Rotate Your Tires

This is the practice of swapping the front and back tires to even out the wear, not the practice of literally spinning your tires around (you’d be surprised how often people seem to get confused by this). I used to believe that this wasn’t a good idea. Think about it: the tires begin to wear in a pattern, however good or bad, that matches their position on the car. If you now change them all around, you end up with tires worn for the rear being placed on the front and vice versa. However, having had this done a few times both on front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles during manufacturer services, I’ a bit of a convert. I now reckon it actually is A Good Thing. It results in even overall tire wear. By this, I mean wear in the tread depth. This is a valid point, but if you can’t be bothered to buy a new pair of tires when the old pair wear too much, then you shouldn’t be on the road, let alone kidding yourself that putting worn front tires on the back and partly worn back tires on the front will cure your problem.
So how should you rotate your tires? It depends on whether you have 2-, 4-, front- or rear-wheel drive, and whether or not you have unidirectional tires (meaning, those with tread designed only to spin in one direction). With unidirectional tires, you can swap the front and rear per-side, but not swap them side-to-side. If you do, they’ll all end up spinning the wrong way for the tread. Generally speaking you ought to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles (8,000km) or so, even if they’re showing no signs of wear. The following table shows the correct way to rotate your tires. (Click any image to bring up larger versions with descriptions)






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