How to Rotate Staggered Tires?

Published: 01/11/22 •  6 min read

Have you just installed new tires? Are they staggered? Do you want to improve the life of these tires?

If yes, then you can do that by rotation of tires on regular basis.

So, How can you rotate staggered tires?

The short answer to this question is that non-directional staggered tires can be rotated by side to side rotation pattern. This answer contains a lot of technical terms that need to be elaborated so that you can understand the whole process.

Let’s begin with the rotation of tires.

Rotation of tires

Rotation of tires means switching the places of all the tires of your automobile to ensure that each tire tread wears out equally. Different manufacturers suggest different timings for the rotation.

On average, tires should be rotated after 5000 to 8000 miles.

Rotation of tires ensures that each tire wears out equally. Since during the rotation process, all the tires are detached, it helps to inspect each of them and look for any abnormality in the tires.

If you want to increase the life of your tires, you should regularly rotate the tires.

Types of Tire Setup

To understand how tires are rotated, first, we need to discuss the types of tires and their orientation.

Based on the size, there are two types of tire setups, square tires and staggered.

Square Setup: If all the tires of your car are identical in shape, then those types of tires are called square tires.

Staggered Setup: For the case of staggered tires, the tires on the rear side of the car are bigger or wider in size compared to tires on the front.

Further, based on the tread design, these two types can be either be directional or non-directional tires. Directional tread-designed tires are meant to rotate only in one direction.

There are best for wet conditions since this tread type displaces water quite easily.

On the other hand, the non-directional tires can rotate in either direction. They are suited with all types of weather conditions.

(a) Directional Tires (b) Non-Directional Tires © TyreMarket.Com

Another classification of tire setup is rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive. In the next section, we will discuss the rotation pattern of each type.

Tire Rotation Patterns

Based on the type of tire setup, there are some tire rotation patterns, some of which are explained here.

For the tires, that are equal in size (square setup) and non-directional, we have three rotation patterns, forward cross, rear cross, and x-pattern.

Figure 2-Rotation Pattern for Square and Non-Directional Tires © BridgeStonetire

In the rear cross pattern, tires on the rear end are moved to the front keeping them on the same side of the axles, and front wheels are moved to opposite sides on the rear axle. This rotation pattern is for rear-wheel-drive cars.

In a forward cross pattern, tires on the front end are moved to the rear axle keeping them on the same side of the axles, and rear wheels are moved to opposite sides on the front axle. This rotation pattern is for front-driven cars. X pattern is also for front-drive cars. In this pattern, the positions of the tires are switched diagonally.

If we have high-performance cars, then we can have two rotation patterns, side to side and front to rear patterns. Side to side pattern is for cars with different tire sizes, such as staggered tires. In such a case, the position of rear tires and front tires are exchanged. Tires of the same size still remain on the same axle. This pattern is the one we need for staggered setup tires. The front to rear pattern is recommended for directional tires, in this case, tires on one axle are moved to the other axle, keeping them on the same side of the axle.

Rotation Patten for High-Performance Tires

Figure A – Rotation Patten for High-Performance Tires © BridgeStonetire

How To Rotate Staggered Tires?

The rotation of staggered tires can be divided into two cases.

Firstly, if you have a vehicle with staggered tires, that have directional treads, then the rotation of such tires is not possible. No rotation pattern is applicable in this case, since all the tires are different from each other. That is one drawback of directional staggered tires, they cannot be rotated. In this case, we can do another thing. We can remove the tires and reinstall them in the opposite direction.

The second case is when the vehicle has staggered tires but with non-directional treads. In that case, the rotation can be done using side to side rotation pattern. As mentioned earlier, in that case, the right wheels are swapped with the left wheels such that the front wheels remain to the front axle and the rear wheels remain to the rear axle, as shown in figure A.

How often should you rotate staggered tires?

Like other tire types, staggered tires also need to be rotated after running 5000-8000 miles. You must read your owner’s manual to find the exact criteria for your vehicle. So, to enhance the life, improve traction, and the performance of staggered tires, they need to be rotated regularly.

What are the advantages of Staggered Tire setup?

Staggered usually make the car feel more sleek and powerful, so it is thought that they are used merely for cosmetic purposes. But technically speaking, wider tires at the back do increase the performance potential.

To improve the grip and acceleration, an important thing is the contact area between the tires and the ground.

Since wider tires in the staggered setup have more contact area than a square step, this improves the traction of the vehicles.

Staggered tires are usually used when the emphasis is just acceleration. Many notable car manufacturers like Mercedes, Ford, Nissan, use staggered tires in their multiple car models.

Staggered tires are also very good for drag racing, in racing cars with huge horsepowers.


So, finally, I would say that rotation of staggered tires is different compared to the square setup.

They are not normally used in daily use cars, they are for high-performance cars, where acceleration is the key.

I hope by now, you would know, how the rotation of staggered tires is done.