Knowing how to rotate tires (and doing so regularly) can help make your tires wear evenly and last longer. Tires can be rotated on most cars, however there are several different patterns, each of which is designed for a specific vehicle layout. Follow the instructions in your owner’s manual if it specifies a rotation pattern, otherwise use the appropriate pattern for your car’s design.
If your car uses directional tires (tires that can only be mounted on one side of your car), your only choice is to rotate the tires from back to front and front to back. If your vehicle uses different sized tires on the front and rear, your only choice is to rotate the tires from side to side. If your car uses directional tires that are different in size from front to rear unfortunately there is no way to rotate your tires.
If your car is rear or all-wheel drive you have a choice of two options. In the X pattern the front left tire gets swapped with the rear right and the front right gets swapped with the left rear. The other option is to move the rear tires straight to the front, and then move the front tires to the opposite rear corners.
If your car is front wheel drive you again have two options. The first is the X pattern, the same as for rear wheel drive vehicles. The second option is to move the front tires directly to the rear and then move the rear tires diagonally to the front.
If your vehicle has a full-size spare that matches the other tires on your car, you can include it in your rotation. In a five tire rotation one of the normal four tire rotations is used, but the spare tire replaces the right rear tire and the tire that would normally have been rotated into the right rear spot becomes the spare. The advantages of a five tire rotation include equal tire wear in case you need to use the spare, and you don’t need to use jack stands as you can change one tire at a time.