AWD Element


I have a 2005 4WD Honda Element. Part one :I think the “4WD” is really a front wheel drive, AWD with a viscous coupling differential lock. So most of the time I am really driving a 2WD front wheel drive car, right?

Part two: I had the tires rotated after about twelve thousand miles, since I had a dealer do it, I have no idea which tires were put where. At twenty-one thousand miles I was planning on having them rotated again, but I had a blow-out of my front driver side tire. An inch long piece of metal from a paint-can that fell off a maintenance truck stuck in my tire and caused the side wall to explode.

Rather than replace all four tires, three of which did not need replaced, I decided to just replace the front pair of tires.

I am now at almost thirty thousand miles. Should have my tires rotated? Or should I leave the front tires alone since they don’t have as much wear on them as the rear tires? I know the inside wheel and outside wheel travel a different distance when turning, so do I need to rotate them anyway between the left and right?


Just from front to back.


Yes, your tires should be rotated.

The rotation pattern favored by Honda (most likely just switching front to back, back to front) is listed in your Owner’s Manual, in case you never consulted this little book. And, you should be aware that all tire manufacturers and knowledgeable tire dealers have a policy of mounting the new tires on the back wheels, so that is where those new tires should have been put in the first place. Although your tire dealer’s knowledge is certainly questionable, now is the time to rotate the tires if you want to try to even out the wear patterns.

As to whether your Element is normally a FWD vehicle that switches to AWD when slippage is detected, you may be correct. The CR-V (on which the Element is based) began life with this design. I believe that this may have been changed to full-time AWD in the redesign of the CR-V, so I am not sure where a 2005 Element stands on this point. However, once again, your Owner’s Manual can tell you for sure. Begin reading this booklet and you will be far more knowledgeable about the safe operation and the maintenance of your vehicle.


Yes, you should have them rotated. The tires with the most tread should be on the REAR of the vehicle. Always.