Tire Tread Direction

Tires come in a variety of tread designs. The three basic tread designs and examples are listed below:

Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position (Directional)

Michelin Primacy MXV4 (Symmetric)

Michelin Pilot Super Sport (Asymmetric)

One of the most common questions I receive about tire tread design has to do with asymmetric tires. Their tread design makes it look like the tires on one side of the vehicle are rotating in the wrong direction. As long as the side stating "outside" on the sidewall is mounted facing you, then they are correct. Even though they may look wrong, the tires are engineered with different tread features and compounds across the tread design to optimize handling, wet and dry traction and ride quality.  

All of these types of tires can be rotated but not equally as well. Symmetric and asymmetric tires can be rotated front-to-back, back-to-front and across. Directional tires cannot be cross rotated unless you have them remounted for the other side of the vehicle.  

With regards to mixing tire types, it's always best to identically match tire models on the front and rear of the vehicle. If you have to substitute the tire for a different model, at least try to get the same tread design to ensure you receive the safest and best performance out of your vehicle.

To gain a better understanding on the differences between tread designs, read "Tire Tread Patterns."


Tuesday, March 13, 2018 by John

So for asymmetric tires, it doesn’t matter which side it goes to?
Wednesday, March 21, 2018 by Tire Rack Team

John, asymmetric tires have an outside when they are mounted to the wheel but then could roll either direction and on any position on the vehicle.
Friday, March 23, 2018 by Nick

So asymmetric and symmetric tires both have the benefit of being able to wear evenly given the fact they can be rotated to any position on the vehicle? I've been shopping for new tires and just want to be sure i have a tire that can be rotated to the opposite side hassle free unlike the directional.
Monday, April 2, 2018 by Tire Rack Team

Nick, yes, other than the directional tires you can run them either direction.

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