All about AWD tire rotation

By blackcircles Canada | Wednesday 16 June 2021 | BlogTips and guides

Do you have to change your tires soon? Whether this task is carried out by you or your mechanic, certain guidelines should be followed; in fact, a proper tire rotation is not done the same on a front-wheel drive vehicle as on an all-wheel drive model.

How to rotate tires for AWD?

Swapping the tires on your vehicle is not as simple as removing them, storing them and then putting them back on in whatever order when the season changes! In fact, there is an order to rotating tires on an AWD vehicle and following it is important.

To rotate the tires on an all-wheel drive vehicle, you must follow an “X” pattern: the left front tire will go to the right rear and vice versa; the same goes for the right front tire, which will go to the left rear.

Also, if your vehicle is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, it will need to be reset after each tire rotation.

This technique is specific to 4-wheel drive vehicles; the tires will not be rotated in the same way if they are mounted on a rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive model.

It is also possible to rotate the front tires in an “X” pattern (left front tire to right rear and right front tire to left rear) and put the rear tires on the front while keeping their original side (left rear tire to left front and vice versa on the right).

How often should the tires on an AWD vehicle be rotated?

According to the APA (Automobile Protection Association), tires should be rotated at regular intervals to promote the most even wear possible.

In general, it is recommended that tires be rotated every 10,000 to 12,000 kilometres, which is about the same as when you change your tires. You drive with your 4-season tires, remove them for winter and rotate them when you put them back on.

Caution: replacing only 2 of the 4 tires on an AWD vehicle is not recommended, as it could distort the distribution of driving force between the front and rear wheels, or damage the center differential.

Why rotate the tires of an AWD vehicle?

Rotating the tires on an AWD vehicle – like with any other vehicle for that matter – will extend the life of your tires and improve their performance.

Indeed, with the proper tire rotation for the type of drive system the vehicle is equipped with, you reduce the risk of uneven tread wear, thereby extending the life of your tires.

Not only will you enjoy better handling, but you’ll also have a safer ride because you’ll always have tires of similar size, and you’ll avoid the risk of imbalance between the front and rear of the vehicle.

AWD Tire Rotation pattern diagram

The following diagram illustrates the proper way to rotate tires on an AWD vehicle.

Image showing the X rotation of AWD tires

If you are not sure how to rotate the tires on your AWD vehicle, don’t hesitate to have it done at your garage. They will also be able to tell you how worn your tires are!

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