# Tire rotation direction - FWD vs RWD

#### 92saturnsl2

I'm curious how the "standard" for tire rotation between FWD and R/AWD vehicles was established.

In the case of FWD, why is front tires straight back, and rears crossed to the front, better than the RWD sequence (Front moved criss-cross to rear, and rears straight to front)?

And vice versa. Is there a reason for this? I've always went with the standard rotation but find myself pondering each time what the negative outcome might be if I did it backward.

#### MRC01

It also depends on the tire - if the tread pattern is directional, you can't swap them L to R.
With front wheel drive cars, nearly all the wear is on the front tires, so rotation front to back is critical.
Rear wheel drive cars have more even wear since the fronts do the steering & the rears do the acceleration.

#### mk378

Isn't it the same? If we follow one tire (the one that was originally on left front) through 4 rotations, it will spend 1/4 of its life at each position.
Sequence A: LF LR RF RR
Sequence B: LF RR RF LR

And as @MRC01 said, a lot of times the recommendation is to swap only front to rear and not cross sides. If they are directional tires you'd have to take them off of the wheels to cross sides.

#### MrHorspwer

In the case of FWD, why is front tires straight back, and rears crossed to the front, better than the RWD sequence (Front moved criss-cross to rear, and rears straight to front)?

And vice versa. Is there a reason for this? I've always went with the standard rotation but find myself pondering each time what the negative outcome might be if I did it backward.

It's different because the drive wheels are different.

Drive wheels move straight. Non-drive wheels cross.

#### bullwinkle

I actually do RWD like your FWD-rears straight up, fronts crossed to the back (non-directional tires). Gives the fronts a chance to “settle down” any directional imperfections while they’re on the back, and then the fronts have been going the same direction as before.

#### atikovi

Unless the tires are wearing unevenly or you have one of the awd models that requires similar tread depth, there isn't much point in rotating.

hrv

#### Oro_O

It's different because the drive wheels are different.

Drive wheels move straight. Non-drive wheels cross.

This. For either one, remember it like this:

"Don't cross the Drive wheels." e.g.: "Don't/Drive"

Regardless of rwd/fwd, follow this. So the drive wheels go straight back or forward, and the other axle crosses. For awd, They usually vary but have a substantial standard bias to one axle when no slip is detected. Treat the one with the drive bias as the drive axle. So a Volvo with a 95% front bias/5% rear, treat as FWD. BMW with 66% rear bias/34% front bias, treat as RWD.

#### CapriRacer

I'm curious how the "standard" for tire rotation between FWD and R/AWD vehicles was established.

In the case of FWD, why is front tires straight back, and rears crossed to the front, better than the RWD sequence (Front moved criss-cross to rear, and rears straight to front)?

And vice versa. Is there a reason for this? I've always went with the standard rotation but find myself pondering each time what the negative outcome might be if I did it backward.

I suspect the rationale was made way back, so the drive tires, which in theory ought to get the most heel and toe wear, would be reversed and the wear would be removed quicker. That means the non-drive tires were considered to generally be in better condition.

I don't think that is true. From what I have seen, on a RWD, the steer tires tend to be the worst, but on a FWD, it's the rears that develop irregular wear first - so the rule ought to be to cross the non-drive tires, instead of what is published. Of course, that leads to tires making noise - at least in the short term - but it also maximizes tire life.

But frankly, the important part is rotating front to rear. The cross part is nice, but it's the difference front to rear that helps maximize tire life.

In other words, there weren't any studies. It was just a bunch of guys sitting around discussing what would be best, then publishing that.

#### dogememe

I suspect the rationale was made way back, so the drive tires, which in theory ought to get the most heel and toe wear, would be reversed and the wear would be removed quicker. That means the non-drive tires were considered to generally be in better condition.

I don't think that is true. From what I have seen, on a RWD, the steer tires tend to be the worst, but on a FWD, it's the rears that develop irregular wear first - so the rule ought to be to cross the non-drive tires, instead of what is published. Of course, that leads to tires making noise - at least in the short term - but it also maximizes tire life.

But frankly, the important part is rotating front to rear. The cross part is nice, but it's the difference front to rear that helps maximize tire life.

In other words, there weren't any studies. It was just a bunch of guys sitting around discussing what would be best, then publishing that.
Wait what? Although the Escape is the only FWD thing I've ever owned, so my data collection is limited to one vehicle, the rears barely wear, and the fronts wear out a lot faster. I just usually wait til the fronts are bad, then put the rears on the front, and get two new tires for the rear. Hence why I don't really bother rotating tires. Although last time I did end up just getting four tires because one of the rears got a screw in it too close to sidewall and it was a better deal to buy and have installed 4 tires than 3.

The front wheels wearing like 2x as fast as the rears is the same on my Vredestein Quatrac tires as well as the brand new Hankooks that came on the car when I got it used at the dealer.

#### PandaBear

Isn't it the same? If we follow one tire (the one that was originally on left front) through 4 rotations, it will spend 1/4 of its life at each position.
Sequence A: LF LR RF RR
Sequence B: LF RR RF LR

And as @MRC01 said, a lot of times the recommendation is to swap only front to rear and not cross sides. If they are directional tires you'd have to take them off of the wheels to cross sides.
If you swap them frequently enough they would be the same.

I only have FWD cars that have the same wheel sizes, and my RWD car has staggered wheels. I always found the front tires to wear into "sawtooth" like shape and crossing the rear to the front and have the front pass straight to the rear feels smoother and quieter to me than the other way around.

#### hrv

I keep mine simple....Front to back same side....works for me been doing it this way since the 80s...Tires wear great and get the most out of the tread...

#### Jarpin

In my Subaru AWD, and my Toyota FWD, I always go fronts to the rear on the same side, and cross the rears to the front.

#### Sequoiasoon

I use non directional and non asymmetrical tires and have them dismounted, turned around and re-mounted on a different rim in a different position sometimes a different vehicle ......

No that's not true. My directional tires (snows) swap front to back on same side at start of each season as they see normally less than 6k each winter.

My other tires are asymmetrical (inside/outside Pirelli different models) or non asymmetrical (Defender LTX M/S or Michelin Premier). They get front to back, cross fronts when placed on back. That goes for the FWD and AWD vehicles.

The fact we have this thread puts us WAY AHEAD of many. I remember reading way back before I had an SUV or AWD about Jeep AWD transfer cases getting trashed from different diameter wheels from same size but different brands that measured different and also same brand/model tires not being rotated so 2 worn, 2 good tread spinning at different speeds.

My Father-in-law trashed the rear differential on his CR-V by not rotating. Real time system activates pistons in rear end when front tires spin. totally mechanical. Front were spinning faster due to low tread, pistons trying to activate rear wheels on dry pavement, something has to give.

I rotate all at a regular interval and check depth often with gauge. 2-3/32" is all I allow and then I rotate. Normally happens by 2/32".

#### Jetronic

Wait what? Although the Escape is the only FWD thing I've ever owned, so my data collection is limited to one vehicle, the rears barely wear, and the fronts wear out a lot faster. I just usually wait til the fronts are bad, then put the rears on the front, and get two new tires for the rear. Hence why I don't really bother rotating tires. Although last time I did end up just getting four tires because one of the rears got a screw in it too close to sidewall and it was a better deal to buy and have installed 4 tires than 3.

The front wheels wearing like 2x as fast as the rears is the same on my Vredestein Quatrac tires as well as the brand new Hankooks that came on the car when I got it used at the dealer.

Capri racer didn't say more wear, he said irregular wear. And that certainly is true for a lot of FWD cars. The fronts do wear quicker, but generally even if the pressures are kept correct. Rears are prone to cupping, stepping wearing inside edges on a lot of vehicles. And those cause tyre noise issues

#### Sequoiasoon

Capri racer didn't say more wear, he said irregular wear. And that certainly is true for a lot of FWD cars. The fronts do wear quicker, but generally even if the pressures are kept correct. Rears are prone to cupping, stepping wearing inside edges on a lot of vehicles. And those cause tyre noise issues
Most of my rotations happen with change of seasons to winter and then back at spring. My FWD Sonata would wear the fronts by 4/32" while the backs as stated barely wore anything. My Accord is doing the same. My wear is even, no cupping. The only stepping I find on mine are usually on the fronts when the snows are on as the blocks are very soft.

Each spring the rears with 2/32" more than fronts when they came off would go to front. By the time they came off in fall they had 2/32 less than the rears. Cycle repeats. The rest of my cars don't see the same mileage so they are closer at swap out.

#### Duffyjr

But frankly, the important part is rotating front to rear. The cross part is nice, but it's the difference front to rear that helps maximize tire life.
I just put new tires on my Buick this week so had a chance to talk to my mech about when to rotate. He knows I short trip and do mostly city driving and suggested no more than 5k and front to back only.

The last 4 cars I have owned all have been FWD and pretty much all city driving and I can tell you the fronts wear down at about twice the rate as the back in this scenario.

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