Rotating tires on a dually truck or RV is a lot more complicated than vehicles with four wheels. Potential differences with the inside dual wheels and even aesthetic differences with the inner tire can make it undesirable to rotate tires on a dually with the preferred tire rotation pattern.
Dually Tire Rotation PatternThe standard rotation pattern for a dually truck or RV is called the Circular pattern. However, there are many complicating factors that limit rotation with six tires.
Most of the complications deal differences between the inner and outer rear tires. Directional tires and differences between the rear drive tires and front steering tires can also limit options.
Rotation can help uneven tire wear, although the root cause is usually a wheel alignment problem or out of balance tire. If you’re experiencing uneven wear you should be sure to have alignment and balancing services performed.
There are many possible patterns to choose from to rotate your tires depending on the limitations you’re facing with your dually.
Dually Tire Rotation Patterns
There are quite a few patterns to choose from when rotating tires on a dually. Let’s start with the most common and work our way down to the more unique patterns.
Circular Rotation Pattern (6 Matching Wheels)
If you’re not seeing any unusual or uneven wear, this is the best pattern to use.
The circular pattern is the preferred way to rotate tires with dual rear wheels. It’s a simple pattern where the front tires move to the outer rear, the outer rear move to the inner rear, and the inner rear move to the front.
With this pattern the tires do not switch sides of the vehicle. This makes performing a tire rotation yourself easier since you only need to jack up one side of the vehicle at a time.
This pattern will require all 3 wheels to be identical if you’re concerned about aesthetics. Dually trucks with steel wheels are the best candidate for circular rotation.
Dually Directional Tire Rotation Pattern (6 Matching Wheels)
Directional rotation with 6 tires gets a little more complex due to the fact that the outer wheels on the rear axle are mounted facing inward. You have to take this into account when rotating the tires.
This pattern isn’t recommended for non-directional tires since the circular pattern will do a better job of distributing tire wear more evenly across the tread over time.
This is also the way you would rotate white letter tires that are only on one side of the tire, which is typical. If you’re concerned about the aesthetics, this will ensure the white lettering is always facing outward.
While directional tires on a normal 4 wheel vehicle would never be able to change sides, they must on a 6 wheel truck or RV.
The front tires move to the inner rear positions. The inner wheels move to the outer positions on the opposite sides. The outer tires move to the opposite sides of the front.
Side To Side Rotation
Side to side rotation is best for situations where there are differences between the wheels or tires on the front and rear axle. This could be situations where you have towing tires on the rear and steering tires on the front. Or there may be wheel or tire size differences that prevent rotating front to rear.
When rotating the front tires, they simply switch sides.
4 Matching Steel Rims On Rear Axle
When rotating the rear tires when all the wheels are identical, each rear tire should spend time at each possible rear tire position.
This is achieved by simply shifting each rear tire over one position each time a rotation is performed.
Driver’s side rear outer moves to driver’s side rear inner. Driver’s side rear inner moves to passenger side rear inner tire position. Passenger side inner tire moves to passenger side outer position. Finally, the passenger side outer moves to the driver’s side outer to complete the loop.
Inner Steel and Outer Aluminum Wheels
When the outer and inner rims are different, the outer rears should swap with each other and the inner rears should swap with each other as well.
Dually Tire Rotation With A Spare
Including a spare tire when rotating tires will significantly increase the life of the tire set, ensure the spare doesn’t go to waste before dry rot causes it to fail, and better ensures the spare will be properly inflated and in good shape if it ever needs to be put into use.
There are a few different methods for including a spare tire when you rotate tires on your dually.
Dually Spare Tire Circular Pattern (6 Matching Wheels)
The modification to the circular pattern has the driver’s outer rear move to the spare position and the spare move to the driver’s inner rear.
Dually Spare Tire Directional Pattern (6 Matching Wheels)
If you have 6 matching wheels, usually all steel wheels, you would remove the driver’s rear inner wheel and place it in the spare location. The spare would move to the outer driver’s rear. Otherwise, the dually directional pattern would remain the same.
Dually Spare Rotation With Aftermarket Or Aluminum Wheels (2 Rear Inner Steel Wheels)
The spare tire is typically an inexpensive steel wheel. While many don’t bother to rotate tires with a spare when there are only 2 inner steel wheels, you can do so by mounting the spare at the passenger’s inner rear, rotating the passenger’s inner rear to the driver’s inner rear, and moving the driver’s inner rear to the spare tire position.
Dually Spare Tire Side To Side Pattern
If all 4 rear wheels and tires are the same, the driver’s inner rear will move to the spare position and the spare will move to the passenger inner rear. The rest of the rotation will be the same as the side to side pattern described above.
6 Tire Rear Tire Irregular Wear Rotation
If you’re experiencing wear unevenly across the rear tires on a dually, the inner rears and outer rears should be swapped. This obviously can’t be performed unless the inner and outer wheels are matching.
6 Tire Front Tire Irregular Wear Rotation
If you’re experiencing wear unevenly across the front tires on a dually, the outer rears and the front tires should be swapped.
This obviously can’t be performed unless the outer wheels all match. Aftermarket front and rear wheels will not be matching on a dually and can’t be rotated in this manner.
What Is The Proper Way To Rotate Tires On A Dually?
The proper way to rotate tires on a dually varies greatly depending on the limitations you might encounter. The best method, if possible, is the circular pattern.
The circular pattern requires all wheels and tires to be matching. This is often not the case for many dually owners. Frequently, front and rear outer wheels are aluminum while inner rears are steel. This makes it impossible to rotate your tires except for side to side, like for like swaps.
Side to side tire rotation has much less benefit than front to rear or inner to outer rear rotations. Experienced dually owners with 3 different sets of wheels on their truck usually don’t rotate their tires unless they are experiencing a problem with uneven tire wear.
How Often To Rotate Dually Tires
Tires on a dually truck or RV should be rotated according to the mileage requirement for maintaining your tire warranty. Tire manufacturer’s will usually require your tires be rotated before a certain amount of mileage is reached.
Generally, rotating your tires every 5,000 miles will meet or exceed this requirement, but it does vary so be sure to read the paperwork provided when you purchased your tires to be sure you rotate your tires according to the manufacturer’s requirements to maintain your warranty.
Is It Necessary To Rotate Tires On A Dually?
It’s necessary to rotate tires on a dually to maintain the tire warranty. Whether or not your tires have a warranty, rotating your tires will help ensure they last as long as possible and wear more evenly.
That said, many dually owners don’t rotate their tires unless they are experiencing uneven tire wear. Especially those with aftermarket wheels and aluminum wheels on the outer rear axle.
How Are Dually Wheels Mounted?
Dual rear wheels are mounted facing each other on the rear axle. The driver’s side and the passenger side will each have 2 wheels facing each other. The front and inner rear wheels are mounted as they would be normally. The outer rears are mounted facing inward.
Can You Rotate Aftermarket Dually Wheels?
Aftermarket dually wheels can usually only be rotated side to side. This is because the front aftermarket wheels and the rear outer aftermarket wheels are usually completely different designs. The inner rear wheels are usually inexpensive steel wheels since they can’t be seen.
Dually trucks with six steel wheels have the rear outers facing inward instead of outward. Aftermarket wheel designs account for this with unique but complementary front and outer rear wheel designs meant to be used with inner rear steel wheels.
Wheel alignment and tire balancing aren’t perfect and can drift over time due to potholes and curb strikes. These issues can cause uneven wear as your tires age.
Regularly rotating your tires can help even out uneven wear. This will help your tires last longer, ride smoother and quieter, and usually be a requirement for maintaining your tire mileage warranty.
Rotating tires on a dually is a long more complex than vehicles with only 4 tires but it’s still beneficial if you can have this tire maintenance service performed regularly.
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