One of the most important things to remember when maintaining your vehicle is to periodically switch the tires around. This is known as a tire rotation and is easily done at home with a few tools, but is recommended to have a professional tire shop perform the update for safety reasons.
What does a Tire Rotation Do?
A tire rotation allows you to preserve balanced handling and traction and even out tire wear. The principle is simple; your tires will likely wear out at different rates, due to similar road conditions and usage. To prevent this, you should swap your tires around (essentially rotating them) to evenly distribute the wear and tear that they experience. This allows you to maintain your tires better, and it means it won’t cause imbalance handling and traction.
What is The Recommended Tire Rotation Pattern?
The 4-tire rotation is the standard rotation pattern for tires. This usually involves a rearward cross, x-pattern, or a forward cross.
The rearward cross involves swapping the two back wheels into the front. The front left tire then goes to the back right, and the front right tire goes to the back left.
The x-pattern rotation swaps tires that are diagonal to each other. This means the front left and back right tires are swapped, and the front right and back left tires are swapped.
The forward cross is the inverse of the rearward cross. This is almost exclusively used for front-wheel drive vehicles, whereas the other two are suitable for rear and four-wheel drive vehicles.
Please keep in mind if you have directional tires you cannot cross rotate your tires.
What about 5-Way Tire Rotation?
A 5-way tire rotation involves the addition of a spare tire that is not marked for temporary use. Some spare tires on vehicles are only meant to be used temporarily, meaning they are not suitable for long-term use as part of the 5 tire rotation pattern. However, if a proper spare tire is available, then it alters the standard 4 tire rotation pattern a little.
For front-wheel drive vehicles with a matching spare tire, it’s possible to do a forward cross. This involves swapping the back two tires for the front two tires much like a regular 4 tire rotation. However, the front left tire will be swapped with the back left tire and the front right tire will be kept as the spare. The spare will go into the back right slot.
The rearward close is a 5 wheel rotation pattern for both rear and four-wheel drive vehicles. First, the back left and back right tires replace the front left and front right tires respectively. The front left tire is kept as a spare, and the front right tire replaces the back left. The spare then takes the place of the back right tire.
5 Tire Rotation is Better than 4 Tire Rotation
A 5-way tire rotation will greatly reduce the possibility of uneven wear on tires. This ensures that they’ll maintain equivalent tread depths on all five tires and can prevent driveline damage. While not essential, it’s much more consistent than just rotation 4 tires and is recommended if the option is available to you. Along with tread life, road force balance is also important for vehicle maintenance and handling.