How to Rotate Radial Tires

Your safety while driving depends on a lot of things. One of them is your tires. Your tires need to be rotated from time to time to balance the amount of wear and tear on the treads, so one tires doesn't wear out faster than the others. Follow these instructions for rotating radial tires.

  • Determine if your tires are unidirectional or multidirectional Many of the radial tires sold today are unidirectional, meaning they should only roll in one direction. Unidirectional tires usually have a v-shaped or asymmetrical tread to resist hydroplaning [source: Tire Rack].
  • Rotate your unidirectional tires Since unidirectional tires are meant to roll only in one direction, they must stay on the same side of the vehicle. When it's time to rotate them, simply swap the front and rear driver-side tires. Do the same for the passenger-side tires [source: Tire Rack].
  • Rotate your multidirectional tires on front-wheel-drive cars Tire rotation is different for front-wheel-drive and rear-, four- or all-wheel-drive cars. For front-wheel-drive cars, cross the rear tires to the front and slide the front tires back, as follows: Move the rear driver-side tire to the front passenger-side and the rear passenger-side tire to the front driver-side. Slide the front driver-side tire to the rear driver-side and the front passenger-side tire to the rear passenger-side [source: Goodyear].
  • Rotate your multidirectional tires on rear-wheel-drive cars For rear-wheel-drive cars, cross the front tires to the back and slide the back tires to the front [source: Goodyear].
  • Rotate the tires on cars with different sized front and rear tires If your car has different sized unidirectional tires, you can't rotate them at all. If your car has different sized multidirectional tires, you can swap the front driver and passenger side tires with each other. You can rotate the rear tires the same way [source: Tire Rack].