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    When dealing with different types of tries and drivetrains, various rotation patterns are required for even wear on the threads. Tires can vary in size, and direction whereas drivetrains come in front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel, and four-wheel. All these factors come into play when building a tire rotation schedule.

    Rotational Patterns

    The five main patterns used are x-cross, forward cross, rearward cross, side-to-side, and front to back.

    X-Cross – As the name implies tires are rotated in an X pattern where the tires are switched from one axle to another and switched to opposite sides. The front left goes to the back right as an example.

    Forward Cross – In this pattern the front two wheels are put on the back axles on the same sides while the back two, just like the x-cross, are put to them from the axle and switched sides.

    Rearward Cross – This pattern is the inverse of the forward cross where the back tires move to the front axle without switching and the front tires are moved to the back axle but are switched.

    Side-To-Side – The first three all required for you to cross the switched tires. Side-to-side is much simpler where you only swap left to right for both the front and back tires with no axle switching.

    Front-To-Back – As the name implies the tires are rotated front to back with no left to right switching. The front tires go to the back and the back tires go to the front. Easy and simple.

    Tire Types

    For tire types, the two main factors that matter are their size, whether they are uniform or different sized and if they are directional or non-directional. Both affect how the thread is worn down. Possible combinations are uniform non-directional, uniform directional, uniform non-directional with full-size spare, and different directional. Note directional tires have treaded patterns that are made to rotate in only one direction and can easily be identified by their thread.


    Drive trains are a group of components that deliver power in the form of torque to the wheels of the vehicle. This power allows the vehicle to move. Drive trains come in a few forms such as front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel, and four-wheel. Front wheel drive is where the front wheels give the vehicle movement and the back wheels are used to turn. Rear-wheel drive is the inverse of front-wheel drive. Now four-wheel drive has the capability to drive using all four wheels but can also use two, it’s switched. Whereas all-wheel drive is always using all wheels to drive.

    Recommended Patterns

    Now that you have a better idea of patterns, tires, and drivetrain types we can put it all together.

    Uniform Non-Directional

    X-Cross & Forward Cross – Both can be used for front-wheel drives with non-directional tires. Good examples of vehicles that should x-cross are sedans and lightweight trucks.

    Rearward Cross – Best for rear-wheel, all-wheel, and four-wheel vehicles.

    Uniform Non-Directional With A Full-Size Spare

    Best rotational patterns to use if you wish to incorporate a full-sized spare into your schedule are forward and rearward cross. This allows all five tires to be worn down evenly. Be sure to use the information above for difference drive trains.

    Uniform/Different Directional

    As stated before, directional tires have tread that is made to rotate in one direction so it’s important to know these patterns.

    Side-To-Side – Now you been wondering when size was going to play a factor and side-to-side is utilized just for this pattern. Best for different tires sizes on the front and back axle. Normally these tires are for show or racing.

    Front-To-Back – When both the tires are the same size but directional, the front-to-back pattern is used.

    Putting it all together, Many factors come into play when picking a pattern such as the tire type, and drivetrain. Each come together to determine the rotation pattern that is required and should be noted in your rotational schedule. Doing proper rotational patterns allow the tire to last longer and improve vehicle safety.

    Still unsure or having a hard time understanding? Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. The family at T&S Automotive works hard to make sure every customers vehicle gets the proper attention it deserves. From our family to yours, we are here to help.