How To Tell If Tires Are Directional (+How to Install It!)

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What are directional tires and how do you spot them? Directional tires are tires designed to roll, or move, in one direction.

They are preferred by most drivers because they typically provide more stability when driving through wet or dry pavements.

As you may guess, just as we have directional tires, there are also “non-directional tires,” which are tires designed to roll in either direction with equal performance.

Well, our focus today is directional tires; it is important that you know if your tires are directional or non-directional. Thus, this article clearly explains how to tell if tires are directional.

What Are Directional Tires?

Put simply, directional tires have their tread patterns designed in a particular way because they are meant to rotate/roll in one direction. If you mistakenly install them in a way that forces them to rotate in the opposite direction, they’d wear off easily.

Typical of directional tires, the tread pattern looks very similar – they always point forward, forming a “V” or “Y” shape design. Some people refer to these tires as “Unidirectional.”

So, when you hear about unidirectional – or just directional – tires, the message being passed is regarding a particular type of car tires. Now, how do you identify this type of tire?

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How to Tell If Tires Are Directional

How To Tell If Tires Are Directional

It is very important that you know the type of tires about to be installed on your car. There are basically two types of car tires, namely: directional (unidirectional) and non-directional.

If you’ve got a non-directional tire, you don’t really have to bother about the installation since the tire is designed to rotate either way. But, for directional tires, you must install them to rotate in the direction the treads are meant to roll.

Apparently, directional tires are clearly marked with an arrow indicating the direction they are meant to roll. That is to say, if your tires do not have any “arrow” marking on the sidewalls, they are non-directional.

Because directional tires are to be carefully installed, the manufacturers ensure to put the arrow mark that indicates the direction of the treads. This is to make the installation easy and seamless for anyone going to do it.

More so, it is important to note that directional tires are different from tires with symmetrical or asymmetrical tread styles. Tires with symmetrical and asymmetrical treads rotate in either direction and are preferred by some drivers.

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What’s Special About Directional Tires?

Typically, directional tires guarantee better hydroplaning and aquaplaning performance, and this is because of their tread design. The “V” shape treads discharge water quickly onto the roads, unlike symmetrical and asymmetrical treads.

If you look closely at summer tires, you’d notice that most of them have “V-shaped” tread grooves, so, they’re mostly directional tires. They are designed in this manner to ensure more stability and better hydroplaning.

Directional tires are “special” because of their tread pattern, which seems to be best for sports cars and ideal for drivers that drive high speeds. They deliver good traction and performance on wet trails, as well as deliver better handling in snow or mud.

More so, directional tires tend to look more attractive – have a better appearance – than other tires, and they promote quiet driving. But, you should know that directional tires are not the best to use as “spare” because they are rim-dependent.

How To Install Directional Tires

Everyone keeps saying that directional tires are quite challenging to install, and that is true. Yes, you need to be careful when installing this type of tire, because if installed wrongly, your car won’t drive swiftly as you expected.

To install a directional tire, you have to take note of the sidewall marking, and ensure you install the tire to roll in the direction of the arrow marking. Once you’re able to get this right, you did the installation correctly.

Note: if you cannot find an arrow on the sidewalls of a tire, it is safe to assume that it’s not a directional tire.

The marking may appear in different styles, but it’s mainly an arrow, pointing towards a particular direction.

What More?

Directional tires are typically more expensive than traditional tires used in passenger cars. The high cost is due to the better performance they deliver on wet and dry pavements. Hopefully, you now know how to tell if tires are directional.

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