Tire rotation, including full size spare tire

I have a 2006 Chevy pick up truck, with a full size spare tire. GM only tells me about 4 tire rotation.

I think I could complete the tire rotation, if I knew where to start. Which wheel should I replace with the regular spare tire?

Or, when I get done, which tire should become the new spare tire? How about the left front tire?

Assuming that this is not the original set of tires and the ones on there are a different brand and/or model than the spare, I’d recommend just rotating the four and leaving the spare where it is. Different tires can have different handling characteristics and it’s better to keep all four the same.

How they’re rotated will also depend on whether the tires are “directional” treads. If so, they should stay on the same side of the vehicle and just swap fronts with rears.

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If you want to include the spare, mount it wherever you want, then follow the diagram. Move the tire you replaced with the spare as indicated, and when you get to the last tire, put it where the spare came from.

You’re making this more difficult than it needs to be.

It doesn’t really matter where in the rotation order you insert the spare, so long as you make sure that you’re consistent and that all the tires get a turn being the spare.

Personally I wouldn’t bother, as I think you’ll be hard-pressed to see any benefit from it-- at best you’ll break even since though you’ll possibly be able to go 25% longer between buying tires, you’ll have to buy 25% more tires when you do. The trouble is that since you’re only giving one tire a break at a time, three of the tires on there are always going to be more worn than the one that just got switched from being the spare and one tire that’s about to be the spare will have more miles on it than all of the others. Usually, and this is from my experiance of doing 5 tire rotations on one of my old cars, what happens is that eventually one of the tires ends up being completely worn out at around the same time as all of them would have with 4 tire rotations and since the other tires are all mostly worn down at that point you end up having to buy five new tires at around the same mileage as you would have bought four of 'em doing normal rotations.

And, for that matter, on a rear wheel drive (or mostly rear wheel drive if a 4x4) vehicle like this, the uneven tire wear is usually not that pronounced and unless you’re getting your rotations for free and your time costs nothing, rotating your tires in general doesn’t make much sense, though this is a different story with front wheel drive.

Why include the spare tire in the rotation? Do you really want to buy five tires the next time you need them instead of buying four tires? Why make tire rotation more difficult than it has to be?

The 5 tire rotation was the recommended tire rotation some 30+ years ago. It’s started to fall out of favor when radial tires were first introduced. Back then one a radial had 5-10k miles on them it was considered unwise to rotate them to the other side of the vehicle. So the 4-tire rotation became the standard. This is no longer true for radials, but MOST cars have the donut spare so you really can’t do it on those cars.

The 5-tire rotation does have advantages…You’ll get longer life out of the tires. If the spare is not used it may not be safe to drive after 10+ years.

Thank you for the explanation.

This brings up another question. When you rotate four tires, all four have relatively even wear. At least the wear is relatively even from side to side. If you throw a fifth wheel into the rotation, now you will have tires without even wear from side to side, either in the front or the back. Is that wise? Should you increase the frequency of rotation?

Here’s a way to buy only 3 tires next time: rotate without using the spare, and when it’s time to buy, keep the best one as the spare and use the current spare as one of the 4 ‘good’ tires. Of course, this requires you buying the same model tire…

AWD vehicles often are fussy about maintaining exactly the same tire diameter at all four corners. If you get half way through a set of tires and lose one, you can’t just buy one new tire. To keep the diameters the same, you have to buy a full set of four.

For such a vehicle, a five tire rotation pattern is an insurance policy. Because they are being rotated, all five tires maintain the same diameter. If you lose one, you can keep going on the remaining four. Use the replacement tire as a spare, but leave it out of the rotation pattern.

Whoa, here. Full size spare does not equal a “real tire” necessarily. It’s not a tiny donut, but it could be a full-size temporary tire. Make sure you are talking about a real tire.

I know this is a very old post, but things have changed a bit since 2008. For new people who see this, another thing to consider as a part of the economics of a 5 tire rotation is that you should be replacing your tires after 6 years anyway. If you have a full size spare with a matching rim, you can replace a tire that was never used or you can wear it out. Either way the spare needs to be replaced about as often as the rest of the tires or it becomes a safety hazard. If you have done it since the tires were new, don’t bother. There will be a significant wear difference if you start doing it at 20K miles and will most likely cause issues. Another safety item to consider is tire placement. Best tires should be on the rear axle because you can’t correct the rear axle the same way you can correct front wheel. Once you loose traction with the rear tires, it’s gone. You then have to control the front tires to mitigate the traction loss on the rear. The average person doesn’t know how to come out of a spin out. Asa result, it makes a difference. 20/20 did a story on it a few years back and proved it.