JWT Tire Rotation

JWT Tire Rotation

All About Tire Rotation


The idea of getting a tire rotation may sound unnecessary. After all, the tires rotate thousands of times as you drive down the road. And that’s the issue. Tires can wear out prematurely or get overly worn in one spot if the tires aren’t rotated periodically.


This guide will give you all the details about what a tire rotation service entails and why it’s an important part of regular vehicle maintenance that can actually save you money down the road.


What is Tire Rotation?


So what exactly is a tire rotation? It means moving the tires to a new position. Typically, you should rotate the front tires to the back and the back tires to the front. It’s also best practice to swap sides on the back tires that are moving to the front or the front tires that are moving to the back. For example, the back driver side tire would move to the front passenger position and the back passenger tire would move to the front driver side position.


Whatever pattern you use, you should stick to it each time the tires are rotated.


Importance of Getting a Tire Rotation


Tire rotations are recommended for both maintenance and safety purposes. No matter how carefully you drive, tread wear is never even across all four tires. It’s a problem that can only be addressed by a tire rotation.


If you’re questioning whether you need to schedule a tire rotation keep these things in mind:


Rotations Spread Tire Wear More Evenly to Extend Tread Life


Tire rotation ensures that tread wears more evenly because the demands are different depending on the tire position. For example, the tires up front get worn on the outer edges due to making turns, and they carry more of the vehicle’s weight compared to the rear tires, in most vehicles. In front-wheel drive vehicles, the front tires also experience more wear from braking and accelerating. Regular tire rotations that ensure even wear means the tread won’t get worn out prematurely and tires will last more miles, prolonging the need to replace them.


You’ll Notice Better Handling and Traction


Even tread wear means that there will be better traction all around, which helps the vehicle handle better and drive more safely. Balanced handling is most noticeable while driving in the rain and other wet conditions.


Rotations Maintain Tire Warranties


Did you get a warranty with new tires? The manufacturer may stipulate that tire rotations need to be done periodically for the mileage warranty to be valid.


How Often Should You Rotate Tires?


When you should get a tire rotation depends mostly on your tires and how much you drive. The manufacturer will provide a recommendation, and that’s what you should use as a guideline. Your vehicle owner’s manual will also have a recommendation in the scheduled maintenance section.


If you can’t find a manufacturer recommendation the rule of thumb is to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles. So, if you bring your vehicle in for a regular oil change, that’s a good time to get a tire rotation as well.


Many tires are designed to go 50,000 miles (although a lot of factors are involved with tire lifespan). That means the average tire will be rotated about 10 times.


You’ll also need to pay attention to the tire tread. If you see spots that are worn more than others or there’s uneven wear it’s a sign that you need a tire rotation.


Tire Rotation Pattern: Which One is Best?


Tires are mounted in specific patterns during a rotation service. Which type of pattern is used depends on a number of factors such as the type of tires you have, the size of the tires and whether your vehicle is front-wheel, rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.


There are three primary types of tire rotation patterns that are commonly used. They are:




The tires in the back are moved to the front and swap sides while the tires in the front move to the back and swap sides.


Forward Cross Pattern


The tires in the back move to the front and swap sides while the tires in the front move to the back but stay on the same side.


Rear Cross Pattern


The tires in the back move to the front but stay on the same side while the tires in the front move to the back and swap sides.


There are also four other tire rotation patterns that are less commonly used: They include:


Forward Cross With Spare Tire


This is the same as the forward cross except one of the tires moving to the back is swapped out for a full-size spare tire.


Half Rear Cross With Spare Tire


This is the most complex tire rotation pattern that’s usually done on rear-wheel and four-wheel vehicles. The back tires move to the front (without changing sides), the front passenger tire moves to the back driver side position, the front driver side tire is removed and a full-size spare tire is mounted on the back passenger side.


Front/Rear Swap


The front tires move to the rear and the rear tires move to the front.


Side-to-Side Switch


The front tires are switched with each other (driver side tire moves to the passenger side and passenger side tire moves to the driver side) and the read tires are switched with each other.


Tire Rotation Pattern for Uniform Non-Directional Tires


If your tires are all the same size and non-directional (designed to roll forward and backward in the same manner) one of the three most common patterns is used depending on your vehicle.


Front-Wheel Drive Vehicles


Either an X-pattern or forward cross pattern is used. Forward cross is the most common. X-pattern is most appropriate for light-weight vehicles.


Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicles


Rear cross pattern is typically suggested.


Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles


Rear cross pattern is usually the best option.


All-Wheel Drive Vehicles


Like four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive vehicles usually handle best with a rear cross pattern.


Tire Rotation Pattern for Uniform Size and Non-Directional With a Spare Tire


Do you have a full-size spare tire? If so, you’ll want to work it into the regular tire rotations so that the tread wear is the same. It’s a definite must if you drive an all-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle that’s more likely to experience poor handling because of uneven tire tread.


Front-Wheel Drive Vehicles


A modified forward cross pattern is the recommended pattern. The back tires move to the front diagonally (so they are now on the opposite side from where they were on the back), the front driver side tire moves straight back to the rear and the spare tire is put on the rear passenger side. The tire that was on the front passenger side becomes the spare.


Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicles


Use a half rear cross pattern with the spare moving to the rear passenger side and the front driver side tire becoming the spare.


Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles


Half rear cross with the spare moving to the rear passenger side and the front driver side tire becoming the spare.


All-Wheel Drive Vehicles


Half rear cross with the spare moving to the rear passenger side and the front driver side tire becoming the spare.


*Smaller, light-weight spare tires should NEVER be a part of a tire rotation service because they have a shallower tread and aren’t designed to go as many miles. Space saver spare tires are only designed to get you to a save location, like your local Jack Williams Tire, so we can repair your flat tire or replace the tire.


Tire Rotation Pattern for Directional Tires


Directional tires have a “one-way” tread. Even though they can roll backward, they are optimized for driving in forward direction. They are also designed to be used on just one side of the vehicle. For that reason, you should simply do a front/rear swap so that the tires remain on the appropriate side.


Tire Rotation Pattern for High-Performance Non-Uniform Tires


Vehicles with high-performance tires that aren’t the same size in the front and back require a different kind of tire rotation pattern known as the side-to-side pattern. Because of the size difference, the rear tires can’t move to the front and vice versa. Instead, simply switch the position of the front tires and then switch the position of the back tires. In the front and rear the


driver side tire moves to the passenger side and the passenger side tire moves to the driver side.


Tire Rotation Cost


Tire rotations need to be performed every 5,000 miles, but it shouldn’t cost much to extend the life of your tire tread so you get more miles out of them. In fact, at most shops, it’s one of the cheapest maintenance services.


Tire rotation cost will vary depending on the shop and where it’s located. It can range from being a free service with the purchase of a new set of tires or other repairs all the way up to $120. Most shops charge between $20-70 for tire rotation service along with a warranty for a specified time period (typically 6-12 months)


You may also be able to find specials that make the service cheaper. But at Jack Williams Tire, we do not charge you for any tire rotations. Come in today, and also receive a free courtesy check of your entire vehicle. The Jack Williams Tire Out the Door With Savings Deal also includes lifetime tire rotations when you get a new set of tires installed.


Tools Required for Tire Rotation


A tire rotation requires the use of a few tools that are common at a repair shop but not all vehicle owners have handy. To perform a tire rotation, you’ll need:


  • Car Jack (it’s ideal to have two)
  • Jack Stands (ideally 3-4)
  • Socket Wrench (to loosen the lug nuts)
  • Torque Wrench


Getting the lug nuts loose and tightening them back up requires you also proper hand torque the wheels to your vehicle’s specifications. You’ll also need to find a safe, level surface to perform the tire rotation.


Tire Rotation Process


Rotating tires isn’t a long, drawn-out process. A technician that knows what they’re doing and has the right tools for the job can get tires rotated in less 5 minutes. Even if you aren’t equipped to do the job yourself, it helps to know what the tire rotation process involves.


  • First, the parking brake needs to be engaged so the vehicle doesn’t move.
  • Lightly loosen the lug nuts on all four wheels but don’t remove them completely.
  • Use the car jack to lift the vehicle up at one tire.
  • Place a jack stand underneath the vehicle to keep it elevated. If you have 3-4 jacks you can repeat the previous steps.
    • Do not attempt to raise a vehicle off the ground if you are not trained how to do so and never crawl under a vehicle that is not safely supported.
  • Remove the tires by completely removing the lug nuts.
  • Rotate the tires using the appropriate pattern.
  • Screw the lug nuts back in by hand.
  • Lower the car back down to the ground.
  • Tighten the lug nuts securely, then torque to spec using a torque wrench. Do so in a star pattern to tighten the lug nuts evenly and avoid warping the rotors.


You can use the tire rotation as an opportunity to also:


  • Check the tread for depth and wear.
  • Inspect your tires for damage.
  • Check the air pressure and add air if needed.
  • Rebalance the tires if you’ve noticed vibration or a wobble (this must be performed on a tire balancer)


Find a Jack Williams Location for Tire Rotation Near Me

March 16, 2020
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