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How Important Is Tyre Rotation
06 May 2016


Rotating your tyres frequently can mean a prolonged tyre life, and less time and money spent replacing expensive sets of tyres. And if it’s done properly, it can also improve your fuel efficiency, enhance handling, and increase safety. But how important is tyre rotation? And how easy is it to do on a regular basis? Read our guide on tyre rotation below to find out more about the importance of tyre rotation and how to ensure it’s done the right way, especially if you drive a four wheel drive vehicle.

What is tyre rotation?

If you’ve not heard of tyre rotation before, it’s the process of moving your tyres from one position on your vehicle to another, helping you avoid uneven tyre wear, and to prolong the life of your tyres.

Is it necessary to rotate my tyres?

A lot of road users may not rotate their tyres, but the likelihood is that their tyres will need replacing much quicker than those that do rotate their tyres on a regular basis. Rotating your tyres is not a legal requirement, but ensuring your tyres do not wear down to a dangerous level is. That’s where tyre rotation can help you to save money, especially on 4x4 tyres that can be more expensive to replace than standard hatchback tyres.

How often should I rotate my tyres?

Your vehicle’s manual should provide you with a recommendation of how often to rotate your tyres. Generally speaking, tyre rotation should take place every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, depending on how much mileage you cover on a regular basis, any heavy loads that you carry, and if you frequently drive on the motorway at higher speeds. These factors could mean extra strain on your tyres, so you may need to consider tyre rotation more frequently than your manual recommends.

Do the front or rear tyres wear faster?

There tends to be a lot of confusion around which tyres wear faster - the front set of tyres or the rear. With a front wheel drive vehicle, the main weight and strain is placed on the front pair of wheels. This is because the main steering and braking forces are felt through the front set of tyres, and in the majority of cases the weight of the engine is carried through the front set of tyres as well. Due to this, most people find that their front tyres wear down quicker than their rear tyres and therefore require replacement before their rear tyres. If your tyres are regularly rotated you may find that you will see a more even wear across all four tyres – helping you to replace all four tyres at the same time.

Tyre rotation patterns – how does it work?

Rotating tyres on a front wheel drive vehicle: Move the front tyres to the rear on the same side, and move the rear tyres to the front and switch sides. Rotating tyres on a rear wheel drive vehicle: Move the front tyres to the rear and switch sides, and move the rear tyres to the front on the same side. Rotating directional tyres: Move the front tyres to the rear on the same side, and move the rear tyres to the front on the same side. (Directional tyres do not need to switch sides for even wear as their tread pattern is designed to specifically work in one direction of rotation.)

How do you rotate tyres on a 4x4?

In the case of 4x4 vehicles, tyre rotation works slightly differently. As four wheel drive vehicles are designed to see a more even distribution of weight throughout the vehicle and through all four tyres due to the central differential, your 4x4 vehicle will always handle better and grip the road better with four tyres that are of equal tread depth. So how should you rotate tyres on 4x4 vehicles?

The recommended tyre rotation pattern for four wheel drive vehicles: Move the two front tyres to the back and switch sides, while the rear tyres move to the front of the vehicle and switch sides. This is to ensure that the tyres see even wear on the inner and outer parts of the tyre.

Tyre rotation on your vehicle, whether four wheel drive or otherwise, should also be checked with the manufacturer where possible. This is because some manufacturers will recommend that the tyres with the least wear should be placed on the rear of the vehicle, as wearing rear tyres could mean an increased risk of the rear end of the vehicle slipping in wet conditions.

Some mechanics will recommend that SUVs or vehicles that are part time four wheel drive will need the most regular tyre rotations, as this will help the modern electronic systems to work as intended.

Why is 4x4 tyre rotation important?

When carrying out tyre rotation on any four wheel drive vehicle, it’s important to match tread depth across all four tyres in order to avoid transmission wind up. This is where more stress than necessary is placed on certain tyres when turning, as all four wheels will travel different distances when turning. Transmission wind up tends to occur with four wheel drive vehicles when on unforgiving road surfaces, and you may notice this occurring when your tyres start to skip over the road’s surface, or if the steering becomes heavy. This is the point at which major damage can occur. This may be to transmission components, axles and differentials – all of which can be incredibly expensive to replace.

Need some more advice on 4WD tyre rotation? Or looking for some brand new 4x4 tyres? We can help you find a Tyre Centre that’s close to you and run by experienced 4x4 specialists. Contact 4SITE today for more information.


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