehicle as well as the type of tyre (more on this later!). It is important to note that there is no “one-size-fits-all” way of rotating (especially with all the specialised tyres now on our roads) and identifying the exact type of tyres on a vehicle is absolutely essential before going ahead with a rotation.
When to do a tyre rotation
As a general guide, it is recommended that tyres are rotated at least every 5,000- 10,000km (depending on the vehicle) — but rotation should also always be considered earlier where the tread begins to show signs of wear or where the vehicle has hit a pothole or other obstacle that has affected the vehicle’s wheel alignment, which can in turn dramatically accelerate tyre wear.
The way tyres are rotated depends on the vehicle (such as a four-wheel, 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! If your vehicle has a full-size spare tyre, this can also be included in the rotation.
Main tyre rotation patterns
The Rearward Cross rotation is suitable for many 4-wheel drive and rear-wheel drives. In this rotation the rear tyres are moved to the front – but kept to the same side of the vehicle, while the front tyres are moved to the opposite sides of the rear.
The X-Pattern rotation is often used for front-wheel drives. The tyres are rotated diagonally.
The Forward Cross rotation is the most frequently used rotation pattern for front-wheel drives. In this rotation, 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 rotation is used for vehicles with the same size directional wheels and/or directional tyres. In this rotation pattern 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 rotations – is where the front tyres and back tyres respectively are changed with each other in a sideways rotation on the same axle. This is used for vehicles with different sized non-directional tyres and wheels on the front and back axles.
Help from a tyre professional
With many specialised types of modern tyres on our roads – not all tyres are manufactured to suit all positions on a vehicle and there is no “one-size-fits-all rotation”. If you’re unsure about what’s right for your tyres and vehicle, it’s always advisable to check the vehicle owner’s manual or get advice from a Maxxis tyre shop expert near you.
After doing a rotation, it is also important to check the air pressures — remembering that sometimes front and back tyres need different pressures so these may need to be adjusted accordingly.