The front tires on most vehicles tend to wear out faster than the rear tires. This is due to the effects of steering the vehicle and the weight transfer that occurs during braking. To ensure that all four tires wear evenly, it is important to rotate them on a regular basis. Tire rotation helps maintain balanced handling because it allows all four tires to wear at the same rate.
Keep in mind, as tire wear reduces tread depth, it increases the tires’ response to driver inputs. Consequently, by equalizing tire wear at all four corners, dry road performance is actually enhanced. Another advantage of regular rotation is that it allows the tires to be replaced in complete sets rather than in pairs. This maintains handling continuity. It also enables drivers to take advantage of the latest in tire technology, instead of trying to match a pair of older tires.
Most manufacturers list rotation intervals in the scheduled maintenance section of the vehicle service manual and/or the owner’s manual. Tire rotation patterns can also be found in these books. If this information is unavailable for a particular vehicle, rotate the tires every 5-7,000 miles following the appropriate rotation sequence shown in the illustrations. After completing a tire rotation, be sure to reset inflation pressures to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications indicated on the vehicle tire placard.
To ensure that the proper amount of clamping force is applied to each fastener, follow these guidelines:
- Make sure the area around the lug holes, as well as the
wheel and hub mating surfaces are clean and dry. A wire brush can be used to
remove corrosion and other debris. Wipe the areas clean using a shop rag.
- Inspect the bolt holes for damage. Do not use a wheel if
the bolt holes are deformed.
- Inspect the wheel studs and lug nuts or lug bolts and
bolt holes (depending on the vehicle) for damage. Replace or repair any
damaged or worn components.
- Always follow a star pattern when tightening lugs.
POPULAR TIRE ROTATION PATTERNS
(ONLY WHERE TIRES ARE THE SAME TYPE & SIZE)
Never rotate directional tires from side-to-side since this will reverse their direction of rotation. Directional tires can only be rotated from front to rear or vice versa. Directional tires are typically used on high-performance cars and can be identified by the arrows imprinted on the sidewall.
VEHICLES WITH DUAL REAR WHEELS
Some tires cannot be rotated in the manners described. Such tires include uni-directional tires and tires with asymmetric tread designs. Also, some vehicles may have different-sized tires mounted on the front and rear axles, and these different-sized tires also have rotation restrictions. Check your owner’s manual or with a tire manufacturer or a tire dealer for proper recommendations for these specific cases.