Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Wheels & Tires -> Rotate
Tip from Carmine:
By rotating from side-to-side, you are not really accomplishing anything. The idea of tire rotation is to equalize the wear between the front and rear tires. (Since the front tires do all of the steering and most of the braking). Side to side rotation won't hurt anything, but it doesn't help anything either. A defective radial tire (broken or shifted belt) will cause a steering pull. Moving the tire from side to side will only change the direction of the pull. The effects of a defective tire can be minimized by moving it to the rear. Tire pressures should be the same from side to side because the tire with lower air pressure has a smaller diameter & more "drag" thus, the car will pull towards the smaller tire. (Think of a large and small tire mounted on a simple straight axle. Now push the axle forward... Visualize the axle pivoting in the direction of the smaller tire). The increased resistance to rotation caused by a broken/shifted steel belt follows the same principle.
Tip from Steve:
One thing I have learned with RADIAL tires: When rotating them, always swap them front to back while keeping them on the SAME SIDE of the car. Never swap them to left front...from right rear, for example.
Tire rotation is vital to achieving even tread wear and long tread life. Rotation is necessary because of the uneven wear characteristics of each wheel position on the vehicle. A good example is Front Wheel Drive vehicles which places braking, steering and driving forces on the front axle tires. Rear axle tires only receive braking forces resulting in a much faster wear rate for the front axle tires. Tire rotation for these vehicles therefore becomes very important for optimum tire life.
The "Cross Pattern" provides the best results and can be performed on any Front or Rear Wheel Drive vehicle equipped with 4 non-unidirectional tires. (Unidirectional tires must be rotated front to rear only.)
Straight Rotation was developed in the early years of radial tires. This rotation method simply replaces the front to rear and rear to front.
If the vehicle owner has a regular tire as a spare tire and wishes to include it in the tire rotation process, the proper procedure is to use the appropriate rotation pattern shown for 4 Tire Rotation, BUT insert the spare in the right rear position. Place the tire which would have gone to the right rear in the trunk as the new spare. Note: Never include a temporary spare tire in the rotation. Note: Unidirectional tread patterns must be rotated front-to-rear only so the direction of the revolution does not change.
This page last updated October 3, 2003. Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club