A good tyre is not cheap! Especially for folks that choose the premium brands. Caring for tyres can make a difference between bi-annual or annual replacement and 4 reliable years of use.
A tyre is that thick rubber ring that fits around the edge of the wheels. An ideal car has four tyres, two in the front and the other two at the rear. Apologies to those that drive vehicles that conform to the new trend of 6X6, they have to deal with two in front and four at the rear. Discussions about those vehicles will be deferred to another time.
Tyres are designed to support the weight of the vehicle, absorb road shocks, transmit traction, torque and braking forces to the road surface, maintain and also change the direction of travel.
Tyre rotation simply means systematically moving them round the wheels in order to achieve a more uniform wear for all the tyres on a vehicle. Rotating tyres periodically is very essential for automobiles safety and maintenance. The front and rear tyres perform different roles, consequently, they are likely to wear at different rates because the weight of a car is not distributed evenly to all four corners.
The engine, which is the heaviest component in a car, is usually at the front, thus, the front tyres tend to carry more weight. The front tyres also take care of all the steering duties, including when the brake is applied. That action shifts the weight of the car forward.
In the past, tyre rotation was a simple front to back or diagonal side-to-side rotation procedure but with the widespread adoption of spare wheels, uni-directional and asymmetrical tyres, it has become a bit more complex. It now requires the service of a properly equipped tyre service personnel with the right equipment to carry out a proper rotation.
When rotated at approximately every 10,000 kilometres, it helps to avoid costly mechanical repairs, save money on fuel and on the purchase of new tyres, by extending the life of the current tyres as much as possible.
The benefits are numerous, they include;
Better vehicle control
Tyres that are becoming worn tend to offer a less comfortable ride because the same part of the tread, which is wearing thin, is in constant contact with the surface of the road and traction decreases. Rotation can preserve balanced handling and help maintain traction especially when the roads are slippery.
If a tyre is worn while the others are still intact, you may find it hard to control the movement of the vehicle. In a case where all four tyres are wearing evenly, your vehicle can easily respond to a quick acceleration to pass, a sudden jam on the brakes, and be more responsive on tight corners.
Also, equally stressed tyres will help maintain your wheel alignment and balance, by reducing horizontal friction with the road.
Improved tyre lifespan.
Rotating the tyres on a car can help to overcome the problem of uneven wear, although this is not a substitute for ensuring the wheel alignment is corrected and the tyres are always inflated to the recommended point. However, other influences, such as uneven terrain and driving style can be a factor in uneven wear. Simply switching the front wheels with the back and the left with the right simultaneously, can help to distribute the wear more evenly, extending the life of the tyres by up to 20%.
Decreased vibration and noise
Since the wheels are controlled by the steering system, the tyres are forced to move and rotate in the same direction, as they are attached together. There is a possibility of an increase in vehicle vibration or noise when the tyres are unevenly worn, this is especially noticeable in the steering wheel. Rotating the tyres as at when due can curtail every strange noise and vibration while driving on the road at low and high speeds.
Improve fuel efficiency
Properly rotated tyres help the car steer and handle better which increases fuel efficiency by keeping tyre friction at its lowest safe level. This factor helps the engine to run smoother and efficiently thereby decreasing the amount of fuel required to propel the car.
Tyres affect vehicle fuel efficiency primarily through rolling resistance which is the measure of force at the axle in the direction of travel required to make a loaded tyre roll. As a tyre rolls under the vehicle’s weight, its shape changes repeatedly as it experiences recurring cycles of deformation and recovery. In the process, mechanical energy otherwise available to turn the wheels is converted into heat and dissipated from the tyre. Routine air pressure checks, rotations, alignments can also extend the life of tyres and increase fuel efficiency.
Ultimately, every car owner should understand that spending on regular tyre rotation will make huge difference on the overall maintenance and repair cost of the vehicle and ensure safety on the roads.