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Tire caster: does it make sense or not?

Defended by everyone in the past, today the tire caster creates more doubts than certainties

The number of people who support a caster must equal that of the caster. Not only when talking about traffic and traffic restrictions in big cities, but also when the proposed rotation is that of tires. Unanimity in the past, today there are several professionals in the industry who advise against changing the position of the wheels during use, as shown by the survey we have done with car manufacturers and tire suppliers. After hearing all the parts, the conclusion is that when possible, the feature is a good idea, even with the steppe inside the process.

Of the 18 brands consulted, only two are contrary to the rotation: BMW and Renault. The German company explains that the tires of the rear axle and the front of their cars are almost always different and this really prevents the procedure. But Renault claims it is safer to buy two new tires whenever the front axle (traction) ends. According to the brand, the two new units must go to the rear axle, transferring those that were there to the front. In a way, it is still a kind of caster, but simpler.

Of the 16 brands that recommend carriage, six include the steppe in the process when it has the same measure of others: Hyundai, Kia, Peugeot, Toyota, Chery and JAC. But why do they stand for this flag? After all, all brands offer the models that have the same safety features as traction controls and ABS, systems that could eventually be affected by tires under different conditions.

Economy and security

So let’s start with the defenders. According to most of the six tire manufacturers we have consulted, the first reason for rotating with the spare tire whenever possible is to ensure equal wear of the five tires. “We always recommend rotating, preferably every 5000 km,” says Vinícius Sá, tour tires manager at Goodyear Brazil. But most of the brands also allow for the change of wheels at each revision, ie a maximum of 10 000 in 10 000 km. “On cars in which the steppe is the same as the other wheels, that fifth tire is to be rolled from the 10 000 km in the rear or front on either side. The use of this tire stretches the life of the whole tire by 20%, “says Milton Araujo, Continental Pneus Customer Service Manager.

In fact, the rubber economy argument depends on the point of view: in fact, the entire set lasts 20% more, but at the end of the process the vehicle owner will have to buy five new tires instead of four. That is, exactly the economy that was made during the use.

Therefore, the most relevant argument is that of security. Buying just two new tires to replace the two that have spent the most (usually those of the driveline) always leaves an imbalance between the wheels. Caster would be a safety issue because all tires get very similar wear.

Three new ones, one expense

Now it is the turn of the staff that is against the inclusion of the steppe. According to them, the biggest problem is that with each round there will always be three tires worn together with a less rounded room (what was stored in the trunk). And this creates an imbalance, in this case not only between the axes but also between the right and left sides. Proponents, however, say that it is enough to change the wheels to 5 000 km in order to alleviate the problem. But it is good to remember that this only reduces the difference, does not eliminate it.

There is yet another argument from the counter group: the steppe, even if it is the same as the others, was not made to run, but rather to ensure that the driver arrives safely somewhere where he can repair or replace the damaged tire. However, against this thesis is the risk of rubber aging. “It’s to avoid this that we recommend using the spare tire on the casters,” says Flávio Santana, field engineer and product manager at Michelin. “The unused tire passes from the elastic state, achieved through the vulcanization of the rubber, to the plastic, in which it breaks more easily. It’s a slow process: the tire maintains its basic characteristics on average for five years, “says Renato Baroli, Dunlop’s senior marketing and sales manager.

Direction of running

It is also said that the steppe would disrupt the caster, in which the tire must have a running direction. But this is myth, from the time of the diagonal tire. No matter the direction, since the structure undergoes efforts in both directions, due to the accelerations and braking. Michelin’s Santana confirms the information: “There is only restriction of the direction of running on the asymmetrical treads, with sculptures predetermined to facilitate the drainage of water.” This, incidentally, is another polemic about the rotation. Some say that it has to be done in parallel, ie the front wheels go back and vice versa, but always keeping them on the same side. Others claim that only front-wheel drive cars should rotate in parallel. Other than that rear-wheel-drive cars have to do X or cross-caster (left front goes to the right rear and vice versa).

The truth is that one should follow the recommendation of the automaker, which is expressed in the owner’s manual of the car, since the sense of rotation can be different in models of the same automaker. If there is no mention of direction, wear the tread. If it is uniform, either the wheel in parallel or X. If it is more pronounced on the tires on one side, crossing them is the best option to balance the game.



In a short time, the doubt of including the steppe in the caster should disappear for a basic question: the version with the same measures of the other four is with the days counted. “Fine steppe is a world trend. It frees up space in the trunk and reduces the overall weight of the vehicle. Pressure monitoring is another thing that is increasingly present and also helps eliminate the spare tire, “explains Milton Araujo of Continental. The run flat model, which runs airless at 80 km / h for a distance of 80 km, is another threat to the steppe.


Do or not do the rotation?

Yes, without spare tire: Audi, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Volkswagen, Volvo

Yes, with spare tire (when it has the same average of the other tires): Chery, Hyundai, Kia, JAC, Peugeot, Toyota (except Corolla)

No indication of rotation: BMW, Renault

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