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Notes From the Road

Tire Rotation How-To, Swapping Ends
By Wayne Scraba/

You’d think tire rotation is a piece of cake, but in some applications tire rotation isn’t exactly simple. This Camaro is a very good example. While the front and back tires are similarly sized, they can’t be swapped from front axle to rear axle. Here’s why:
Wheels A (on Left) and B (on Right)
The wheels found on these cars look identical. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You see the wheel offsets on the front (first photo) differ from the wheel offset (backspace) on the rear (second photo), plus the tires are directional. With cars like this, there isn’t a lot of choice when it comes to tire rotation. The tires have to be dismounted and remounted on the appropriate side of the car in the proper direction of rotation.
Swapping Out Wheels in a 5-Tire Rotation
Something like a (common) pickup truck often allows for simple four- or five-wheel rotation. It gets tricky with a five-wheel rotation where the spare is mounted on a steel wheel (and the truck, such as this one has chrome clad aluminum wheels). If you want to keep everything looking good, the spare tire has to be dismounted and swapped out with the last tire/wheel in the five-tire rotation.
Example of Tire Rotation Instructions in an Owner's Manual
If all this still sounds confusing (and it sure can be!), check the owner’s manual. All of them should have a section dedicated to the proper care and feeding of the tires for your car. As shown here, the owner’s manual will show several different tire rotation combinations recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

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