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Snow tire rotation question

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by mithesaint, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. mithesaint

    mithesaint Feeling the Heat

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    I put the Blizzaks on the wife's Fusion tonight, and had a question for the tire experts on here.

    The tires are about 3 years old, but in pretty good shape. They are WS 70's I believe, and are directional. Looking at the tread, it was fairly obvious which tires were on the front last year, as there was a noticeable difference between the front and rear tread depth.

    My question is this: Should the tire with more tread go on the front or the back?

    I know that when you get only two new tires you are supposed to mount them on the back, to prevent fishtailing/oversteer. I also know that tires generally wear faster when they are on the front axle. So, should I put the tires with more tread remaining on the back to give better stability, or on the front to try to even out the tread wear?

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  2. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    You bought snow tire because they're safer on snow & ice right? So you want the deeper treads on the rear for the same reason as if they were all-seasons. You want to lose traction on the front first, not the rear where it could cause a spin.
    I'm a waste-not kind of guy so it kills me to put newer tires on the rear, or replace a whole set, but I'll follow the tire mfrs suggestions until someone gives me a good reason not to.
  3. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

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    I think you should rotate them often enough that the difference in wear between front and back is not significant. In the meantime, I myself would put the better tires on the front until things even out.

    Generally speaking, cars these days are designed to handle in a very decidedly under-steering fashion, so I wouldn't be too worried about tail-happy behavior with the better tires on the front until things equalize. Of course all bets are off if the driver is in the habit of braking or letting off the gas in corners.

    Also you may want to swap left for right by dismounting the tires off the rims and remounting to the opposite side. Usually the outside of the tread will wear more, so remounting to the opposite side will bring fresher rubber to the outside, if you're willing to take the time or spring for the expense.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  4. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Rotate frequently and don't worry about it for future tires. I change my oil and rotate tires, summer and winter, every 5000 miles.
  5. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yep 5000 miles for smaller cars and I guess 10000 miles for larger cars.
    Swedishchef likes this.
  6. Jim H.

    Jim H. Feeling the Heat

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    I did the same on my wife's Fusion as well. I put the Blizzaks on the front....it is a front wheel drive car. And the other tires which ever were had the most tread then went on the back. The dealer usually used a tread depth finder to make sure. They get rotated every year this way.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Snow tires should rotate in a counter-clockwise direction when the car or truck is in forward motion. If not, your tires are frozen to the ground (or your brake is still on).
    PapaDave likes this.
  8. mithesaint

    mithesaint Feeling the Heat

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    What about the passenger side tires? Aren't they clockwise?:)
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  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Picky picky. ;lol
    PapaDave likes this.
  10. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    FWIW, I rotate my tires every 10000KMs when I get an oil change. Why? Subaru's have full time AWD. If you let the tread depth vary significantly from front to back it gives the differential a hard time....
    PapaDave likes this.
  11. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Not if you're looking from the driver's side.:p
  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Be aware - directional tires can only go from front to back. No side to side swapping. The directional tread, like a tractor tire, doesn't want to be on backwards.
    Swedishchef likes this.
  13. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    And I think it is fair to say that 95% of winter tires these days are directional.

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