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Tire rotation: How and why to rotate your tires?

Auto Tips & Advice

In simple terms, tire rotation is the process of swapping the positions of a car's tires. The idea is to get the most out of a set of car tires. Regular rotation will extend the life of your tires and improve their performance. It is important to note that not all motorists can rotate their car tires as they wish. Read on to find out more.

What is tire rotation?

As mentioned, tire rotation maintenance requires swapping the position of the tires around on a car, from front to back or side to side.

The basic reason a tire rotation works is that tires of all types tend to wear down at different rates. Tires on the drive axle wear the fastest due to the transmission, power and torque. This applies to both front and rear wheel drive vehicles. The front tires suffer the most as most cars have front wheel drive. On rear-wheel drive vehicles, it will be the other way around.

Under such circumstances, it may very well be beneficial to move the two rear wheels up to the front. It maximizes their potential so that all tires wear evenly and last longer.

When should you rotate your tires?

Tires should be serviced periodically following the rotation patterns provided in the vehicle's owner's manual.

You should rotate your tires approximately every 6,000 to 8,000 miles (about 9,600 to 13,000 km). For some of you, this is the same time as your car's service. The right time may also be when changing from winter to summer tires. Or simply when you buy new tires.

When replacing just two tires, Michelin recommends that the new or least worn tires are fitted to the rear axle to improve vehicle control and safety.

This advice applies to front and rear wheel drive vehicles fitted with the same tire sizes front and rear.

Tire-inflation pressures must be readjusted according to the vehicle manufacturer’s or tire manufacturer’s recommendations.

Why would you need tire rotation?

Using tire rotation as preventative maintenance will help ensure your tires wear evenly.

Different factors cause your tires to wear:

  • The location of the engine in your car: if it’s positioned in the front, it is likely the front tires will carry more weight than the rear ones. So, your front tires will get worn out faster.
  • If you drive a lot on gravel roads or rocky terrain, your tires will have accelerated wear compared to regular urban or highway drives.
  • On most cars, braking is mostly applied to the front tires, which causes extra wear compared to the ones in the back.
  • Bad wheel alignment is another reason for accelerated wear.

Another reason can be…the right-hand drive! In right-hand drive countries, right turns are for the most part tighter than left turns, and just like an athlete on a track, the left tire, on the outside, covers more distance, which causes more wear than the right! 

How to rotate your tires? 

Firstly, the tire profile will define the vehicle's wheel rotation rules.

Asymmetric, Symmetrical and Directional tread patterns

Asymmetric, Symmetrical and Directional tread patterns

Directional and asymmetric profile tires can only be used in one direction of travel. This means that they can only be fitted in one position. This is indicated on the outer sidewall of the tire by an arrow and one sidewall of this type of tire is marked "Outside”.

tire rotation

For these tires, the wheel rotation must be strictly lateral. The left front tire should be positioned on the same side but at the rear. The same applies to the right side.

On the other hand, symmetrical tires are not affected by the wheel arrangement during a rotation. Symmetrical tires have the same pattern on the left and right-hand sides. They have no mounting direction. They won't have any problem spinning in either direction. In conclusion, they can be mounted on the left or right, front or rear.

This said tire rotation will have to take into account the type of drive system of the vehicle.



Passenger & 4-Wheel and All Wheel Drive Light Truck
Visual A: Rear & 4-Wheel and All Wheel drive vehicles
Visual B: Front Wheel drive vehicles



Passenger & 4-Wheel and All Wheel Drive Light Truck
Visual A: Rear & 4-Wheel and All wheel drive vehicles
Visual B: Front Wheel Drive vehicles



Passenger & 4-Wheel and All Wheel Drive Light Truck
(Use only with the purchase of two tires or different tire sizes between front and rear axles)







Visual A: Front Wheel Drive vehicles with full-size matching spare
Visual B: Rear and Four-Wheel Drive vehicles with full-size matching spare

Studded tire rotation

The rolling direction of studded tires should never be changed.
This can be achieved by rotating tires from front to rear on the same side of the vehicle.

Tire rotation: ask for professional advice 

Always seek professional advice! You can have your tires professionally rotated for you. What's more, a tire technician will be able to inspect them for you to identify any potential damage. 

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