How to Rotate Tires

Did you know that you can extend the lifetime of your vehicle’s tires by rotating them? That’s right; it’s an old trick, but a very effective one, indeed. 

However, it requires some effort, so you need to make sure that you’re doing it right instead of wasting your time.  But at first you may ask: how many miles for tire rotation? or how long does it take to rotate tires? the short answers to the questions are: about 3,000-8,000 miles and 15 minutes only. And how often do you need to rotate your tires? – in every 6 months.

In this guide, we’ll help you learn how to rotate tires to get the most out of them, so stick around.

Benefits of Tire Rotation

It’s no secret that your car tires won’t wear out evenly. The position of the tire can significantly impact its lifetime. For example, in a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the front tires do more work because you use them to control your steering, braking, and accelerating. Similarly, the back tires take more load in rear-drive cars. 

But when you swap the positions of your tires every now and then, things get completely different. Instead of letting your most-worked tires wear out prematurely, you take some of the load off them and place it on the other tires.

Check How Much Does Tire Rotation Cost

Tools You’ll Need

Before we get started with how you should rotate your tires, make sure that you have all the necessary tools. These include:

  • A car jack to lift the car off the ground
  • A lug wrench to dismount the wheels
  • Jack stands to support the vehicle when it’s lifted up

Read More: How to rotate your tires with one jack

How to Properly Rotate Tires

Rotating your car’s tires isn’t as simple as swapping the rear tires with the front ones. There are many variables that come into play, and we’re going to explore each of them in detail. 

Non-Directional Tires

If your tires are non-directional and are of the same size, there are three ways that you can rotate them, which include:

Front-Wheel-Drive Rotation

To rotate the tires on a front-wheel-drive vehicle, all you have to do is follow a forward cross-pattern rotation. In other words, each front tire goes to the rear at its respective side, while the rear tires are moved to the opposite side at the front. 

Rear-Wheel or AWD Drive Rotation

One way to rotate the tires on a rear-wheel or AWD drive car is to put the left rear tire at the right front, the right front tire at the left rear, the right rear tire at the left front, and the left front tire at the right rear. 

Alternatively, you can mount the left rear tire on the left front wheel and the right rear tire on the right front wheel. Then, the left and right front tires go to the right and left rear, respectively.

Different Sizes or Offsets

What if your car’s wheels and tires are not the same size or don’t have the same offset? Well, in that case, the tires must be dismounted, remounted, and rebalanced. 

However, if the tires are non-directional, a different approach should be taken. The left rear tire should be placed at the right rear position, while the left front tire goes to the front at the same side of the car. Also, the right front tire is placed at the left front, and the right rear is moved to the left rear. 

Four-Tire Rotation

It’s pretty rare to find a car that has a full-size spare wheel. In most cases, the wheel will be somewhat smaller than your car’s wheels. 

Nevertheless, if you’re one of the lucky few who have a spare wheel that’s sized similarly to the primary wheels, you can perform a five-tire rotation. Here’s how you can do it:

Front-Wheel Drive

On a front-wheel-drive car, rotate the tires in a forward cross pattern as follows:

  • The left front is positioned at the left rear
  • The right front is used as a spare wheel
  • The spare is mounted at the right rear position
  • The left rear is positioned at the right front
  • The right rear moves to the left front

Rear or Four-Wheel Drive

On a rear or four-wheel drive car, do a rearward cross pattern rotation like this:

  • Move the rear left tire to the left front and the rear right tire to the right left.
  • Move the right front tire to the back on the opposite side of the car.
  • Replace the rear right tire with the spare tire.

If you seek for more information, consider checking How to Rotate Tires on a 4×4

Special Cases

In some car models, rotating your tires can be pretty tricky. For example, in a 90’s Chevy Camaro, the rear and front tires have different offsets, so you can’t simply swap them. Not to mention, they’re directional, which makes things even more complicated.

How to Do a Tire Rotation – The Conclusion

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about how to rotate tires. Here’s a quick recap of all the things you need to know before rotating your tires:

  • The drive system of your car 
  • Whether your tires are directional or non-directional 
  • The size of each wheel and tire
  • The offset of each wheel
  • The size of your spare tire

Once you have all of this information, rotating your tires should be an easy task. 

But if not, feel free to check our guide How Much Does Tire Rotation Cost?

Did you find our article helpful? Then consider checking others:

How Do You Rotate Radial Tires

How To Rotate Tires With TPMS

How To Rotate Tires On AWD

How To Rotate Dually Tires