Symmetrical, Asymmetrical or Directional??

Regardless if you're shopping for Continental Brand Car tires or for your Lincoln Continental, more tires show tread patterns of unique shapes. One of the most frequently asked questions is "I mounted my asymmetric tread car tires purchased online and it looks like two of the tires are running backwards. Did I get two of the wrong tires?" 

The answer is "no," you did not get the wrong tires! The critical part of the tires in question is the outboard side being mounted out. Typically the outboard is going to have bigger tread blocks to stand up to the stresses of cornering better than the smaller tread blocks on the inside of the tread. Between the shoulder tread blocks some tread patterns seem to be running backwards, the significance of this appearance is overshadowed by the necessity to mount the outboard shoulder on the outside of the wheel.

So if you have the appearance of two of the tires running backward when looking at the tread but have the outside sidewall mounted out the tire is mounted correctly.

Below are examples of asymmetrical tread patterns:
Bridgestone Potenza RE-11

Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric 
Continental ExtremeContact DWS


Saturday, April 30, 2011 by Joe

For completeness you should show a symetrical tire pattern.
Saturday, June 6, 2015 by Jerry

So considering that it doesn't matter that the appearance or direction of the tread blocks matter from one side of the vehicle to the other, then why are the tread blocks designed directionally to begin with? Why not make the outside tread blocks symmetrical? Seems like manufactures have designed a tire to work best on just one side of the car and well the other suffers a design flaw but "not really important".

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