Torque Shop: Is tyre rotation necessary?

My car has all-wheel-drive. Do I still need to rotate the tyres?

Whether your car is front-wheel-, rear-wheel- or all-wheel-drive, tyre rotation should be one of your regular maintenance routines.

The idea behind this is essentially to even out tyre wear across all four tyres and thus maximise tyre life and optimise front and rear grip.

The front tyres on any car experience more scrub every time the steering wheel is turned. In addition, during braking, up to 80 per cent of braking traction is endured by the front tyres.

On front-wheel-drive cars, engine torque applied on the front tyres adds significantly to tread wear. Hence, by the time the rear tyres are half worn, those in front would be almost completely worn.

On a rear-wheel-drive car, tyre wear is relatively even in terms of tread depth, but it is common nonetheless to find some differences in the wear-pattern between front and rear tyres. This is mainly because of the steering duties undertaken at the front. Flipping the tyres front-to-rear and vice versa is therefore a useful exercise.

The situation is not much different on all-wheel-drive cars. First, torque split may not be a constant 50-50. In fact, many such cars are designed with an unequal distribution, and torque will vary between axles according to driving and road conditions.

If you check the tyres on your car regularly, you will observe that the pair on one axle is wearing faster than the other.

Perhaps the only exception to the routine of tyre rotation would be for cars in which the front and rear tyres are of a different size, like those on many sports cars.

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