There are a lot of decisions to make when looking at car tires. Anyone looking to get the best is asking – what are directional tires?
Are all tires directional, and what happens when directional tires are put on backward? These are all questions we answer in this comprehensive guide.
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What Are Directional Tires?
Directional tires feature a tread pattern that's only designed to rotate in a singular direction. With these tires, you notice that the lateral channels and voids of the tread point down and forward when looking at them head-on. As a result, the tread appears like two waterfalls coming together and joining to create a "Y" shape.
Directional tires are also referred to as unidirectional, meaning they are not meant to be used in both directions, but only one. The directional tire still allows for the car to move in reverse; it just isn't meant to be mounted the other way. Unlike other car tire types, the directional tires need to be dismounted and remounted on the appropriate rim to move from one side to the other.
Pros Of Directional Tires (Benefits Discussed)
Cons Of Directional Tires (Downsides Explained)
How To Tell If Your Tires Are Directional (Are They Easy To Identify?)
How do you know if you have directional tires? If you want to know how to tell if tires are directional, you must simply look at the tread pattern. Directional tires form a Y or V-shaped tread pattern as you look at the tires from the front. Symmetrical tires have a tread that goes in both directions, no matter which way they are mounted.
Do all tires have rotation direction? No, but it’s easy to learn how to tell if you have directional tires. Take a peek at the sidewall of the tire. If it’s directional, there will be an arrow pointing in the direction that the tires should be moving. Additionally, the words “This Side Out” should be clearly indicating which way they need to be mounted. Non-directional tires won’t have either of these signs.
Are Hankook Kinergy GT tires directional? This all-weather tire is directional, but are all-season tires directional in most cases? Most all-weather or snow tires feature a directional design.
Are Michelin Pilot Sport 4s directional tires? Contrary to what most people think, these tires are not directional. What about other Michelin tires? Are Michelin Primacy MXM4 directional tires? These are also not directional tires.
Are Bridgestone Dueler tires directional? These are not directional tires. Are Bridgestone Turanza tires directional? These are also not directional. Let’s look at another popular manufacturer. Are Continental Purecontact tires directional? No, there is no arrow on the sidewall. Are Douglas Performance tires directional? Yes, these are a popular directional tire. If you are ever in doubt, check with the manufacturer.
Directional Tires Vs. Non Directional Tires - Which Is Better?
What are non-directional tires? These tires are meant to be mounted in any direction and feature tread that can work either way. On the other hand, the directional tire is intended to roll one way, other than when in Reverse. While these tires can provide better handling, especially in low-traction situations, they are going to cost more than the non-directional tire.
Additionally, the rotation is going to look different. You won’t be able to simply learn how to rotate directional tires and do it yourself. Instead, the tires must be moved to a different rim if you plan to use them on the other side of the vehicle. Directional tires are only worth the extra money if you need more performance or want to increase traction.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
What happens when directional tires are put on backward?
While directional tires can be put on going the wrong way, they shouldn’t be. You want the tire to always face the appropriate direction for performance reasons. Having them on backward can decrease traction and negatively affect handling.
Are all-season tires directional? What about snow tires?
The majority of all-season and snow tires are directional. With this design, you can anticipate better handling and traction in slippery situations because water is pushed away from the tire with the V or Y-shaped pattern.
How do you rotate directional tires?
To learn how to rotate directional tires on AWD vehicles, you can move them from the front and back of the vehicle, as long as they are on the same side. You can’t move the tires to the other side of the vehicle unless you have them dismounted and remounted onto the appropriate rim.
Now you know how to know if tires are directional and what happens if directional tires are on wrong. Plus, we have shown you how to put on directional tires, so you are ready to tackle whatever is on the road ahead of you.