Any reason NOT to include spare in rotation?

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Apr 21, 2003
My 2006 CR-V manual shows a 4-wheel rotation pattern...but the vehicle has a full size spare.

Seems to me that there would be 3 great reasons to include the spare in the rotation:

1) theoretically 20% more tire life overall
2) Won't need to replace a fully-treaded spare when it gets old and crackly
3) If I should need to use the spare, it would be closer to the same size as the rest of the tires and therefore not whack out the AWD.

Your thoughts? A screwup by Honda?
A screwup by Honda? Come on.
You should absolutely include the full size spare if it's the same as the others and on the same wheel.
(That's an extra 25% more tire life.)
Those are all valid points. I think for most of us having to keep track of a 5-wheel rotation brings on a headache. In addition, if the tires are directional, then the spare can only go on one side (usually the right side), so it can't be fully rotated. But other than that, I'd say it's a good idea to include the spare in the rotation process.
I have a full size spare that is mounted on a steel wheel, the rest of the wheels are one piece aluminum. The spare stays under the Van.
on my crv, i needed to use the full size 6 year old spare, which was never used and kept out of sunlight by the canvas cover. it developed a massive bulge in the tread. even though the tyre has never been used, it was 6 years old and i guess that is too long of a time for tyres to sit without use. i think everyone recomends changing tyres at no longer than 6 year intervals anyways.

you should use the full size spare in the tyre rotation if for no other reason other than to know you awalys have a spare which is in good working order.
I use the spare as part of my tyre rotation.

It keeps the disk/drum off the ground while I shift that tyre onto the other spots, then it goes back into its cradle.

I've got enough on my mind with the fronts crossed over to the rears, the rears translated to the fronts without adding another spot to the equation.
Ideally you should include it in the rotation. I'm too lazy to do that. When the time comes, I simply buy three new tires, put the spare in service, and keep the best old tire as a spare.
I've never put a spare in the rotation. Sometimes a new vehicle comes with a spare that's a different brand and tread than the tires on the wheels that are on the axles(its true -- happened to me with my new 2003 Ford Ranger). Sometimes the spare's on a wheel that's just a cheap style wheel that's completely different than the other 4 wheels installed on the axles on the vehicle (which was also the case with my 03 Ranger). And its a PITA to include the spare in the rotation, even if its the same tire and wheel as the other 4. I use the spare as a SPARE. It goes on when I get a flat and I immediately fix the flat as soon as possible and the spare then comes off. When I replace the tires I simply make sure to get tires of the same outside (tread face to tread face) diameter as the stock tires, so that they match the outside diameter of the spare.

As far as wasting money if you don't use the spare, because the 5 tires will last longer than 4 if you use the spare in the rotation, this only applies to the 5 tires that come stock with a vehicle. Once you wear out the stock spare, and if you continue to use the spare in the rotation each time you buy new tires, you have to buy 5 tires every time you need to get new tires. Whereas if you use the spare only for flats (and just until the flat is fixed) and if you buy new tires that are the same size as the stock tires, you only have to buy 4 tires each time you need new tires.
I am sure back when most cars came with real spares, the owners' manual always included the spare in the rotation. If you want, I could pull my 1974 Motor manual out of the archives and see if it has a diagram of one.
We had a spare that rode on the front of an old chevy truck for 10yrs, suddenly one day it just exploded for no particular reason, other then age, I'm guessing.

That spare never saw the ground.

Have a spare on the back of my Rodeo that's 9yrs old, in the spring, it's going to the scrap-yard. Won't hold air anymore, and is just seeing it's age in the form of cracking.
The CRV spare is mounted nicely right on the back, easy to get to - same tire type and same wheel. I'll plan to use it in my rotation pattern.
Kestas, how long does your spare generally lay around in the trunk between tire purchases?
I would not use it because you'd have to buy an extra to replace it everytime. An exception would be if you were alright with an old used tire as the spare. That is ok with me, with the exception of the CR-V, the exposed tire situation is a little different. We don't use the spare cover on it because it's somewhat old, plus we have alloys, so the bare rim actually looks better anyway...and you need a new tire to get away with it exposed and still look tidy.

Extending lifetime of any given set of tires has limited benefit too. Obviously, the cost for aquisition of 5 vs 4 negates any benefit of extended lifespan for the set. Another reason, for me, is I like to buy newer models of tires, and buying 4 is more often that I can select a old prefered model or new one that looks interesting.

One good use for the new spare tire from the factory, is used as part of a set or as a pair with another matching one. Generally, I think of tires in pairs or sets of four. Buying 2 new ones seems so natural, mostly all of my logical rotation plans and schemes for winters etc, would be blown by incorporating five. The brainiac/simpleton answer to this question might be that 4 is divisible by 2 and 5 is not. Two axles, two tires...get it?

Finally, the spectre of 5 "dog" tires verses getting stuck with only 4 that you don't like is not as bad. My AWD Audi manual not only indicates a 4 tire rotation, but keeping them on the same side. This makes sense w/directionals. Afaik, cross-rotation is only for when you have a wear problem like cupping.

I run 4 different mounted sets (all fours + doughnut) on the Audi and the used 1998 CR-V got an extra set of (4) rims/tires from a 2005, the same day we bought the vehicle.

One more thing, directional tires??? Even as a spare, you only have a 50%/50% chance, 5-tire rotation would be completely messed-up. If you get a new directional tire as #5, buy a match and use it as a pair.

[ January 20, 2006, 09:13 PM: Message edited by: Audi Junkie ]
What's the proper 5-wheel rotation pattern for a FWD (CR-V is FWD 99.9% of the time)? I rotate every 10,000 mi where wear from the front tires is about 1/32" to 2/32". To keep the 5 tires fairly even, I'd think I would have to rotate more often, no?
I rotate the spare in a 5-tire pattern. It's a natural if your spare is the same type driving wheel as the other 4. And, if your tires are non-directional. There are advantages to having a matched set of 5. Primarily, if you ever accidently damage one by driving any time on it while fully flat, or if you get a puncture in the corner of the sidewall and the tread.

All that said, many nice tires out there are turning into directionals, with treads shaped like an arrow point.

Those can run backwards. One of my cars has a directional tire as a spare. I've run that tire backwards, a couple of times. I don't really feel it from the driver's seat--not in that car. It's an old Camry--it sprung pretty soft.
you can run a direction tyre backwards and iut wont hurt anything however you will be losing some of the benefits of the tyre. im pretty sure traction is reduced a bit.
I wouldn't run them backwards even thogh it shouldn't be too bad. Why take a chance. It's a 4 wheel drive vehicle and rotation is important. it's a great idea to try to keep the tire dimaeters the same to keep the $WD system working optimumly. It senses differences in rotational speed. Rotate 4 only in pairs front to back and pretty often would be my recommendation. I would also replace 2 tires if one gets too damaged for repair. That's a good time to use the spare with one new tire and hang the remaining used one on the back. You could also just do this next time you buy tires if the spare was in good shape. No waste.
I've always rotated 5, and bought full sized wheels to do it. Excellent site posted by Quattro Pete; to rotate 5 on a rwd, take the spare to the right rear. Move the former RR tire to RF. RF to LR, LR to LF, and LF to spare. It's quite easy, really.

As far as the tires costing more to buy 5, remember that you are going 20% further, so your cost per mile is the same. You are also not wasting a perfectly good tire.
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