Tire rotation

Tires are crucial for safe driving, considering they connect the vehicle to the road. It is important to maintain your tires properly, and tire rotation is a fundamental part of that. Due to a variety of factors, the use of tires may be unevenly distributed, and tire wear can be uneven. By rotating the tires, you can improve vehicle performance, extend the tire lifespan, and enhance safety on the road.

What is tire rotation?

Tire rotation is an important maintenance practice of regularly repositioning tires from one position to another on your vehicle. In most cases, the tires are moved from the front to the rear axle. Typically rotating tires takes around 30–60 minutes. The goal of rotating tires is to ensure even tire wear and prevent premature wear of your tires. 

How often to rotate tires?

The frequency of tire rotation can vary based on, for example, driving style, the type of vehicle, and how new your tires are. To know when to rotate tires, refer first to your vehicle owner’s manual. If there is no specification about how often you should rotate tires, we recommend getting them rotated every 4,000–6,000 miles (~6,430-8,000 kms). When your tires are newer, it's better to have a tire rotation done earlier on (closer to 4,000 miles/~6,430km) - especially on the first rotation. It is also good practice to rotate tires every time you change winter tires or mount your all-season tires back on your vehicle.

Nokian Tyres One
After wintertime, once temperatures climb consistently above 45 degrees Fahrenheit (~7 degrees Celsius), consider changing back to all season tires. 

How to rotate tires?

If you choose to rotate your tires by yourself, here’s how to do it: 

  1. Consult your vehicle's manual to identify the appropriate tire rotation pattern.
  2. Loosen the lug nuts on all four tires slightly without removing them.
  3. Use the wheel chocks to secure the tires that will remain on the ground.
  4. Lift the vehicle using a jack, and place jack stands to support the vehicle. Control the proper placement.
  5. Follow the recommended rotation pattern and move each tire to its new position.
  6. Carefully lower the vehicle off the jack stands.
  7. Tighten the lug nuts diagonally to ensure even and secure fastening.

Double-check always that all lug nuts are properly tightened. Remember, proper tire maintenance is essential for your vehicle's safety and performance. If you're unsure about any step, it's recommended to seek assistance from a professional mechanic. You can consult your local Nokian Tyres dealer for recommendations on local mechanics. 

Have your tires rotated on a regular basis - image of a car speeding down a road

Tire rotation patterns

If there are tire rotation pattern recommendations in the vehicle owner’s manual, rotate your tires following them. In case the manufacturer doesn’t provide instructions, here are the most common patterns used for non-directional, same-sized tires:

  • Rearward cross pattern. The front tires take opposite rear positions. The rear tires are moved directly forward into the front axle.
  • X-pattern. The tires in the front axle are swapped with the opposite rear tires.
  • Forward cross pattern. The front tires are moved directly forward into the rear axle. Each rear wheel takes the opposite front position.

There are two additional tire rotation patterns, which are used for high-performance and directional tires:

  • Front-to-rear. The tires are rotated between the axles, but without crossing the sides.
  • Side-to-side. The tires are crossed from side to side, but without swapping the axles.

Temporary spare tires should not be included in the patterns - they are only for temporary use. However, if the spare tire is a full-size tire, you might want to include it in the pattern. 

Why rotate tires?

Tires can wear unevenly due to factors such as improper tire pressure or varying weight distribution and steering forces. Just as mismatched tires, uneven tread wear may lead to issues including compromised handling, reduced traction, and increased risk of blowouts.

Also, many tire manufacturers demand regular tire rotation to maintain the warranty. Rotating tires ensure that you’re eligible for warranty coverage in case issues arise with your tires. In addition to that, there are several reasons why you should rotate tires regularly:

  • Greater tire mileage. When tires wear evenly, you can maximize their longevity and replace them only when truly necessary.
  • Better tire performance. Even tread wear improves steering and braking performance and improves the handling of the vehicle.
  • Enhanced safety on the road. Having all four tires in good condition is essential for safe and secure driving. Rotation helps keep tire condition uniform.
  • Cost savings. Uneven wear can lead to increased rolling resistance and fuel consumption. Tire rotation enhances fuel efficiency.

When it is time to buy new tires, we recommend replacing all four tires at the same time. However, as tires on the front axle usually wear faster than rear axle tires, it often happens that only a pair of tires is to be replaced. When that happens, make sure to move the partially worn tires to the front axle and mount better tires on the rear axle. By having a better grip on the rear axle, you have better control of your vehicle, which is particularly important in unexpected situations.

Replace the tires when needed

By practicing regular tire rotation and proper maintenance, you can make your tires last significantly longer, improve road safety, and enhance tire performance. Tires are an essential component of security on the road, so make sure to regularly check their condition. When there is too little tire tread remaining, replace your tires and drive safely, with peace of mind all year round. You can contact your local Nokian Tyres dealer for recommendations on what set of Nokian Tyres products will be most suitable to replace your old set of tires with.


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