Rotating your tires: why it makes them last longer

November 25, 2014

Rotating your tires: why it makes them last longer

How tire rotation works

Tire rotation basically means interchanging or switching the position of tires on your car to ensure a more even wear.

For front-wheel drive vehicles
It’s recommended to move the front wheels of the car to the rear, while changing sides.

  • The right rear wheel becomes the front left wheel. The front wheels should be installed at the rear and stay on their respective sides. This technique is called the “forward cross” pattern.

For rear-wheel drive vehicles
The rear wheels are moved directly to the front, while the front tires are moved to the back and change sides.

  • The rear wheels moved to the front must stay on their respective side of the vehicle. This is called the “rearward cross” pattern.

For four-wheel (or all-wheel) drive vehicles
Each tire should take the place of the one located diagonally away.

  • Some vehicles which have a fifth wheel at the rear can be integrated into the order of rotation.

The best reasons to rotate

  1. Rotation is a logical part of tire maintenance, since it allows for a more even wear on the treads. The fact is wheels bear weight differently depending on their position, so changing the tires regularly is the easiest way to increase their lifespan.
  2. Rotating the tires also reduces the overall wear of each tire, which improves vehicle traction and makes it more efficient. This will increase performance and also reduce your bill at the pump.
  3. Ultimately, regular tire rotation is an opportunity to inspect each tire by looking for irregularities on the sidewall and checking for punctures. During inspection, you can check the air pressure as well.

During inspection
Pay particular attention to the depth of the grooves between the treads. If you notice that your tires have an uneven wear, it's a sign that you may not have rotated them often enough.

When to rotate

Normally, tires should be rotated every 4800-8000 kilometres, even if they don’t seem to be particularly worn. However, some owner’s manuals recommend their own rotation cycle.

  • It’s better to rotate tires more frequently, than to wear one out and have to replace it prematurely.
  • With the right equipment you can even rotate your own tires. However, many car owners prefer to leave rotations up to a mechanic, usually at the same they get their oil changed or have their tires changed for the winter/summer – depending on if winter tires are required by law in your province.
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