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Tire Rotation and Balance

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Rotating your car’s tires is excellent for tire maintenance. Sometimes, your insurance coverage may require you to rotate your tires to keep them under warranty. Tire rotation helps to spread the effect of wear and tear evenly across all four tires. It requires adhering to strict patterns.

The article will provide more information about tire rotation, rotational patterns, and the benefits of tire rotation.

What is tire rotation?

Rotating your tires means changing the positions of your tires on your vehicles by following specific patterns to even the effect of wear and tear. Changing your tire position allows you to inspect your tires’ condition visually.

Usually, we recommend to our clients that they rotate their tires at least every 5,000 miles. Doing this with other maintenance activities like oil changes and minor car tune-ups would be best. We also recommend checking tire pressure, rebalancing, and physical damages to the tire.

What is the general rule for a tire rotation?

For Four wheel drive (FWD), the general rule for all direction tires is to rotate the front tires to the rear and cross the rear to the front.

Also, for Rear Wheel Drive (RWD), the rear tires are rotated to the front, while the front tires are crossed to the back making.

Over time more complex and effective patterns have been formulated for different tires and conditions.

Why is tire rotation important to your vehicle?

Over time, your tire will begin to wear and tear from excessive friction on the road. It poses a risk to safety and less car balance. Tire rotation provides a remedy to reduce the impact of worn-out tires. Benefits of car rotation include:

  • Smoother drive:

Because your car tires wear at a different rate, rotating them by following a specific pattern will even the thread on the tire, hence a smoother ride.

  • Enhance safety

Tire rotation reduces the risk of an uneven tire and tire burst. It helps you to maintain the tire better; ultimately, a good tire means good traction and brake system.

  • Better handling

Rotating your tire will cause your tire even to wear out. Even tire thread allows for balance in the car and better handling in return. Uneven tires mean poor balancing and poor handling.

  • Cost-effective 

Rotating your tires will extend the life span of those tires, thereby saving you the cost of replacing or repairing your tires. 

How do you know your tires need rotation?

Your tire is a vital part of your car, and bad tires will reflect your drivability. Some signs you may need your tires rotated include:

  1. Excessive vibration in the car tires 
  2. Visible wear on tire tread
  3. Continuous pressure loss after tire pump
  4. Longer braking

Rotational patterns for non-directional tires:

a. Forward cross

The forward cross pattern is best for FWD vehicles. It involves rotating the front axle to the back and moving the rear tires diagonally to the front axle.

b. Rearward cross

This method is suitable for most vehicles. It involves rotating the rear tires forward on the same side they were before, while the front tires are rotated back on a different side than before. The rear tires are crossed, and the front maintains its position during the rotation.

c. X pattern

The X pattern involves switching all tires diagonally in opposite directions from their former position. This pattern is excellent for sedan vehicles and other front-wheel drives.

Rotational patterns for directional tires:

d. Front to back pattern

All tires are moved from front to back but maintain opposition on the axle. For instance, front left tires will be moved to the rear left tires, and the rear right tires will be moved to the front right tires.

e. Side-to-side pattern

This method involves switching the tires to the opposite side of their partner. For instance, the front right tires switch with the front left tires, and the rear right tires switch with the rear left tires. 

Rotational patterns with spare:

If you have a spear tire, the following rotational pattern is suitable

f. Forward cross for front-wheel drive

This pattern involves switching the rear tires diagonally to opposite sides of the front axle. The left front tire goes to the left front tire and is moved to the rear left axle. The right front tires become the spare. 

g.Rearward cross for rear-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive

Here, the rear axle tires are switched to the front, while the spare tire is moved to the right side of the rear axle. In addition, the right front tire is changed to the left side of the rear axle, while the left front tire becomes the spare.


1. Should you rotate tires between the front and rear axles?

Yes, we recommend you rotate tires between the front and rear axles. It is because frontal tires often wear faster than the rear. Changing them means all tires can evenly wear.

2. What is the tire rotation pattern for AWD cars and SUVs?

First, you must confirm if you have a directional tire, a front/rear tire, or an extra tire. All of these have a bearing on what pattern of rotation to use. Rearward cross patterns are great for AWD cars and SUVS, although it all depends on the tires used.

3. Can you rotate your tires too often?

We recommend rotating your tires after 5,000-7000 miles. However, the excessive rotation will not affect your tires.

4. Does It matter how you rotate your tire? 

Yes, you must pay attention to the type of tires you have on your vehicle. Directional tires perform better with the front/rear pattern.

Request A Quote For A Tire Rotation:

The condition of your tires should never be overlooked. They are as crucial as your car brakes or engine. Always rotate them every 5000-7000 miles to maintain an even wear on your tires.

At European Motors in Silver Lake, our specialists are equipped with the most advanced tools required for tire inspection, replacements, brake services, and more. Our shop is on Ivanhoe Hill, directly across the street from Whole Foods market. We have been proud to be a neighborhood favorite auto repair shop for over 40 years. If you need help carrying out maintenance for your car, give European Motors a call.