4 SIGNS YOUR TYRES NEED ROTATING
If your vehicle has recently picked up a slight vibration and some road noise, it could be an indication that your tyres need rotating. Other symptoms of an overdue tyre-service include:
- Higher costs per kilometre
- Uneven tread wear
- Increased road noise, and
- Steering wheel vibrations
So, why do tyres wear unevenly?
First off, your front tyres generally carry more load than the rear, and because they also take sharper turns, the wear rate is different. However, your tyres also wear differently from left to right, and that’s because we typically take corners faster to the right when driving on the left-hand side of the road. And lastly, the road’s natural camber also causes uneven tyre wear.
Rotating your tyres helps to equalise these wear rates, which means longer tyre life, quieter road noise and a smoother ride. This is true for all tyres, but failure to follow a rotation schedule is particularly noticeable on all-terrain and mud-terrain tyres.
But how often should you rotate your tyres? And, which is just as important, in what sequence should you rotate them?
Relying on your local tyre dealer to know this information is not always a good idea, as the rotation pattern is different for Front-Wheel Drive (FWD), Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) and All-Wheel Drive (AWD) vehicles. Throw in the problem of incorporating a fifth tyre (the spare), and the subject becomes even more confusing.
As a general rule, you should first check the owner’s manual for the vehicle to find the manufacturer’s recommended tyre-rotation sequence; but if you can’t find any info, know that there are several ways to rotate tyres. Here’s what you need to know for your vehicle type…
FORWARD CROSS (FWD vehicles)
The front tyres move straight back to the rear, and the rear tyres move to the opposite front position.
See Diagram A below.
REARWARD CROSS (RWD vehicles and part-time 4x4s)
The rear tyres move straight up to the front, and the front tyres move to the opposite rear position.
See Diagram C below.
X-PATTERN (FWD vehicles)
This is an alternative sequence to the forward-cross pattern. Here, the front tyres move to the opposite rear positions, and the rear tyres move to the opposite front positions.
FRONT TO BACK (Directional Tyres)
Due to their specific tread pattern, directional tyres are designed to move only in a single direction, which means that the tyres have to move from the front to the back, while remaining on the same side of the vehicle. In other words, the front right tyre moves to the back right, and the front left tyre moves to the back left.
An example of a Directional tread pattern.
5 TYRE PATTERN (AWD Vehicles and Full-Time 4x4s)
If your vehicle is equipped with a full-size spare, you may want to incorporate the fifth tyre into your rotation sequence to ensure even wear. This can be particularly important for AWD vehicles and full-time 4x4s, where a difference in tyre diameter could put unnecessary strain on the vehicle’s drivetrain.
In this case, move the left-rear tyre to the left-front position, and the right rear tyre to the right front position. The right front tyre goes to the left rear position, the spare tyre moves to the right rear position, and the left front tyre then becomes the spare.
See Diagram D below.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU ROTATE YOUR TYRES?
Just as your vehicle has an annual maintenance plan, your tyres need regular maintenance to ensure optimum performance, tread-life, and comfort. Your vehicle’s service book should provide guidelines on how often your tyres need balancing, rotation and alignment. However, if you’re a Cooper Tire owner, and enjoy the benefits of our free mileage guarantee and protection plan, you should be rotating your tyres every 8 000 km.