There’s a proper way to rotate tyres. The right and wrong way to rotate tyres is often disputed between tyre technicians, automobile makers, and tyre manufacturers. However, rotating the tyres in any fashion is more important to prevent premature wear than is the rotation pattern employed. Since there are different types of tyres, care and attention should be applied before rotating the tyres in order to perform the procedure properly.
Unidirectional Tires - Unidirectional tires point specifically towards the front of the vehicle in the natural rotation of the tires when moving forward on the vehicle. Because of this, they can not be crisscrossed in a proper tire rotation pattern and need to be moved front to rear along the same side of the vehicle. These tires will have an arrow pointing in the direction of its intended movement on the sidewall displaying an arrow towards the front of the vehicle.
Front-Wheel Drive - Front-wheel drive vehicles apply the torque on the drivetrain of the vehicle and then accommodate 75% braking capacity for the car. Because the front wheels on all cars handle the turns when steering, edge wear can be more prominent on the front than the rear. Since front-wheel drive vehicles apply torque to the front tires, they will wear even quicker than a rear-wheel drive vehicle. The acceptable rotation pattern for a non-unidirectional tire on a front-wheel drive vehicle is to place the left front and the right front tires straight back on the rear axle and then crisscross the left rear tire and the right rear tires onto the front axle. If the vehicle features unidirectional tires, you will only be able to rotate them front to rear on the same side of the vehicle. This rotation is also acceptable and sometimes promoted by tire technicians for non-unidirectional tires. And yet, another way for rotating non-unidirectional tires is to crisscross the tires in an X pattern front to rear. This method is used for all-wheel and four-wheel drive vehicles, but is still acceptable in many rotation standards.
Rear-Wheel, Four-Wheel and All-Wheel Drive - Rear-wheel, four-wheel and all wheel drive vehicles still provide 75% braking capacity for the vehicle, but the front tires are not under torque duress as are front-wheel drive vehicles. Although you may get a little more life out of the front tires on these vehicles than front-wheel drive, they still have to deal with the steering demand placed on them. The common rotation pattern for these types of vehicles crisscrosses the left front and the right front tire to the rear axle, while bringing the left rear and the right rear straight forward.
Five Wheel Rotation - Five wheel rotation employs the spare tire being added to the equation. This is a rare rotation procedure since many vehicles feature temporary spare tires. Even some that still feature full-size spares, owners discover they are mounted on steel wheels that do not match the aluminum alloy wheels on the vehicle. An even newer dilemma is smaller sized full-size spares. You may have a truck that takes 17-inch wheels and find out the full-size spare is on a 16-inch rim. These full-size tires are intended for temporary use and are usually mounted on generic steel rims. Integrating the full-size spare in a five wheel rotation can be done a couple ways. A forward cross used on front-wheel drive vehicle drops the passenger front tire as the new spare, the old spare would move to the passenger rear position and then the two rear tires would crisscross forward. The rearward cross rotation for four-wheel, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive drops the driver's side front tire as the new spare. The old spare still moves to the passenger rear position and then the passenger front tire moves to the driver's side rear. The rear tires would move straight forward to the front axle position.
When to Rotate and Tire Pressure - Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 9,000 miles. You can have this performed on every other to oil change if you change the oil regularly. Air pressure is another important aspect of tire rotation, since some vehicles recommend a variance in air pressure from the front axle to the rear. While this is not always the case, make sure the air pressure is checked in the tires during all rotation procedures.