which tire doesn't move when a car turns right
Tips & Tricks Car Tires

Which Tire Doesn’t Move When A Car Turns Right and Why?

To guarantee a car’s controlled movement, the vehicle’s tires play a vital function, and quality tires help ensure a safe and comfortable ride. Depending on the direction you turn, different wheels undergo different levels of tire pressure and rotate at different rates. 

In this article, we’ll explain the science behind the way tire wheels work when making a turn.

Which Tire Remains Static When A Car Turns Right?

When you make a turn, not all the tires on your vehicle will move. One will always remain in place. For vehicles making right turns, the rear right tire will stay put. 

Depending on your direction, tires will have different pressure applied to them. When traveling straight, all four tires experience pressure equally. However, when you turn left or right, the pressure can vary. This is because the wheels are spinning along separate axes.

Let’s simplify things and explain. 

When you make a right turn, the rear right wheel turns the least, functioning as a pivot point. During this turn, the wear and tear on each of the four tires that contact the ground will vary according to the pressure they experience.

The tongue-in-cheek reply to which tire doesn’t move when a car turns right is usually “the spare”. While humorous, this response does not help answer our question. In truth, when turning a vehicle right, the right rear tire rotates the least and moves along a smaller radius than the other tires. While it moves less than the other wheels, the rear right tire is not truly stationary.

The inside tires on a turn tend to have a smaller turning radius than tires on the outside of a turn. A majority of large cars and trucks find it difficult to make turns because of the length and size of the vehicle pivoting around the tire. The larger the vehicle, the greater the turning radius, and the more difficult the turn. 

which tire doesn't move when a car turns right

Does the Same Thing Happen When You Turn a Car Left?

When you turn your vehicle to the left, the same thing occurs with your rear left wheel. 

With left turns, the front left tire spins at the fastest rate. The slowest motion will come from the rear right tire, while the front and rear left tires should spin at the fastest rates. 

Since you’ll be within the vehicle, you will not be able to perceive the differences in speed among your tires. 

How Does A Car Steering System Work?

The science behind how the steering system works is best explained by how the two main components of the steering system are linked. These two components are the car’s front wheels and the steering wheel. 

A common steering system found in most modern cars is called the “rack-and-pinion steering system.

Rack-and-Pinion Steering System

This steering system is found in most modern cars. We’ll provide a brief summary of how the steering system works:

  • There is a shaft that extends down from the steering wheel. This shaft comes fitted with a round gear at the end called a “pinion”.
  • The pinion rests on a notched rod called a rack. Since the radial movement of the pinon is small, its connection to the rack allows for a greater turning motion than that produced simply by spinning the wheel. The pinion and rack connect to both the left and right wheels.
  • Every time you turn your steering wheel, the pinion rolls right through notches that are found on the rack, pushing it to the left or to the right, according to the direction of the steering wheel.
  • The shifting rack then moves the wheels on either side, angling them to allow a vehicle to turn.  

In short, the rack-and-pinion steering system uses a combination of notches and gears to communicate from the steering wheels to the tires of your vehicle.

which tire doesn't move when a car turns right

What Are The Factors That Make A Car Wheel Move?

The wheel balance and alignment, as well as tire life and tread wear, will determine how a car wheel moves.

Balance and Alignment

When your wheels and tires are unbalanced, the first thing you’ll notice is an annoying vibration when in motion. To ensure good fuel economy, car wheels must point in the same direction and roll straight. They should also be evenly balanced in order to ensure a smooth ride.

The wheel alignment has more to do with the suspension system of a car than its wheels. This is what affects the angles and direction or your wheels as they move. 

On the other hand, an even balance between the wheels on your vehicle must be achieved to ensure an even weight distribution between the wheel assembly and load-bearing weight of a tire to ensure it rides evenly.

It’s fairly common for unevenly balanced or misaligned wheels to cause uneven tread wear on a car’s tires. This not only affects the life of a tire but also makes turning and direction control difficult. Do you see why you should get your wheels aligned often?

Tire Life and Tread Wear

Even if the wheels on your car are properly aligned, the uneven tread wear of your tires may affect their performance and ability to turn. To achieve optimal performance, your tires should be rotated, as they should wear down evenly. 

Rotating your wheels prevents certain wheels from wearing out more quickly than others. To maximize and guarantee the longevity of your tire treads, you should adhere strictly to the rotation schedule advised by the tire’s manufacturer. 

In cases where you no longer have access to the manual, you can look it up online or consider rotating your car tires after every 5000-7000 miles. To have your wheels adjusted, it is recommended that you visit an auto service center or dealer, as they will know how to rotate them effectively.


In summary, the right rear tire rotates least when making a right turn. Because it rotates the least, it can appear as though the tire doesn’t move at all.

Now you know which tire doesn’t move when a car turns right. As we’ve gone over, you should also now have a better understanding of what controls a tire’s movement, as well as how to prevent car tires from wearing unevenly.