What Happens If Tire Rotation Is Wrong?

What happens if tire rotation is wrong? Well, the answer depends on the type of tire you are using. Let’s explore this topic in detail.

Tires are one of the main components of a vehicle that are responsible for supporting the weight of the vehicle. While driving, tires offer traction and braking power. 

Unidirectional tires have a certain direction of grooves, in which they must be rotated. To understand this process, and what happens if tire rotation is wrong, read this article.


What Happens If Tire Rotation Is Wrong?


Understanding Tire Rotation

It is vital to regularly check the tires on your vehicle and get them replaced as soon as the treads on the tire wear off. Tires can be of different types, but based on the direction of the treads, there are two types of tires, unidirectional or asymmetric tires.

Types of Tires

A unidirectional tire has a V-shaped arrangement of treads. The inclined shape and arrangement of the treads are there to quickly pass water out of the tires to offer a better grip in wet weather. 

Why Tire Rotation is Important

To use this feature of unidirectional tires, it is essential to install the tires in a specific direction. If the tire rotation is wrong, then the tires won’t offer a better grip on the road, resulting in a higher risk of hydroplaning. 

The wrongly installed directional tires will be noisy, and the treads will also wear down much quicker.  

What about asymmetric tires?

Unless the tires you use for your vehicle are unidirectional, you can install them on your vehicle in any direction. There is no right or wrong direction for tires that are not unidirectional. 


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What Happens If You Rotate Tires Incorrectly?

If you rotate the unidirectional tires incorrectly, you will lose the tires’ grip in wet conditions. In unidirectional tires, the treads are shaped in a V pattern, which allows the easy and quick passage of water through the treads, offering better traction even on wet roads. 

If you rotate the tires in the wrong direction, the water will not pass through the treads, and the tires’ grip on the road will suffer. Improper rotation also increases the braking distance. It also leads to quick and uneven wear of the treads.

What is the correct way to rotate tires? 

Several factors are responsible for determining the correct way to rotate tires on a vehicle. Some of the factors are:

  • The type of tires on your vehicle.
  • The direction of the tire, whether they are unidirectional or multi-directional. 
  • Drive of the vehicle, whether it is rear, front, four, or all-wheel drive
  • Any spare tire that you can also use in the rotation

Let us look at how you can rotate tires depending upon their type and other factors.


What Happens If Tire Rotation Is Wrong?


#1. Multi-Directional Tires Of Uniform Size

Forward Cross

One of the main patterns for a vehicle is having front-wheel drive. In this rotation, the front tires are moved to the back without changing their side, while the back tires are transferred to the front.

Backward Cross

It is the most common pattern for rear-wheel, all-wheel, or four-wheel-drive vehicles. In this rotation, the rear tires are moved to the front without changing their sides, and the front tires are transferred to the back diagonally.

Cross or X pattern

It is suitable for lightweight vehicles having front-wheel drive. In this rotation, the tire’s position is changed diagonally. The front tires will go to the back by interchanging their place diagonally and vice versa.

#2. Multi-Directional Tires Of Uniform SIze With A Spare

Forward Cross

It is suitable for vehicles with front-wheel drive. In this, the rear tires are moved to the front diagonally. The front tire of the left side moves to the left, and the spare tire goes to the right side of the back. The right-side tire at the front becomes the new spare.

Backward Cross 

The back tires are moved to the front without changing their side. The front tire of the right side moves to the left side of the back, and the spare tire goes to the right. The left side tire at the front becomes the new spare. It is best suitable for vehicles with four or rear-wheel drive. 


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#3. Directional Tires

Front To Back

In the case of directional tires, the tires are switched from front to back and vice versa without changing their side. The front tires go to the back on the same side, and the back tires move to the front on the same side.

#4. Performance Tires Of different Sizes

Side To Side

The front tires switch their place, and the rear tires do the same.


What Happens If Tire Rotation Is Wrong?


Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Can a tire rotation mess up your alignment?

No, a tire rotation does not mess up your car’s alignment. Tire rotation is essential to maintain the overall health of tires and increase the life of the treads. 

These treads are responsible for maintaining a grip on the road while driving. Most manufacturers recommend rotating the tire after a few thousand miles so that the treads wear evenly.

#2. Is tire rotation direction important?

Yes, it is important to rotate the tire direction to maintain the tires and increase your safety.

Tire rotation refers to changing the position of tires on your vehicle from time to time. Routine rotation of the tires ensures even tread wear on all tires and increases the life of your tires. 

Most tire manufacturers recommend rotating the tires every six months or every 5000 thousand miles. Often manufacturers specify the time after which you should rotate the tires. 


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#3. What happens if you cross rotate radial tires?

Radial tires have a specific design with the cord plies placed at 90 degrees against the travel direction. These tires are of two types, multi-directional and unidirectional. 

If you cross rotate a multi-directional radial tire, it won’t cause any problem and is an entirely safe procedure. 

But you should never cross rotate unidirectional radial tires. Rotating a radial tire to the other side of a vehicle can cause the tread patterns to wear out unevenly. It will lower the tire’s performance, and it is also not safe to travel in bad weather.

#4. How do I know if my tires are directional?

There is a very simple way to determine whether your tires are directional or not. All you need to do is examine the sidewall of the tires on the outer side. 

If there is an arrow symbol that indicates the direction and either rotation or direction written on it, then it is a directional tire. The arrow shows the direction in which the treads of the tire are. If there is no such marking, then the tire is not directional.


What Happens If Tire Rotation Is Wrong?


Wrap Up

Unidirectional tires require an understanding of how to rotate them so that they will not lose their tread. The tread is very important because it grips the road and keeps you and your car safe.

Thank you for reading the article, we hope we were able to answer all your questions about rotating tires in the right direction. If you still have doubts, please reach out to us through the comments section.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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