Tyres- those things which keep you and your car gripped to the road. Tyres are the first to make contact with the tarmac and face excessive wear and tear greater than any component on a vehicle; they are responsible for a host of functions. Therefore, Tyre Rotation becomes a necessary practice, so that the tyres perform at their best.
In this post, we will be looking at the procedures involved with Tyre Rotation.
Tyres, as we know, have a limited lifespan. They are engineered to perform for a said amount of time and scrapping them away is not only an expensive affair but also not the wisest option.
Here, Tyre Rotation is your best score.
Tyre Rotation is a straightforward and effective practice of relocating the tyres from one position to another to ensure consistent wear and tear across all tyres. This procedure not only prolongs the life of the tyres but also saves you money.
Why the Need for Tyre Rotation
In general terms, a car has a front axle, and a rear axle, both of these have a set of tyres under their control and have a specific role to play. It is known that the tyres at the front axle wear faster than the tyres at the rear axle. This is because the front tyres carry more than 60% of the weight and have exponentially greater tasks to perform like steering, braking, accelerating when compared to the rear ones which only undergo wear due to traction and braking.
If you leave the tyres as it is for years, you will observe some tyre wearing out faster than the others. This is due to the weight of the car which is not evenly distributed on all corners, and the front bearing the most weight as the engine sits there.
There can also be other factors causing wear and tear viz. uneven tyre pressure, improper wheel alignment.
Also, tyres are not cheap, a set of brand new tyres will cost you upwards of ₹20,000.
Tyres rotation also contributes a lot in ensuring a plush and comfortable ride. It is advised to get the tyres rotated once every six months or 8,000 to 10,000 kms whichever is earlier. As a rough estimate, you can get the tyres rotated every time you change the engine oil.
How it’s Done
Tyre rotation is probably the easiest and the cheapest automotive maintenance task one can accomplish. Requires few hours of effort and little money and if done correctly can extend the life of the tyres and increase fuel mileage.
The exact rotation pattern depends on the vehicle and the tyres themselves. Here you’ll have to refer your owners manual to get a proper insight.
Note: This applies to tyres with Symmetrical/non-directional tread pattern only
The X Pattern includes moving the front tyres to the rear and crossing them over, The front left goes to the rear right and the front right goes to the back left making an “X”. This is the Standard Pattern used on different types of vehicles.
Another geometry you can explore is the Rearward-Cross pattern, where the Rear tyres take place at the front, as it is and the front tyres take the rear but in a crossed manner. This can be used for RWD and 4WD vehicles.
Then there is the Forward-Cross which is the opposite of the Rearward Cross. Here the front tyres go to the rear, and the rear takes its places at the front again in a crossed manner. This pattern can be used on FWD vehicles.
Side to Side Pattern
This pattern is for cars with different sets of front and rear non-directional tyres.
As simple as it sounds, replaces the left tyre with the right and right with the left, for both, front and the rear.
Front to Rear Pattern
This pattern is only applicable to Directional/Same size Tyres/Wheels. Here the front tyres from both the sides take place at the rear.
Rotating the Spare-in?
Almost every vehicle on the road is equipped with a spare wheel which CAN be included in the tyre rotation procedure,
There are some cars (Skoda, VW even BMWs) which provide a “Space-Saver” spare in the trunk. These CANNOT be included in the procedure as they are smaller in size and are marked for temporary use only.
For a 5 Tyre Rotation in a Front Wheel Drive car
Rotate the tyres in a forward-cross pattern,
where the front left tyres goes to the rear left, the rear left jump to front right, the front right switch places with the spare, the spare takes the rear right position, and finally, the rear right goes to the front left.
For a Rear Wheel Drive or an All Wheel Drive/Four Wheel Drive
there’s the Rearward-cross pattern
The front left switch with the spare, the spare switches with the rear right, the rear right takes the front right, the front right with the rear left and finally the rear left to the front left.
A five tyre rotation helps in equal distribution of wear and tear to the tyres which include the spare wheel. This also helps in maintaining equal tread depth on all five tyres.3