Buying good tyres is immensely important but this is only a part of the task. It is also necessary to take care of tyres to increase their life time and performance. Tyres ensure safety of the drivers and passengers by providing stability of the vehicle. Choose high-quality tyres that correspond to specific weather conditions of your region, and do not forget to change them in compliance with the manual instructions of the manufacturer.
Do I have to have my tyres rotated?
Taking care of tyres means not only normal driving style but also a regular tyre rotation. Many drivers are convinced that tyre rotation is not the most important routine. They check oil level, engine and other important things, leaving tyres totally neglected. It is even possible to define those vehicle, where tyre rotation is not performed. Front wheels in such vehicles usually are black from accumulated brake dust. The reason is simple – from brakes are larger that rear. As the result, 80 percent of braking are done by front brakes.
There are many aspects that can impact to uneven wear of tyres - engine location, drive train, and even the condition of the road. Most vehicles that you see on the road today have front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive systems. That means that they operate in front-drive all the time. Front tyres of vehicles with front engines usually get under more load, which also leads to increase wear. Why? These vehicles carry more load than front tyres because of transmission and engine that are placed in front. When the driver apply the brakes, more weight shifts forward considerably contributing to the load. Powering, braking and steering functionality the wheel also influences on uneven wear of front tires. It causes additional stress on front tyres widening wear difference.
Driving style and location can influence tyre wear. For instance, in Great Britain people drive on the left side of the road. If you think it does not cause any difference, you will be surprised that it does. Making more left-hand turns results in great wear of the left tyre.
It is good when tyres wear evenly because all tyres respond equally. In such a way, the vehicle can be handled and the ryre cornering traction is increased. When all tyres wear together, you can change all of them together and there is no need to change pairs. Changing all four tyres allows maintain original handling balance.
As you can see, there are so many reasons why tyre rotation should be on the list of a regular maintenance.
Regular tyre rotation
How often to have your tyre rotated is specified by the vehicle manufacturer. Its manual also contains information on rotation pattern. Most drivers have their tyres rotated every 6000 – 8000 miles but it is better to know the recommendations of manufacturer. Mechanics recommend to have tyres rotate when having the oil changed. Oil change has similar mileage interval, which allows combining both routines.
Tyre rotation patterns
Tyre rotation means moving tyre from one position to another to ensure even wear. The Tyre and Rim Association has defined three main patters of tyre rotation that are suitable for most vehicles.
- It is necessary to rotate tyres in a forward cross pattern or the alternative X pattern on front – wheel drive vehicles.
- Tyres are rotated in a rearward cross pattern or the same X pattern on rear-wheel drive vehicles. This pattern is also suitable for vehicles with four-wheel drive.
However, performance of modern tyres and wheels has changed and two more patterns of tyre rotations have occurred.
- The first pattern is called “Front-to-Rear”. This pattern is good for vehicles with the same size directional wheels.
- The second pattern is “Side-to-Side” and can be used for vehicles with different sized non-directional tyres and wheels on the front axle.
Sometimes it happens that none of suggested tyre rotation patterns helps eliminate uneven wear. In such case it is necessary to dismount and re-balance all tyres. Dismounting, mounting and re-balancing is needed for vehicles with different size directional tyres and wheels as well as wheel with various front and rear offsets.
Some mechanics state that there is five-tyre rotation pattern. Many vehicles have a temporary spare, which is not included into tyre rotation system. However, if a spare tyre matches four wheels and tyres on the ground, it definitely has to be included into the pattern. It is better to follow recommendations of the manufacturer regarding tyre rotation. When recommendations are not available, follow these instructions:
- Rotate tyre in a forward cross pattern on vehicles with front-wheel drive with full size matching spare.
- Rotate in a rearward cross pattern on vehicles with rear-wheel and four-wheel drive with full size matching.
Winter tyres rotation
Do not forget about winter tyres. Even though they are produced from stronger rubber, they also need maintenance. Studded winter tyres are a real help for drivers living in countries with harsh winters and a lot of snow because they considerably contribute to safety of the driver and passengers. Choosing the right rotation pattern will help extend lifetime of winter tyres. In order to achieve better performance of studded tyres during winter time, studded tyres should be rotated on regular basis to ensure equal share of workload. Rotation of studded tyres will ensure equal wear of all four tyres in spite of additional stress and severe weather conditions.
Tyre rotation should be included on the list of regular maintenance procedures. Neglected tyres will seriously increase chances of wheel damage and decreasing control over the vehicle. Thus, tyre rotation should be performed by a specialist, who knows his job well. That is why it is required to find a good mechanic, who can choose the right tyre rotation pattern. If you have your tyres rotated by one mechanic, he knows your vehicle well. It can considerably ease selection of rotation pattern. Choose a certified mechanic with considerable experience.