Tyre rotation: Why and how to rotate your tyres?

In simple terms, tyre rotation is the process of swapping the positions of a car's tyres. The idea is to get the most out of a set of car tyres. Regular rotation will extend the life of your tyres and improve their performance. It is important to note that not all motorists can rotate their car tyres as they wish. Read on to find out more.

What is tyre rotation?

As mentioned, tyre rotation maintenance requires swapping the position of the tyres around on a car, from front to back or side to side.

The basic reason a tyre rotation works is that tyres of all types tend to wear down at different rates. Tyres on the drive axle wear the fastest due to the transmission, power and torque. This applies to both front and rear wheel drive vehicles. The front tyres suffer the most as most cars have front wheel drive. On rear-wheel drive vehicles, it will be the other way around.

Under such circumstances, it may very well be beneficial to move the two rear wheels up to the front. It maximises their potential so that all tyres wear evenly and last longer.

When should you rotate your tyres?

Tyres should be serviced periodically following the rotation patterns provided in the vehicle's owner's manual.

You should rotate your tyres approximately every 8,000 km to 10,000 km. For some of you, this is the same time as your car's service. The right time may also be when changing from winter to summer tyres. Or simply when you buy new tyres.

When replacing just two tyres, Michelin recommends that the new or least worn tyres are fitted to the rear axle to improve vehicle control and safety. This advice applies to front and rear wheel drive vehicles fitted with the same tyre sizes front and rear.

Tyre-inflation pressures must be readjusted according to the vehicle manufacturer’s or tyre manufacturer’s recommendations.

Why would you need tyre rotation?

Using tyre rotation as preventative maintenance will help ensure your tyres wear evenly.

Different factors cause your tyres to wear:

  • The location of the engine in your car: if it’s positioned in the front, it is likely the front tyres will carry more weight than the rear ones. So, your front tyres will get worn out faster.
  • If you drive a lot on gravel roads or rocky terrain, your tyres will have an accelerated wear compared to regular urban or highway drives.
  • On most cars, braking is mostly applied to the front tyres, which causes extra wear compared to the ones in the back.
  • Bad wheel alignment is another reason for accelerated wear.
     

Another reason can be…the right-hand drive! In right hand drive countries, right turns are for the most part tighter than left turns, and just like an athlete on a track, the left tyre, on the outside, covers more distance, which causes more wear than the right!

How to rotate your tyres?

Firstly, the tyre profile will define the vehicle's wheel rotation rules.

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Asymmetric, Symmetrical and Directional tread patterns

Directional and asymmetric profile tyres can only be used in one direction of travel. This means that they can only be fitted in one position. This is indicated on the outer sidewall of the tyre by an arrow and one sidewall of this type of tyre is marked "Outside”.

tire rotation

For these tyres, the wheel rotation must be strictly lateral. The left front tyre should be positioned on the same side but at the rear. The same applies to the right side.

On the other hand, symmetrical tyres are not affected by the wheel arrangement during a rotation. Symmetrical tyres have the same pattern on the left and right-hand sides. They have no mounting direction. They won't have any problem spinning in either direction. In conclusion, they can be mounted on the left or right, front or rear.

This said, tyre rotation will have to take into account the type of drive system of the vehicle.

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Preferred tyre rotation patterns

Passenger & 4-Wheel and All Wheel Drive Light Truck

Visual A: Rear & 4-Wheel and All Wheel drive vehicles

Visual B: Front Wheel drive vehicles

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Alternative tyre rotation patterns for all vehicles

Passenger & 4-Wheel and All Wheel Drive Light Truck

Visual A: Rear & 4-Wheel and All wheel drive vehicles

Visual B: Front Wheel Drive vehicles

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Two-tyre rotation pattern

Passenger & 4-Wheel and All Wheel Drive Light Truck

(Use only with the purchase of two tyres or

different tyre sizes between front and rear axles)

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Alternate rotation for directional tyre when dismounting tyre from wheel is not practical

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Dual wheel rotation patterns

Studded tyre rotation

The rolling direction of studded tyres should never be changed.

This can be achieved by rotating tyres from front to rear on the same side of the vehicle.

Tyre rotation: ask for professional advice

Always seek professional advice! You can have your tyres professionally rotated for you. What's more, a tyre technician will be able to inspect them for you to identify any potential damage.

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