Regular tyre rotation and balancing are important to ensure a smoother and safer ride.
Just like our shoes, tyres keep our vehicles in contact with the ground. If we look at our shoe soles, certain parts wear out faster, depending on how and where we walk. Similarly, the way you drive, the road conditions, and even the route you take most often will affect the wear pattern and lifespan of your tyres. Constant braking, going over potholes, and making sharp turns can also subject the tyres to wear and tear.
Vehicles that are front-wheel drive experience more pressure on the front tyres. The engine weight also bears down on the front wheels, increasing the chance of the tyres getting worn unevenly as you drive. One of the signs that your tyres are worn out unevenly or are unbalanced is when you can feel the steering wheel vibrate. Just one tyre showing excessive wear is enough to affect your safety and your car’s performance.
Regular rotation of your tyres ensures even wearing of your tyres and maximises the traction of each wheel. During rotation, each tyre and wheel will be removed from the vehicle and moved to a different position on the car to ensure that all tyres wear evenly. Typically, for front-wheel drive cars, the front wheels and tyres will be installed on their corresponding rear hubs, and the rear tyres will be criss-crossed with the front hubs.
Even with cars that are all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, the front tyres still tend to wear out faster as most of the weight is offset to the front of the car, and steering and braking also involve the front tyres.
You can request for workshops to check the tyre balance in addition to rotating the wheels. The car mechanic will apply weight to even out the tyres. A balancing machine will measure the tyres to ensure that their rotation is even and that the car will run smoothly without vibrations.
This step ensures that all of your tyres are supporting an equal amount of weight. If there is a disproportionate distribution of weight, one tyre may wear out more than the others. This can cause irregular spinning and vibration, ultimately damaging the tyres. Balancing your tyres will prevent this and result in better performance and even wear.
Tyre rotation and balancing should be a regular part of car maintenance. It may be included in your car manufacturer’s servicing schedule. Check the owner’s manual for guidelines — they may differ for different models. If you drive up north regularly, conduct rotations more regularly as conditions there differ from ours. Remember to also check your tyre pressure at least once a month.