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FOUR IDENTICAL TIRES: Can we rotate our tires for MAXIMUM wear benefits? NOT LIKELY, unless we carefully consider directional vs non-directional characteristics in our tire shopping process (I’m focusing on older, non-Brabus ForTwo models).

I’m no genius when it comes to tire rotation, but think I’ve gotten smarter lately. I know there are some on the forums referred to as “tire gurus” & their feedback may be invaluable here. I’d just like everyone to consider for a moment about how once we finally have the same size tires on all 4 corners, that unless we intentionally choose a “non-directional” tire (did you even consider that in your shopping process), you’re NOT free to rotate ALL of your tires in ANY of about 5 accepted methods (A-B-C-D-E) of tire rotation.

I’m referencing TireRack.com – TIRE TECH – Tire Rotation Instructions

If you’d hoped to rotate ANY tire to ANY accepted rotation pattern location (& achieve maximum wear distribution), your tire choice should have been NON-DIRECTIONAL. This is a symmetrical-tread design found on tires like the Continental ContiProContact Grand Touring All-Season design. Some love that tire. FYI: TireRack feedback indicates most owners would NOT buy that tire again.

As likely, your tire is “directional”, so you can rotate fronts to backs & backs to fronts ON THE SAME SIDE ONLY (which is a huge benefit in distributing wear, compared to our original non-rotatable configuration). Directional tire owners will just have to be happy with LIMITED rotation options.

A little more personal history: I own a Cabrio & a Pure, both 2008s. Recently, I bought a 4-wheel & tire set from Tire Rack that uses the 175/55 R15 tires on all 4 corners of the Cabrio. I’ll just say I loved it briefly before a granddaughter drove it off for the Fall Semester at ISU. Finally I can rotate tires & be done feeling that I was powerless to solve tire wear issues with the original different-tire-size configurations. PURELY BY LUCK for that order I selected Kumho Solus KH16s, an ideal, symmetric, non-directional design.

Forum value is priceless: learned the 195/50 R15 tire size is a more common, less expensive solution. Using the 4 wider OEM wheels from both of my ForTwos, I’ll use the KUMHO ECSTA PA31 tires on my Pure, an excellent value including a $40 rebate on a set of 4. Admittedly, it won't be pretty, I'll leave the nice OEM 9-spoke wheels initially in the rear, the wide steelies in the front, & they'll rotate F2B & B2F same side only, but at least they'll rotate some & wear will benefit, if not maximally.

Sorry if all this was no-brainer, 2nd-nature to many of you, but it was an eye-opener for me, just thought I'd share. Feedback appreciated.
 

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MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
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Our MY08 cabrio has been running 4-square non-directional for 7 years, best upgrade ever!

It does challenge the local smart Center - asked that they rotate the tires and was told that it couldn't be done. I then asked if he even looked at the 4 tires, he'd never seen that?

With that level of "expertise" I shortened the service list to oil change and safety inspection.
 
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