Tires don’t wear evenly, front tires carry more than 60% of your vehicle’s total weight and show more wear over time from left turns. Since we tend to make left turns faster than right ones, the disparity in tire-to-road contact results in more stress on the right front tire. See how easy it is to have unequal tire tread?
The good news is that proper tire rotation equalizes regular tread patterns, making for longer and healthier tire life. It can be a DIY or job left to the pros, so long as these best practices are kept in mind.
First things first: Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended tire rotation interval. Do your research and find what works best for you, but don’t get distracted! There are several different schools of thought for the best time to rotate tires and each has its advantages but following the owner’s manual should always be your primary choice.
Next up, figure out your vehicle’s drive type: Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, four wheel drive, or all wheel drive. After that, determine tire brand, wheel size, and if you have directional tires (if there’s an arrow on the sidewalls of a given tire, it’s directional).
Front Wheel Drive
Appropriate for front wheel drive passenger cars, such as minivans and crossovers, the forward cross pattern and X pattern rotations are recommended.
To complete the forward cross, move the front wheels to the rear and the rear wheels to the front and then switch them so that the right rear is on the left front and vice versa.
The X pattern for front wheel drive is the same as other types of wheel drive, switch the right front for the left rear and the left front to the right rear.
Rear, All Wheel, and Four Wheel Drive
Proper rotation patterns for the above mentioned types of wheel drives consist of the rearward cross and the X pattern—both effective and simple to perform. For the rearward cross, the front wheels move to the rear but the left front switches to the right rear instead of going straight back.
The X pattern is straightforward, rear wheels move to the front and sit on opposing sides.
Both of these rotations are for non-directional tires only.
Calling most trucks and SUVs! If your vehicle has directional tires of the same size, make use of the rear tire rotation pattern. To accomplish, move the rear wheels to the front and the front wheels to the rear on the same side, do not cross either end.
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