Directional Treads

One of the fequently asked questions about installing tires is "is it possible to put my tires on backwards?" The answer is "yes!" Some tires made by Hankook, SumitomoBridgestone and many more tire makers are "Directional" or "Unidirectional tires."

Directional (Unidirectional) Tread Patterns

A directional (also called a unidirectional) tread pattern is designed to roll in only one direction and incorporates lateral grooves on both sides of the tire’s centerline. These point in the same direction resuin v-shaped tread blocks. These grooves enhance hydroplaning resistance at high speeds by pumping water more efficiently through the tread pattern. Directional tires are to be used on one side of the vehicle unless they are dismounted and remounted on their wheels. They are intended to be rotated from the front axle to the rear axle. If different tire sizes are used on the front vs. rear axle, they become location-specific and prohibit tire rotation unless remounted. Read more here.                                  

Some examples of the mentioned tire brands and the directional tread patterns are shown below.  
     Sumitomo HTR ZII                            Bridgestone RE960AS Pole Position                         Hankook Ventus V12 evo K110


Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by Peter

The centre tread design points to me me which way the tire is to turn? The tires in the pictures that you show should turn towards me.
Monday, January 2, 2012 by Gordon

Peter: The sidewall of a directional tire will indicate a rotation arrow.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012 by Iris

I just purchased Michelien winter ice tires for my Leus ES300 2002 model and wanted to know if the thread should be installed in any special direction? thanks
Sunday, September 1, 2013 by mike

directional tires pull hard left and cause difficult steering and excessive wear on my sl500 according to my mechanic. is this a correct diagnosis, possibly? I nev had this problem before these tires.

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