Do you regularly swap your tyres around? Rotating your tyres is the best way to ensure even wear over all four tyres, making them last longer and enabling you to change them all at the same time. However, you do need to follow best industry practice. Learn all about the principles of tyre rotation based on your tyre and vehicle type.
When should you rotate your tyres?
Tyres do not wear evenly. For example, on front-wheel drive vehicles, the front axle bears the motive power so the front tyres tend to wear more quickly than the rear tyres. The opposite occurs in rear-wheel drives, as in this case, the motive power is borne by the rear axle, so the rear tyres may wear more than the front tyres.
That is why it’s important to rotate your tyres every 6000-7,500 miles or at least once a year. Why not save time by rotating your tyres when switching from summer to winter tyres?
How should you rotate your tyres?
The rules for rotating tyres depend on your vehicle type (front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or 4x4) and tyre tread (symmetrical, asymmetric or directional).
Start by identifying your tyre type
Symmetrical tyres have an identical pattern on both sides of the tyre. They can be fitted in any position and can travel in any direction. You can swap them around freely without running the risk of making a mistake.
Asymmetric tyres have different tread patterns on the inner and outer edges. When rotating them, you must follow the “outside” and “inside” markings on the outer and inner edges of the tyre in order to fit them correctly.
Directional tyres have a v-shaped tread pattern. An arrow on the side shows the direction in which they are supposed to rotate and this must be followed when switching them around.
Diagrams showing how to rotate your tyres
If front and rear tyre sizes are different, can they be rotated?
If your vehicle has different size tyres on the front and rear axles, they cannot be interchanged. Your only option is to switch the tyres of the same size on the same axle, as long as they are symmetrical tyres.
Can the spare tyre be used when rotating tyres?
The spare tyre can theoretically be included when switching around tyres, as long as it is absolutely identical to the four other tyres (same dimensions, type, brand and model) and that the tyres are all symmetrical.
However, it is rare for the spare tyre to be identical to the other tyres on most vehicles now on sale. Never use a space saver or “donut” tyre when rotating tyres.
We advise against fitting the spare tyre when rotating tyres on a 4x4. This is because it is vital that the four tyres fitted on the vehicle have the same amount of wear. If the diameter of the tyres differs due to fitting a less worn spare tyre, you risk damaging the vehicle’s transmission.
Find out more about four-wheel drive tyres