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Why Tyre Rotation Should be on Every Car Maintenance Checklist and How to Do It

Wheels certainly do go round – but ‘tyre rotation’ means switching up the position of tyres. It helps them to last longer, and it keeps the vehicle’s occupants safer because the tyres have better traction.

“A vehicle’s tyres should be rotated every 10,000km or so, and for those who drive a fair amount, that will probably coincide with their vehicle’s oil change and service,” says Chris Lett, owner of Branigans Tyres and a qualified auto engineer with decades of experience. “While the tyres are getting moved around, they can be thoroughly inspected for wear and damage and replaced if necessary and it’s also a good opportunity to get wheel balancing done.”

Why Tyre Rotation Works

Tyres don’t wear out evenly. In front-wheel-drive cars, the front tyres will bear the brunt of the torque and friction whenever the driver accelerates, brakes, or turns. As a result, they wear much faster than the rear tyres. If the front tyres are rotated to the rear of the car, the fresher rear tyres will go to the front, allowing for more even tyre wear and less frequent replacement. Apart from helping tyres to last the distance, even tread wear translates to better traction and better handling for a safer drive.

More Than One Way to Do It

There are different types of tyre rotation, and the one to choose depends on a lot of factors. The type of tyre wear to be expected from a front-wheel drive has already been discussed, but even a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive needs tyre rotation.

The type and size of tyres is important. Some tyres are “directional” and some cars have different size tyres on the front and rear axles. There’s also the question of the spare tyre – if it’s a full-size tyre that can be included in the rotation. By looking at these factors, tyre professionals know which type of rotation to apply. Here’s a quick summary.

Non-Directional, Same Size

When all tyres are non-directional and of the same size, a rearward cross, forward cross, or X-pattern can be adopted.

Rearward cross rotation is good for four-wheel-drive and rear-wheel drive vehicles. The front tyres go to the rear axle and their sides are switched. The rear tyres go to the front axle and are kept on the same side. Forward cross rotation works the other way round as is usually best for front-wheel drive cars. X pattern rotation means that all tyres switch both axles and sides and is often used on light trucks with front-wheel drive.

Directional Tyres and High-Performance Tyres

So far, non-directional, same-size tyres have been covered, and it’s easy to understand how their rotation should be done. Directional tyres, and tyres that aren’t the same size on both axles are even easier since there are fewer options.

With directional tyres, sides cannot be switched, but it’s possible to switch axles, so this type of tyre rotation is termed front-to-back rotation. When a vehicle has different tyre sizes on the front and rear axles, tyres can be switched to opposite sides but should not be transferred from one axle to another.

Don’t Forget the Wheel Balancing

Wheel balancing is usually done along with tyre rotation, but it isn’t always a must. If motorists decide to do their own tyre rotation, they should look out for signs that their wheels need rebalancing. If they notice vibration on the steering wheel after tyre rotation, it’s a sure sign that the wheels need balancing.

Alternatively, drivers are welcome to leave the whole job to Branigans – it takes minutes and will save a lot of struggling with spanners plus the worry that wheel balancing might be out afterwards. “Many drivers don’t rotate their tyres at all,” says Chris. “They could save a substantial amount of money over time if they did.”  

Branigans Tyres has well-established workshops in Burleigh Heads and Southport in the Gold Coast region. Check out their full range of services or current featured promotions. Branigans award-winning affordable tyre subscriptions package start at $7.97 and help motorists budget for their ongoing tyre needs. To guarantee customer satisfaction when it comes to tyre servicing and vehicle maintenance, vehicle owners are encouraged to drive in at their convenience as no pre-bookings or appointments are required. The branches are Burleigh Heads: (07) 5535 2660 situated at 13 Flagstone Drive or Southport: (07) 5591 8633 situated at 1/277 Southport-Nerang Rd.

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