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After finding out that my front wheels were both aiming a little bit outward (together by half a degree), and apparently thus having caused the wear on the inside (inch or so) of the front tires, I had a thought.

However, before I could even utter my thought, the alignment specialist (who re-aligned the front wheels, and who works for a tire-seller) already strongly stated that moving the rear tires to the front was not an option. Drivability would be horrendously affected. (He also mentioned that moving the front tires to the rear wheels doesn't pose an issue.)

Although I trust his sincerity on the matter and I can follow the argument he provided, I still have my doubts whether the effect is significant.

So, is moving the rear tires to the front really a no-no?

The tires are 215/45WR17, the car is front-wheel driven and suffers from understeer. (That last bit of information may be driver-dependent. I don't know.) The tires are directional.

Final piece of information: What I had in mind was switching the wheels+tires, not only the tires.

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Note that the understeer that I mentioned is not due to the condition of the tires. I also experience it on new (top-endish) tires. (I'd like to ask a question about how to drive, but that doesn't seem on topic on this SE.) –  Glen The Udderboat Aug 21 '13 at 17:14
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1 Answer

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'm living in a country where we need proper winter tires during that season so I have to switch between tires sets twice a year. Each switch I rotate the tires (rotation depends if the tires are direction or not) and mark the position on the one I remove for the next season to make sure to rotate them.

Tire rotation is recommended (by Transport Canada and USA DOT) and I don't see an issue with that. The problem you facing is that your front tire "running band" (the part that touch the ground) may be worn and might need replacement and/or can affect drivability.

EDIT: Here some rotation patterns from the MoutainViewTire.com site: enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

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+1 Thanks. Do you perhaps have a more "official" recommendation (perhaps specifically for pattern D, when applicable)? Also, standard practice here seems to be to not-rotate the winter wheels! (However, in this country winter tires are rarely necessary. So, they are usually driven at speed, which might make a difference.) Additionally, there is an ambiguity between the "Front-to-Rear" description and the picture, which is front-to-rear and vice versa. –  Glen The Udderboat Aug 20 '13 at 18:18
    
Where I live (Canada) winter tires are mandatory and they are driven at speed (even over the speed limits, but not me). I'll try to find a more "official" recommendation and update my post accordingly. –  Gabriel Mongeon Aug 20 '13 at 18:33
    
Thanks for the official recommendations in your edit. I'll have a look in the owner's manual, when I find it, and see if there something on tire rotation. (Both refer to it). –  Glen The Udderboat Aug 20 '13 at 18:46
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Manual: "WARNING When fitting just one new pair of tires, these should be fitted to the rear wheels, as these are more critical to the directional stability of the car (e.g. on braking or in a skid). The existing rear tires should therefore be moved to the front. Always move left rear to left front and right rear to right front, so that the direction of rotation remains the same." But also: "If swapping the complete set, e.g. winter tires for summer tires, mark the tires removed to ensure that they go back in the same position (e.g. FL for front left, RL rear left, etc.)." –  Glen The Udderboat Aug 20 '13 at 19:01
    
I've posted a related question. –  Glen The Udderboat Aug 20 '13 at 19:35
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