Every part of your car requires some form of maintenance, and your tyres are no different. That’s why you’ll often hear the term tyre rotation from friends, family, or even your mechanic. But what is tyre rotation all about, and what’s the best way to do it?
The best tyre rotation pattern for your car depends on 3 things: size of tyres, directional or not, with or without spare. When your tyres are all the same size and none are directional, you have plenty of options to switch around tyre positions. If they’re directional, you can only switch tyres of the same size and direction.
This might sound confusing at first, but don’t worry. It’s pretty straightforward, and we’re going to show you how to choose the best tyre rotation pattern for your car.
What Is Tyre Rotation, and Why Does It Matter?
Tyre rotation means that you take your car tyres off and reattach them in a different position than before. This is done as part of your car’s overall maintenance to ensure that your tyres wear out evenly.
Here are the benefits of regularly rotating your tyres:
- Maximise Tyre Lifespan - Instead of letting one side of your tyres get worn out all the way through, rotating will allow you to spread the wear evenly. As a result, you’ll get the most out of those tyres.
- Reduce Noise and Vibration - When tyres ride on their worn-out side, they’ll start to produce excessive noise and vibrations. Rotating them maintains your comfortable ride.
- Ensure Overall Safety - Rotating your tyres onto their good side provides maximum traction, keeping your car safer on the road.
- Save You Money - Rotating your tyres and maximising their lifespan means you won’t have to prematurely spend money on new tyres.
Getting the most out of your existing tyres is excellent, but don’t push it too far. For example, don’t just continue to rotate them again once you start to see signs that your car tyres are getting worn out. Instead, you should get new tyres immediately!
What Are the Different Tyre Rotation Patterns?
Before we tell you about the different tyre rotation patterns or look at a tyre rotation chart, there are some terms you need to be aware of.
Key Terms in Tyre Rotation
There are three things you’ll want to understand: directional tyres, tyre sizes, and spare tyres. These three factors not only determine which tyre rotation patterns are best for your vehicle but also which ones can or can’t be used at all.
Here’s what they’re all about:
Directional Tyres: Some tyres are directional, which means that they can only turn one way. As such, you can only attach them to your car in specific positions, which then affects which tyre rotation patterns you can and can't use.
But, of course, this is only a concern if you drive a vehicle using directional tyres.
Tyre Sizes: The size of the tyre also affects what rotation patterns you can use. Why? Well, it’s simple: a tyre can only trade places with one that’s of a similar size. So naturally, this only affects vehicles with different-sized tyres.
Spare Tyres: Lastly, a tyre rotation with a spare tyre requires a slight adjustment to the pattern. Yes, if you maintain a spare tyre in your vehicle, you should include it in the rotation pattern.
Now, let’s take a look at the different patterns you can use:
If Your Tyres Are the Same Size and None Are Directional
- The Forward Cross Pattern: Take the tyres on the front axle and move them to the rear. As for the rear tyres, move them forward but switch the side they’re on (from left to right and right to left).
- The Rearward Cross Pattern: The opposite of the Forward Cross takes the rear axle tyres and moves them to the front. As for the front tyres, move them backwards and switch the side they’re on (from left to right and right to left).
- The X Pattern: Switch the back tyres to the front and vice versa. At the same time, take tyres from the left-hand side and position them to the right-hand side.
Add: A Full-Sized Spare Tyre
For cars with a full-sized spare tyre, you can choose from the Forward or Backward Cross Patterns. In addition, since off-roaders often carry spare tyres, you can also consider these 4wd tyre rotation patterns.
When rotating positions, one of your front tyres will become the new spare tyre. As for the spare tyre, it will be put into rotation on one of the car’s wheel positions.
- Forward Cross with a Spare: Tyres on the rear axle move forward and switch sides, while the spare tyre occupies the rear right position. The previously right-front tyre becomes the new spare while the other moves back onto the left-hand side rear position.
- Rearward Cross with a Spare: Tyres on the rear axle move directly forward. The spare tyre is placed on the right side of the rear axle, while the previously right-front tyre moves to the left-rear position instead. The new spare tyre is the left-front tyre.
If Your Car Has Directional Tyres
When dealing with directional tyres, your rotation patterns are limited. Your options are:
- Trade tyre positions from left to right (must be dismounted from their rims first and remounted before installing)
- Move from the front to rear
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you’ve read this far, you’re likely to have one of these questions on your mind:
How Much Does Tyre Rotation Cost in Australia?
A tyre rotation can cost as little as $50 in Australia. However, many mechanics package their tyre rotation service along with wheel balancing and alignment, so you might be able to get a better price when you do all three together.
How Often Should I Rotate My Tyres?
Your car’s manufacturer recommends how often you should rotate your car's tyres. Generally, however, you should rotate your tyres once every six months or once every 10,000 kilometres, whichever comes first.
What Happens If I Don’t Rotate My Tyres?
When you don't rotate your tyres regularly, each of them will experience uneven wear on just one side, and that will lead to less traction, more noise, and more vibrations. In simple terms, your car's performance, comfort, and safety will be affected.
Find an Auto Professional Fast!
If you’re looking for an auto workshop to rotate your tyres, check out the Directory over at Carpart.com.au. There, you can choose the type of auto service provider you need from the drop-down menu and get their contact details right away.
By Ray Hasbollah