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.
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?
Red highlights mine -
You sound like having a pretty perceptive eye about this stuff. I'm a bit obsessed with tire wear details, tire life , pressure, cost effective etc... so I'd just default to what you know works. If any doubt (and your good eyes), see how that works on the first of first few rotates and go from there. Obvious considerations - mfg recommendations or tire direction or symmetry.
In 42 years of owning and driving AWD, 4X , fwd or rwd dry- snow- and ice- , I've never had wear that caused me to buy 2 tires. Simple rotates front to rear mostly and the occasional X when slightly uneven has made it very simple and cost effective. I'm not one to drive tires to the end of their life myself. When noise ride or traction become a noticeable change, I'm okay with spending money. Safety and comfort are not too negotiable for me.
Originally Posted by Kira
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.
Great summation !
Militant school = no rotations makes sense. Government spending isn't the most lucrative.
"My tires wear straight flat across and even."
On my FWD I cross the rears, then rotate front to back. So you end up with the rear tires on the front, but they're now on opposite sides of the vehicle. The front tires are simply moved back with no crossing.
This is the universal method for FWD vehicles to my knowledge, as each tire ultimately spends time in all four positions of the vehicle. I recognize the "X" cross is also acceptable.
Using this method has always afforded me even wear across the life of my tires-- when it's time to replace each tire has an equivalent amount of tread remaining.
FWD and FWD based AWD (most AWD cars and SUV now): front to the back then cross the back tires to the front.
RWD and RWD based AWD (like BMW 3 series and X3 and up): back to the front and cross the front tires to the back.
Both routines mean each tire will be on every corner at some point to even out wear.
You want the drive tires to go to the other axle with the same direction of rotation. The drive tires see the most wear, and they will have their greatest wear on the leading edge of the tread blocks. If you change the direction of the drive tires immediately, they will be noisy.
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.
I used to skip tire rotations on the Buick Park Avenue. Not that I neglected the car, I just didn't think it was necessary. Somehow I wound up buying a new tire or two every couple of years.
With the Buick Regal I took advantage of the dealer's oil change/tire rotation special, since I had the first 4 changes/rotations free. With 6 month/4500 mile rotations, the original Michelins lasted until 60K miles. Now I make sure to rotate.
I alternate front to back straight then back to front diagonal. This way I don't need to remember which way I did last time yet tires go through all 4 corners to even out wear.
IMO most of us are overthinking this as long as it is rotated, and all 4 tires are close enough to evenly wear it is all good (left and right must be similar for stability but front and back as well would be ideal for durability).