The wheels and tyres of a car should be shifted from one place to another periodically in order to ensure all tyres have uniform tread wear and longer durability. This process is known as Tyre Rotation.
It is quite crucial for the tyres to be rotated as the front tyres generally wear-off faster than the rear ones. Each of the wheels on your car has uneven wear characteristics that makes rotation a necessary process.
For example, we can see that the front wheel drive vehicles apply braking, steering and driving power on the front axle tyres while the rear axle tyres just get the braking forces. Popular Indian tyre brands
Most car manufacturers recommend tire rotation every 10,000 km (6,200 miles).
This results in wearing-off of the front tyres much faster than the rear ones. In this case, the front tyres need to be replaced by a couple of new tyres or with the old ones at the rear. Here, you need to use a specific method of tyre rotation. There are four different ways to rotate the tyres of your car:
Four Wheel Rotation
You can apply the four-wheel rotation method in the absence of a full-size spare wheel. However, the process can not be done with the emergency tyre that is given by some manufacturers as they are generally smaller in size and can be used in limited conditions. Also, if your vehicle has a combination of tube-type and tubeless tyres, the four wheel rotation can not be done.
For the front-wheel-drive cars, the front tyres are installed in the corresponding rear hubs and the rear tyres are installed on the front hubs right opposite to their position.
For the rear-wheel-drive/all wheel drive cars, the rear tyres are moved straight ahead to the front axle. And front tyre from the opposite side is installed on the rear axle.
Best Suited for: 4-wheel, all-wheel, or rear-wheel drive with non-directional tyres
Five Wheel Rotation
This method is slightly complicated than the previous method as it also includes the spare tyre. In this process, the spare tyre is installed in the front right hub and the front tyres are put on the corresponding rear hubs.
The rear right tyre comes to the front left hub and finally, the rear left tyre is taken out and mounted at the place of the spare one.
On the other hand, in a four wheel drive or rear wheel drive car, the front tyres are placed in the rear but on the opposite side hubs. The rear left tyre is put on the front left corner and the rear right tyre comes out as the spare one. The actual spare tyre is installed on the front right corner.
Best Suited for 4-wheel, all-wheel, or rear-wheel drive with spare wheel and non-directional tires
As the name suggests, the method of straight rotation is the process where the front tyres are replaced by the rear ones and the rear tyres are bolted on the front hubs right in front of them. This is quite a simple method of tyre rotation. Straight rotation came into picture in the early years of radial tyres and is necessary in the case of unidirectional tyres.
Best Suited for: Vehicles with Unidirectional Tyres
Cross Rotation is the method that includes a cross pattern of tyre rotation. It is an alternate method for front-wheel-drive cars given that the vehicle sports four non-unidirectional tyres. When this process is applied to the FWD cars, the front tyres are installed on the rear hubs straight behind their respective positions and the rear tyres come on the front hubs in a criss-cross manner.
Best Suited for: Front-wheel drive vehicles
How often should you rotate tyres?
Most car manufacturers recommend tire rotation every 10,000 km (6,200 miles). However, if you run soft compound tires or drive high performance car, then do it every 5,000 km
Do you need to do wheel alignment after rotating tyres?
No, you don’t have to get an alignment done after rotating tyres. Tyre rotating is done to even out the wear pattern across tyres. If you notice significant wear in one tyre then it could be due to an alignment issue. In that case, it makes sense to fix the alignment problem.