Just about every vehicle manufacturer, tire manufacturer and tire retailer recommends you rotate your tires on a periodic basis so the wear is as even as possible and so they last as long as the way you drive allows, but many of us inevitably wonder if it’s really necessary? It appears a lot of drivers don’t think it’s strictly necessary, and that’s because tire rotation and tire balancing are among the more neglected items when it comes to the routine car maintenance tasks needed to avoid unnecessary expense and inconvenience. So, let’s take a closer look at tire rotation to see how necessary a part of a car care or car servicing regime it really is.


Signs of neglecting tire rotation

It’s not altogether difficult to identify vehicles that suffer from neglecting of tire rotation. They’re the ones where the front wheels are almost black from an impressive accumulation of brake dust. On most vehicles, the front brakes are generally bigger than the ones at the rear and they do as much as 75 percent or more of all the braking, which is why they generate so much dust from the pads.


Why tire rotation is needed

Regardless of whether your vehicle has front-, rear-, all- or four-wheel drive, it’s always going to be a benefit for your tires to be rotated from time to time because the weight and workload they carry is always likely to be unevenly distributed among the four wheels. Inevitably, this makes them wear unevenly. As the majority of vehicles on the road these days are front-wheel drive or have all-wheel-drive systems operating mostly as front-drive in good road conditions, your front tires are going to be carrying an extraordinary load on those vehicles.

For a start, the front tires have to cope with carrying far more weight than those at the rear because the engine and transmission are more often than not mounted transversely over the front axle. When the brakes are the applied, more weight shifts forward, which further adds to the load. The front tires also cope with extra wear and tear from powering and steering the vehicle, and they also bear the brunt of the force when cornering since the weight shifts to the outside of a turn. By way of complete contrast, while this is all happening the rear tires on front-drive vehicles are basically just along for the ride.

Rear- and four-wheel-drive vehicles do spread a greater proportion of the load to the rear tires because they drive the vehicle to varying degrees, but the front tires still do a lot of work because of steering and more weight on them.


How often do tires need rotating?

The required frequency of rotation depends on the vehicle and the interval recommended by the manufacturer, which can be found in the service section of the owner’s manual. A good basic rule of thumb is to get them rotated at least as often as you change your oil, or preferably more often. Roughly speaking then, if you drive 20,000 to 24,000 km per year, you should probably plan to rotate your tires twice a year.

The vehicle you’re driving also has a bearing on the rotation pattern, but for most front-drive vehicles it’s normal to move the front tires to the rear on the same side and crisscross the rear tires to the front. The rotation pattern could be different if you have a rear- or four-wheel-drive vehicle, as is the case with cars that have directional tires or different size tires on the front and back. If you have directional tires, for example, the tires need to stay on the same side and only move between front and rear. And if your front and rear tires are different sizes to each other, they should obviously only be rotated to the other side of the same axle.

For more information or to make a booking to get your tires rotated, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Moffatt’s Mazda today.

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