Rear Wheel Drive Tire Rotation Patterns

Rear Wheel Drive Tire Rotation Patterns

Regular tire rotation is a crucial preventative maintenance measure to ensure that your tires wear evenly. By rotating your tires every 5,000 miles, each tire gets a chance to spend time at every wheel position on your vehicle.

This promotes even wear across all tires and maintains proper handling balance, while also maximizing tire life and tread warranty coverage. Furthermore, if your tires wear out as a set, you can replace them all at once instead of having to match up an existing pair.

Tire rotations should be done in accordance with the owner’s manual or as established by the tire industry and diagrams can help guide you if necessary.

Important! Before deciding on a tire rotation pattern, it’s important to determine whether your vehicle is equipped with directional or non-directional tires.

Directional vs Non-Directional Tires

Directional vs Non-Directional Tires Infographic
  • Directional tires have tread patterns that are designed to rotate in one direction only. These tires typically have a V-shaped tread pattern with grooves that are angled to propel water away from the tire to prevent hydroplaning. Directional tires are ideal for wet weather conditions as the unique tread pattern provides superior handling and traction on slippery roads.
  • Non-directional tires, on the other hand, feature a symmetrical tread pattern that can be mounted in any direction. While they may not perform as well in wet and slippery conditions as directional tires, non-directional tires offer more flexibility in terms of rotation and are usually used for everyday vehicles, and are more affordable than directional tires.

Rear Wheel Drive Tire Rotation: Non-Directional Tires

Rear Wheel Drive Tire Rotation: Rearward Cross Tire Rotation Pattern

Rearward Cross

Rear tires are moved to the forward axle and kept on the same side of the vehicle while the front tires are moved to opposite sides of the rear axle.

X-Pattern Tire Rotation Pattern


This pattern involves moving all four tires to opposite axles and sides so that each tire has been moved diagonally from its original position.

Rear Wheel Drive Tire Rotation: 5 Tire Rotation

Rear Wheel Drive Tire Rotation: Rearward Cross Tire Rotation Pattern with Full Spare Wheel (5 Tire Rotation)

Rearward Cross

The rear axle tires move to the front axle. The spare tire is repositioned to the right side of the rear axle. The right front tire is shifted diagonally to the left side of the rear axle. The left front tire becomes your new spare tire

Rear Wheel Drive Tire Rotation: Directional Tires

Front-To-Back Tire Rotation Pattern


The front-to-back tire rotation pattern involves moving the front tires straight back and the rear tires straight forward, without changing their sides.

Differently-Sized Directional Tires

Side-To-Side Tire Rotation Pattern


The side-to-side tire rotation pattern is a type of tire rotation where the tires are repositioned from side to side. This type of tire rotation is most useful when dealing with vehicles equipped with different-sized non-directional tires and wheels on the front axle compared to the rear axle.

Why Is Tire Rotation Important?

Tire rotation is an important part of vehicle maintenance that helps ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your tires. Here are some reasons why tire rotation is important:

  • Firstly, it ensures even wear and tear on your tires. Tires typically wear down more quickly on the front axle due to the weight of the engine and transmission. Rotating your tires helps distribute this wear and tear more evenly, which can extend their lifespan and improve their overall performance.
  • Secondly, tire rotation can help improve your vehicle’s handling and traction. Unevenly worn tires can cause your car to pull to one side or affect your ability to properly grip the road surface. Regular rotation helps maintain optimal tread depth on all four tires, which in turn can enhance your car’s overall stability, traction and handling.
  • Lastly, regular tire rotation can help you save money in the long run. By preventing premature wear and tear and improving your car’s performance, you can potentially avoid costly repairs or replacements down the road. Additionally, properly rotated tires can improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, which can help you save money on gas costs over time.