Your complete guide to Tyre Rotation
Rotating your tyres periodically helps stop uneven wear of your tyres and generally prolongs their lifespan.
What is Tyre Rotation?
Tyre rotation is when you manually change the position of your tyres on your vehicle at regularly scheduled intervals.
With each new rotation, your tyre is in a different place and allows it to wear its tread out evenly so your tyre can be used longer.
Why is it important to rotate your tyres?
Tyre rotation is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your tyres.
You prevent uneven tread wear and save money in the long run because your tyres last longer.
It is a vital procedure to ensure the continued reliability of your tyres and can also detect poor alignment which negatively affects handling and increases your fuel consumption unnecessarily.
Not only will you maximise your tyres but also save on petrol money.
How often should I rotate my tyres?
It is generally recommended to rotate your tyres once every six months, or every 10,000 kilometres.
However, if you frequently use your car off-road for example, you can get them done even after 5,000 kilometres.
Where can I get my tyres rotated?
You can rotate your tyres yourself at home if you have the right tools
Yes - sounds intimidating and complicated but it is surprisingly easy and doable - similar to changing a flat tyre with a few added steps.
If you follow the steps below, it should only take about 30 minutes.
Just remember to take note of the type of tyres you have to make sure they go into the right position.
DIY Tyre Rotation
If you have decided to rotate your tyres at home, make sure you have the following tools:
2 - 4 jack stands - recommended vs cinder blocks to protect from scratched and for a more stable resting place
your favourite tyre iron/lug wrench
1. Turn the vehicle's engine off.
a. Engage the hand/parking brake for your added safety
b. If you have a manual car, put it in first gear. If driving an automatic, the gear should be on park
This will prevent the car from suddenly moving which might have dangerous consequences as you are switching tyres.
2. With the car still on the ground, loosen - but not remove - the lug nuts on all your wheels.
This will keep the tyre securely on the vehicle as you raise it up and also make it easier for you to remove the nuts whilst the vehicle is in the air.
The nuts might feel hard to move at first (as they should since they keep your tyres on your car).
If you have trouble loosening them and if they refuse to give, try standing on the lug wrench while attached to the nuts - this is an easy way to get through the first resistance.
Don't forget to remove the nuts counterclockwise.
3. Use your car jack to lift each wheel and place jack stands underneath to raise your car.
Make sure you place the jack stands on the vehicle's frame to avoid slipping.
If you have 4 jack stands, this is a pretty straightforward step.
However, if you only have 2 stands, plan out how you will get this done and expect to spend more time raising and lowering your vehicle.
4. With your car in the air, slowly remove your tyres and rotate your tyres, following the correct rotational pattern (seen below) based on your vehicle and type of tyre.
5. When each tyre is in their new positions, secure them back onto the wheel via loosely screwing on the lug nuts again.
6. Slowly release each jack stand and with the help of your car jack, lower your car back to the ground.
7. Tighten your lug nuts and you're done!
What happens during a tyre rotation?
When rotating your tyres, each tyre needs to be removed and refitted in a different position on your car.
To make sure you rotate your tyres to the correct position, you have to first analyse why your tyres are wearing down in a certain way and this is usually determined by your driving habits.
There is also a proper pattern of tyre rotation to follow for each specific engine and transmission layout.
If you drive a front-wheel-drive vehicle, for example, the tyre rotation pattern of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle will not be applicable to yours and so on.
Rotating Tyres on a Front Wheel Drive
The two front tyres stay on the same side of the car but are transferred to the rear axle, whereas the rear tyres switch sides and axles and are moved up to the front.
Rotating Tyres on a Rear Wheel Drive
The two rear tyres remain on the same side and are transferred to the front axle whereas the front tyres get transferred to the rear axle and switch sides.
Rotating Tyres on a Four Wheel Drive
With the rotation of 4WD tyres, all the tyres swap from left to right and back to front and visa versa. So each tyre is fitted to the position diagonally opposite to its original placement.
Rotating Directional Tyres
These rules don’t apply if your tyres are ‘directional tyres’. This is because the tread pattern of directional tyres are designed specifically in relation to its position on the vehicle. This makes switching sides dangerous. The tyres change from front to back and back to front but do not change sides so remain on the same side of the car they were originally fitted on.
What about my Spare Tyre?
Back in the day, it was recommended that spare tyres should also be rotated into the vehicle and be given blocks of time in regular, daily use so all the tyres are even.
The spare tyres of today, however, are no longer capable of extended, daily driving. They are light-weight, with shallower tread and are meant to be used as a quick fix so you can get to the shop and get your original tyre repaired.
Check your boot first - most off-roaders, utes and SUVs still have full-sized and fully functional matching spares to your current set. If you do, then, by all means, rotate them as well.
What to expect from your newly rotated tyres
Take your car out for a quick spin immediately after rotation and observe any difference in the quality of your ride.
It is normal for your ride to be a bit stiff and noisy for a few days since the wear on the tread pattern is already evening out.
But if you feel that your ride has worsened and grown more uncomfortable, check your tyres again.
This could be a sign that the tread might be beyond saving and your tyres need to be replaced.