School Me On Tire Rotations.

Messages
4,481
Location
Central Arkansastan
I have noticed there are about three ways people usually rotate tire. One, the front to back-back to front same side only., Two, the front to back-then back to opposite front, and lastly, the "X" pattern. I know back in the days of old, it was taboo to swap directions on a tire because of belt movement. Today, doesn't seem to be a problem. So, that being said, I normally "X" rotate my tires. It is on a front wheel drive Elantra. This reasoning is as follows. Front to rear to front only: tire never sees anything but same direction, and wear patterns remain unchanged. Front to rear to front. Tire sees all directions of wear, but takes two rotations to accomplish this "X" Tire sees All directions of travel, in only one rotation For me, the "X" pattern has shown the most even wear pattern and tread depth on my tires. I am not one that likes to see more tread on one set of tires and less on the other. when that happens, you end up buying two new tires while running two used tires. I like my traction ability equal on all side. Just my OCD. So the question remains. Which really IS the best way, or does it really even matter?
 
Messages
36,473
Location
ME
A decent percentage of tires sold now are directional. I can see an OE not wanting to recommend something contrary in the owner's manual. Conversely, some cars come with OE directional tires. You'd have to unmount them to get them to the other side, which causes wear on the bead seal.
 
Messages
97
Location
Latham, New York
X pattern gives the most even wear. But... there are tires on the market that are directional so have to stay on one side of the vehicle. They have an arrow molded into the sidewall showing the direction of rotation.
 
Messages
8,501
Location
Champlain/Hudson Valley
Tire rotations have earned their place in the hierarchies of topics people regard as seriously as cancer, summarily dismiss with a word or two and finally, don't want to discuss any more. There are many "industry sourced references" on the subject which come with pictures. I read a bunch of them and noticed "rotational belt settlement" wasn't mentioned. That's funny as it is a perennial favorite of John Q. There's an "All Wheel Drive" pattern. There's a "5 tire rotation" which I used on my sister's Jeep with success. All 5 wore evenly. If you have directional tread you can only "front to rear 'em on the same side". Snow tires are like this. If you have staggered wheel sizes you can only "left to right the lot". Gosh, where'd the "rotational belt set" go. Me, I have a FWD car so I, "Jack the back and switch 'em. Then front to rear 'em". My tires wear straight flat across and even. There's a militant school which proclaims tire rotation is not to be done.
 
Messages
10,890
Location
Cincinnati, OH, USA
Unfortunately 5 tire rotations aren't possible with TPMS (since spares generally don't have them). I have this discussion with the Ferd dealer literally EVERY TIME the company Transit goes in-they only want to do front to rear, not switching sides at all (non-directional tires in my case), I've gone as far as whipping out the owner's manual & showing them that Ford recommends switching the rears when put on the front, & bringing the fronts straight back. Life can be difficult when one is forced to deal with stupid-if I had a lift that could get both ends off the ground without jack stands, I would do it myself to avoid having the endless argument with them. Never had this problem when the indy mechanic was allowed to do them, just had to get the PSI set correctly, generally.
 

JC1

Messages
6,071
Location
Oshawa, Ontario Canada
I do my own rotations and only rotate from to back. Works for me. Most people I know don't even rotate tires or know they should be done at set intervals to get the most even wear and longer tire life.
 
Messages
3,940
Location
Somewhere in the US
THEE most important thing about tire rotations is the front to rear portion. The front tires do different things than the rear tires. On a RWD, there isn't much difference in rate of wear, but a major difference in where the wear is occurring: Steers = shoulders, drives = center. On a FWD, the fronts do all the work, so they wear faster (2 1/2 times!), but the wear pattern tends to be even across the face of the tread. AWD? It depends on the amount of front to rear torque split, but normally it's closer to a RWD. The second most important thing is that they be done regularly, and frequently enough to prevent unusual wear patterns caused by that position. Since each wheel position will be doing something slightly different, the wear pattern will also be slightly different. If I tire is kept in the same position too long, the irregular wear could become more or less permanent - and irregular wear = noise and vibrations! Now here's the kicker: Because the front to rear wear pattern is so different, you can actually gain as much as 15% more wear life. By doing a rotation, the tires will be wearing more of the parts with less wear and less of the parts with more wear. In other words, you could get an extra year out of a set of tires (if you change tires every 6 years.)
 
Messages
8,033
Location
MI
Originally Posted by Kira
Me, I have a FWD car so I, "Jack the back and switch 'em. Then front to rear 'em".
Kira, what's the reasoning for your method? It results in two more "chess moves" (6) vs. moving them directly to their next position (4 moves). Just curious.
 
Messages
45
Location
Oklahoma
Typically if you cross tires it is the non-drive tires. Tech said to cross on open differential with my Ram or the tires on the right side will wear faster as the right is main drive tire that spins.
 
Messages
5,108
Location
Columbus,Nebraska
My 04 Toyota Camry Owner's Manual shows tire rotation as same side front to back;back to front. No cross rotation. For many years, for the rear wheel vehicles I drove, tire rotation was rear wheels diagonal rotation to front and front wheels moved straight to back location. I rotate the tires but personally don't think it makes that much of a difference for the majority of vehicles.
 
Messages
3,940
Location
Somewhere in the US
I just realized I didn't explain where the "Front/Rear Only" rotation pattern came to be recommended. In the early days of steel belted radial tires, (we are talking the early 1970's), there was a problem with the adhesion of the rubber to the steel. It was common for a chemical bonding agent called HMT (hexamethylenetetramine) to be used. In the presence of water, that turned into an acid - and since water vapor can penetrate the rubber matrix - the acid would corrode the steel. The research found that the separation would start on one side of each strand of the steel wire - and the thought was that if the direction of rotation were NOT changed, the other side wouldn't separate. Even back then, it sounded bogus to me. My understanding of how cracks propagate is that cracks continue to grow once started. Once the HMT was identified as the culprit, it was replaced by a similar bonding agent called HMMM (hexamethoxymethylmelamine). That solved that issue, but the recommendation about front/rear rotation lingered around for a long time because the important part of all rotation patterns is the front/rear part.
 
Messages
702
Location
MA, USA
So you say there was method (possible) to the madness, just the reason is gone for years now ;-) KrzyÅ›
 
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Messages
17,982
Location
NH
There's a few on here who insist that they don't rotate and they don't see a wear issue. A few do find the fronts wear out much faster, so they buy a new pair and put onto the rear when that happens (presumably FWD). YMMV. There may be value in just watching your tire wear and seeing if you can detect when rotations are needed (if and when). I've found that my FWD's wear fronts pretty hard, and when they get old, they feather the rear tires, so 5k rotations are for me. But my RWD truck seems perfectly fine on a 10k rotation, and maybe even then it doesn't care. shrug
 
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Messages
715
Location
FL
On my 4 x4 Back to front then I cross the ones from the front to back. When I had my 95 vette there was no rotation because tires were directional and front and back different sizes
 
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Messages
3,031
Location
Florida
All my vehicles are rotated from front to back. The passenger front goes to driver rear, driver front to passenger rear, then the rear tires straight to front.
 
Messages
704
Location
Canada
My tire rotation strategy in recent years has been to have the rotations coincide with my summer/winter changeovers. While I no longer am rotating on a truly set distance interval, as they can vary anywhere from 6,000 km to over 12,000 km per season, I find that there does not seem to be a significant difference than when I religiously stuck to 10,000 km intervals, and tracked them closely. I do fronts straight back, and the rears crossing over as they come up front. As my stable of vehicles has now changed in terms of types, my strategy going forward will be to continue the above with my AWD Tiguan. Strategy with my 1 ton 4x4 Silverado, now that it has brand new "all-weather" tires as of last fall, will be to do as close to 10,000 km intervals, provided that falls within the times that there is decent weather outside (so will not do it over winter, but plan on either the fall before, or spring afterwards if the 10,000 km is expected to happen during winter. Not sure what pattern I will use. Lastly, my fifth wheel I plan on doing a modified 5 tire rotation, based on the pattern I use on the Tiguan (picking a specific location as the point where a tire enters/leaves spare service). This will probably be very second year or so, given the distance normally travelled by the trailer in a given year, though I am overdue by my own plans.
 
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