What are Directional Tires?
Directional tires are tires that can only rotate one way. When you look at such tires, you’ll see lateral grooves that show forward and down. Basically, you’ll see a V-shape on the tire pattern.
Due to their compact contact patch and the V-shaped channels, these tires offer better performance than asymmetrical and symmetrical tires. While V-shape channels evacuate the water much better and offer better hydroplaning resistance, compact contact patch offers better handling. So, these tires are perfect for high-speed lovers.
On the other hand, due to their design, these tires are hard to rotate. If you’d like to rotate them from left to right, you should dismount the tire from the wheel and remount it before installing.
The easiest way is the check outside sidewalls. Directional tires have an arrow at the sidewall that shows the rotation way. Near this arrow, you might see ‘Rotation’ or ‘Direction’ words.
Well, this method is for newbies and sometimes the rotation arrow is wiped away. So, how to identify it from the pattern?
Directional tires generally have solid center rib and V-shaped grooves that go through the shoulders. If these V-shaped grooves only show the same point, that means your tire is directional. In this case, the only thing you have to do is mount the tire in the same way that the V-shaped shows.
Note: Some directional tires can be only used on the left or right side of the vehicle. In that case, the manufacturer indicates the using side on the sidewall.
Directional Tires Rotation Pattern
As I mentioned before, the rotation of directional tires could be difficult. In this case, the game-changer is your wheel for formation.
If your vehicle has a staggered wheel formation(different sizes on rear and front), you should demount the tire from the wheel, change its direction and remount it. This process sometimes takes too much time due to the firm’s bead construction of high-performance tires.
On the other hand, if your vehicle has the same tire size on the rear and the front axle, the process needs a short amount of time and less action.
Front the back rotation can be used on vehicles that have the same size on both axles.
Since the tires on each side of the vehicle rotate in the same direction, the only thing you have to do is change the tire positions on between same side(front right to rear right, front left of rear left).
Side-to-side rotation is a tiring process for mechanicals. However, it’s a must for staggered tire formation.
Since the rear and front axle tires are differently sized, there is no way to rotate these tires front-to-back. So, side-to-side rotation is the only solution.
The disadvantage is side-to-side rotation is it needs too many processes. Since the directional tires don’t have zero offsets, you should demount the tires from the wheel, change the direction, remount it and reassemble them to the opposite side of the vehicle.
Note: Wheel alignment is crucial for this rotation type. If your mechanic doesn’t realign your wheels, remind him.
Can I use them on Backwards?
Directional tires can’t be used backward. Directional tires have solid handling, grip, and water evacuation capability due to their V-shaped pattern. If you backward directional tires,
- Biting edges won’t work as before, so, you’ll lose grip
- V-shaped grooves can’t direct the water inside the grooves, so, hydroplaning surely occur.
- Since the backward V-shaped has higher rolling resistance, you’ll consume more gas
- Since the tire is designed to perform in the one direction, its handling capability will decrease significantly
Are Directional Tires More Expensive?
Yes, directional tires are more expensive.
Directional tires are built for high-performance. Hence, they should be durable and lightweight at the same time. Due to achieving these goals, manufacturers should use different materials for an internal structure. Well, these materials cost more for manufacturers, inherently, the tires cost more for users.
Can I mix Directional and Non-directional tires?
Even though I don’t recommend it at all, in theory, yes, you can use them at the same time. Only with one condition, you should pair directional tires on the same axle.
So, in this case, you should closely follow your rotation time and check wheel alignment at a certain time period. Though worth reminding, since you should rotate directional tires side-to-side, it might cost you more than 2 tires in a long-time. Side-to-side rotation isn’t cheap.
Directional tires are elegant high-performance tires. You can easily define them by looking at the sidewall or checking the tread pattern which must be V or Y shaped(with a solid center rib add-on).
If you don’t wanna waste your time, check if your tire is on this list.
TireRack’s Directional Tires List;
I hope the article was helpful. If you have any further questions, please leave them in the below section.