Preventive maintenance, such as checking your vehicle's oil, battery status, and brake system condition, is one of the key factors in keeping your car at its top notch condition. However, out of all the things that you can do to maintain your car, there’s one important routine that everyone should consider but only a few are aware of – tire rotation.
Tire rotation is the process of periodically moving the position of the wheels to even out tire wear. In this article, we’ll be discussing its importance, how often do you need to do it, and the types of tire rotation you can use depending on your car.
Why rotate your tires?
Tires are one of the most important and busiest part of a car. They are subject to wear since they have direct contact to the ground. However, due to various surfaces, natural (and unnatural) road angles, and uneven distribution of weight inside the car while running, the wear won’t be the same for all four tires. As a result, the handling and balance of the car can be affected.
Fortunately, tire rotation can solve that problem. By switching the position of the wheels, the damage that the tires will experience will be distributed between them throughout their life cycle. This will even out the wear which balances the car.
Types of rotation
There are five types of tire rotation, depending on the type of tires you have and where your engine drive its power. Front-wheel drive vehicles tend to wear the front tires more than the rear ones. On the other hand, cars that are driven via the rear-wheels will have the opposite results.
For non-directional tires (tires that can be fit to either left or right side of the car) you can follow the tire rotation patterns for front-, rear-, and four-wheel drive vehicles.
Front-wheel drive vehicles can follow the Forward Cross pattern. The rear right tire will replace the front left tire; and the rear left tire will take the front right side; while both front tires will be placed at the rear. You can also use the X-Pattern where all tires will exchange position and direction (rear to front, left to right).
On the other hand, rear- and four-wheel drive cars can use the Rearward Cross pattern wherein the front right tire will go to the rear left side; the front left tire will go to the rear right side; both rear tires will then replace the front tires directly (left is to left, right is to right). You can also use the X-pattern, as mentioned above.
Additionally, through the wave of tire technology and trend, there are more patterns that you can use if it applies. Some tires nowadays are directional – the type that are made for a specific direction (e.g. tires that are made to be on the right side). Because of this, it’s impossible for you to do cross patterns when rotating your tires.
For same size directional tires, you can do the Front-to-Rear pattern. Just exchange the front tires with the rear tires, while keeping them on the same side. This will at least balance the front and rear wear on the tires.
Moreover, some cars are fitted with wheels/tires that are not of the same size. This is often seen on performance vehicles where the rear wheels are bigger than the front ones. In this case, if the tires are non-directional, you can do Side-to-Side rotation.
Now, the question is, how often do you need to rotate your tires? It’s recommended that you rotate it every 8,000 km. This is the optimal time wherein the rubber hasn't been worn out that extensively. Moreover, you have to follow this cycle since departing from it won’t solve the wear imbalance on your tires.
Furthermore, just like changing your oil and preventive maintenance service from your dealership, tire rotation should depend on the usage of your car.
If you’re willing to give up cash and your car’s performance on premature tire replacements, then you can consider tire rotation as optional. However, it’s your responsibility to keep your car at its best so that overall safety wouldn’t be compromised.