I had believed that the practice of rotating tyres between the axles had fallen out of favour.
As front-wheel drive cars wear out the front tyres more quickly than the rear (they have to cope with the stresses of steering as well as deploying the car’s power to the road), I understood that less tread depth at the rear could make the car more prone to lift-off oversteer in slippery conditions. This isn’t something that fleets would be prepared to risk, and drivers would also be unhappy about.
I had heard the preferred course of action – no doubt people commenting on this story will correct me – when front tyres became worn, the rear tyres with more tread depth should be put on the front with the new tyres put at the rear.
The Mazda’s maintenance warning light came on at 6,000 miles, just over two months into our custodianship (as a former UK press launch car, there were already miles on the clock before delivery), working my way through the interface, the maintenance alert was tracked down to tyre rotation.
I checked with our Mazda contact and was told the car would need to visit a dealer for the tyres swap axles, and this was a Mazda UK policy for all the vehicles supplied to customers, not just vehicles for press appraisal.
I worry that it isn’t a practice common to most fleets, and a website poll concurs with just 23.4% of respondents saying their fleets rotated tyres to prolong tyre life. We’re now waiting for the job to be done. I don’t think I have driven the car particularly harshly in the last two months so the partly worn rear tyres shouldn’t increase the risk of lift-off oversteer too much. I hope.
At first glance, the price of our range-topping Mazda3 seemed a little high at around £24,000 as tested. However, when looking at an equivalent Volkswagen Golf and adding equipment to match the Mazda’s specification, the Mazda has a price advantage of around £5,000. This should be more than enough to combat any deficit between the two in residual value percentage.
Test MPG 58.8