4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

JUST as ev­ery­one has an opinion on what tyres – and what pres­sures to run them at on var­i­ous ter­rains – are best suited to a four-wheel drive, it seems many peo­ple have their own idea on the cor­rect way to ro­tate the tyres to op­ti­mise longevity. If you’re ask­ing what we mean by tyre ro­ta­tion, be­cause, hey, they are ro­tat­ing all the time when the car is mov­ing, then let us clear that up.

No mat­ter what tyre or brand of tyre you’re us­ing on your ve­hi­cle – and no mat­ter how you use it – you should ro­tate their po­si­tion on the ve­hi­cle to op­ti­mise wear rate and longevity. Some peo­ple say you just swap them front to rear, oth­ers like to swap them side to side, and then there’s the idea of putting the spare into the ro­ta­tion so you don’t end up with four worn and one un­used-but-old tyre.

So, with 10,000km on them since we fit­ted a set of Bfgoodrich KO2S to photographer Ellen Dewar’s FJ Cruiser, and with an ex­ten­sive out­back trip com­ing up, we de­cided to ask the ex­perts about the best tyrerota­tion method. These are the BFGS we had fit­ted to our long-term Mazda BT-50 last year, and they did around 6000km on that car be­fore we pulled them off to give the car back. Ellen was look­ing for some tyres bet­ter suited to off-road use for the FJ, so, af­ter we checked the siz­ing

matched, we pulled them out of the shed and fit­ted them. Af­ter 10,000km on the FJ we also had two un­used spares to in­clude in the ro­ta­tion. Ellen also found a rivet in one of the rear tyres and, al­though it wasn’t los­ing air, we thought it should be looked at be­fore heading bush.

Bfgoodrich’s Prod­uct

Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Peter Heat­ley met us at the Tyres Plus store to give us an ex­pert opinion and, to our sur­prise, his first piece of ad­vice was to check the ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tion.

The FJ Cruiser Owner’s Hand­book rec­om­mends tyres be ro­tated ev­ery 10,000km by fit­ting the un­used spare to the near-side front wheel; the near-side front to the off-side rear wheel; the off-side rear to off-side front; the off-side front to near-side rear; and the near-side rear goes to the spare. This is for the FJC which is a part-time 4WD, so most of the time it is op­er­at­ing as rear-wheel drive when it’s not off-road. As such, the rear tyres should wear more than those fit­ted to the front of the ve­hi­cle.

Peter Heat­ley backed up Toy­ota’s rec­om­men­da­tion by ad­vis­ing to swap the rears straight to the front, with a front-to-rear cross­ing over the fronts when they move back. But Peter said that more

im­por­tant than go­ing by the book was to in­spect the tyres for wear and dam­age be­fore you do any­thing.

“Con­sumers are strongly en­cour­aged to vis­ually in­spect their tyres for cuts, trapped ob­jects and de­for­ma­tions and in­fla­tion pres­sure on a monthly ba­sis,” he said. “Any change in dy­namic per­for­mance, such as in­creased air loss, noise or vi­bra­tion, could be an in­di­ca­tion of an un­der­ly­ing is­sue.”

As ex­pected, the in­spec­tion of the FJ’S tyres showed the rears were wear­ing slightly more than the fronts, while even wear around the ve­hi­cle sug­gested no prob­lems with wheel align­ment or sus­pen­sion wear. The rivet in the near-side rear tyre was a prob­lem how­ever, and on re­mov­ing the of­fend­ing spike from the tyre it re­leased all the air. Be­ing on the out­side edge of the tyre tread, the punc­ture was deemed un­safe to re­pair and the tyre un­ser­vice­able. Bug­ger!

The best ro­ta­tion in this case was to fit the two as yet un­used tyres to the rear wheels as they would wear faster there, and then move the off-side rear to spare. The fronts stayed where they were and will be ro­tated to the rear af­ter an­other 10,000km, a mark that will be com­ing up soon fol­low­ing a 3500km ad­ven­ture on harsh, stony out­back roads.


A qual­ity air com­pres­sor should be part of ev­ery­one’s 4x4 kit. This al­lows you to op­ti­mise the pres­sures for var­ied ter­rain and main­tain tyre life wher­ever your 4x4 ad­ven­ture takes you.

Toy­ota hand­book shows that the cor­rect tyre ro­ta­tion is at

10,000km in­ter­vals.

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