Drivers, who take care of their vehicles, know that tyres play an important role. Good tyres ensure safety of the drivers and passengers by providing stability of the vehicle and control. That is why it is so important to choose high-quality tyres that correspond to specific weather conditions of your region, and change them in compliance to the manual instructions.
Uneven wear of tyres
Taking care of tyres means regular tyre rotation. Many drivers neglect this matter because they are convinced that tyre rotation is not the most important routine. They check oil level, engine and other important things, leaving tyres totally neglected. In fact, you can easily identify neglected vehicles by the way they look. Front wheels in such vehicles usually are black from accumulated brake dust. The reason is simple – from brakes are larger that rear. As the result, 80 percent of braking are done by front brakes.
Engine location, drive train, and even the condition of the road greatly contributes to uneven wear of tyres. Most vehicles that you see on the road today have front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive systems. That means that they operate in front-drive all the time. Front tyres of vehicles with front engines usually get under more load, which also leads to increase wear. Why? These vehicles carry more load than front tyres because of transmission and engine that are placed in front. When the driver apply the brakes, more weight shifts forward considerably contributing to the load. Powering, braking and steering functionality the wheel also influences on uneven wear of front tires. It causes additional stress on front tyres widening wear difference.
In fact, even location can affect tyres. For instance, in Great Britain people drive on the left side of the road. If you think it does not cause any difference, you will be surprised that it does. Making more left-hand turns results in great wear of the left tyre.
Even wear of tyres has certain advantage. When all tyres wear together, you can change all of them together and there is no need to buy a single tyre of change pairs. Changing all four tyres allows maintain original handling balance.
As you can see, vehicle drive, placement of the engine in the vehicle as well as roads can seriously affect pattern of tyre rotation. This is the reason why tyre rotation should be on the list of a regular maintenance.
Frequency of tyre rotation
The frequency of tyre rotation as well as pattern are specified by vehicle manufacturer. A mechanic can also help you define when your tyres need rotation and which pattern is better to choose. Most drivers have their tyres rotated every 6000 – 8000 miles but it is better to know the recommendations of manufacturer. Mechanics recommend to have tyres rotate when having the oil changed. Oil change has similar mileage interval, which allows combining both routines and save time.
Tyre rotation patterns
Let’s define what tyre rotation is. Tyre rotation means moving tyre from one position to another to ensure even wear. The Tyre and Rim Association has defined three main patters of tyre rotation that are suitable for most vehicles.
- It is necessary to rotate tyres in a forward cross pattern or the alternative X pattern on front – wheel drive vehicles.
- Tyres are rotated in a rearward cross pattern or the same X pattern on rear-wheel drive vehicles. This pattern is also suitable for vehicles with four-wheel drive.
However, performance of modern tyres and wheels has changed and two more patterns of tyre rotations have occurred.
- The first pattern is called “Front-to-Rear”. This pattern is good for vehicles with the same size directional wheels.
- The second pattern is “Side-to-Side” and can be used for vehicles with different sized non-directional tyres and wheels on the front axle.
Sometimes it happens that none of suggested tyre rotation patterns helps eliminate uneven wear. In such case it is necessary to dismount and re-balance all tyres. Dismounting, mounting and re-balancing is needed for vehicles with different size directional tyres and wheels as well as wheel with various front and rear offsets.
There is also a five-tyre rotation pattern but it is not officially included on the list of patterns. Many vehicles have a temporary spare, which is not included into tyre rotation system. However, if a spare tyre matches four wheels and tyres on the ground, it definitely has to be included into the pattern. It is better to follow recommendations of the manufacturer regarding tyre rotation. When recommendations are not available, follow these instructions:
- Rotate tyre in a forward cross pattern on vehicles with front-wheel drive with full size matching spare.
- Rotate in a rearward cross pattern on vehicles with rear-wheel and four-wheel drive with full size matching.
Winter tyres just like any other tyres need proper care too. Studded winter tyres are a real help for drivers living in countries with heavy snows. Studded tyres considerably contribute to safety of the driver and passengers too. It is possible to extend lifetime of winter tyres by timely rotating them. In order to achieve better performance of studded tyres during winter time, studded tyres should be rotated on regular basis to ensure equal share of workload. Rotation of studded tyres will ensure equal wear of all four tyres in spite of additional stress and severe weather conditions.
Find a good mechanic
It is recommended to visit one and the same mechanic. He will know your car and its technical specification. An experienced mechanic can easily identify rotation pattern and will do the job in an excellent way. Finding a good mechanic seems to be an easy task but it is not. Give preference to a certified and experienced specialists.
If you want to extend life time of your vehicle and its tyres, make tyre rotation a regular procedure. It will considerably help decrease uneven wear and decrease damage to the wheels.