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Your Guide to Tyre Rotation

Tyres - 16 March 2020

What is Tyre Rotation?

The term “tyre rotation” can be misleading and somewhat confusing for new drivers, because we all know that as we drive the tyres themselves rotate! But when we refer to tyre rotation in the practice of tyre maintenance, this means the repositioning and switching of your car’s existing tyres in various patterns, such as between front and back, or side to side.

Why do tyres wear unevenly?

This is what the RMI says: “On front-wheel-driven cars the front wheels usually carry considerably more mass than the rear wheels. They also have to transmit power as well as swivel, to make cornering possible. Consequently they wear at significantly faster rates than the rear tyres. On rear-wheel-driven cars the rear tyres tend to wear faster than the fronts because they transmit the engine’s power to the road.”

When it comes to car maintenance, the main causes of uneven tyre wear are improper wheel alignment, overinflation or underinflation, and a worn out suspension.

Inspecting your tyres’ tread patterns can tell you which of these are the cause of  the wear. For example, excessive outer wear may indicate improper wheel alignment or underinflation, and excessive centre wear is likely due to overinflation.

There are more types of uneven wear that can occur, such as flat spots and diagonal wear, along with the different reasons they occur such as harsh braking or imbalanced wheels, which we will cover in an upcoming blog post.

Read more about Tyre Wear Caused by Misaligned Wheels

Why should I rotate my tyres?

Periodically changing the positioning of all the tyres on your vehicle is an important exercise in regular tyre maintenance. It’s a good opportunity to check the tread depth and inspect them for other signs of damage.

  1. Longevity – Rotation spreads the tyres’ wear evenly, maximising the life of your tyres.
  2. Safety –  Even tread wear helps keep the tread wear uniform, important for better traction and handling. Worn tyres in any shape or form are an absolute safety hazard, and should never be left unattended to.

Remember that tyres are one of the most important components for safe driving – rotating your tyres therefore goes beyond the need to prolong their lifespan.

Tyre Rotation Patterns

Front-Wheel Drive

1. Forward Cross is the most common pattern if you own a front-wheel drive vehicle. The front tyres are moved to the back while the rear tyres are moved diagonally to the opposite side of the front axle.

Forward cross tyre rotation

2. X-Pattern – for font wheel vehicles including light trucks and sedans, all tyres are switched diagonally.

X-pattern tyre rotation

4x Wheel Drive

3. Rearward-Cross – Rear tyres are moved to the front axle and kept on the same side of the vehicle while the front tyres are moved to opposite sides of the rear axle.

Rearward cross tyre rotation

In Summary

While its recommended that tyres should be rotated approximately every 10,000 km, every vehicle is different, just as every driver is different. To understand your car’s particular needs, consult the manufacturer’s manual or your nearest Supa Quick for advice, where you can also get a free vehicle safety check.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. It must not be construed as advice, legal, financial, or otherwise. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Supa Quick.

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