Correct tire installation – how to install directional and asymmetric tires?

In order for car tires to be safe to drive, they must be properly mounted. It’s not just about putting them on the rim correctly and balancing them. There are three types of tire treads – symmetrical, asymmetrical and directional. Two of them require special attention from the operator during assembly.

Types of treads and types of tires

Different types of tread have different properties. The symmetrical tread is the simplest type used primarily in models of tires for delivery vans and compact passenger cars. Asymmetric tires are more advanced. The tread is divided into zones – one of them is responsible for stability during dynamic driving and the other for safety on wet surfaces. Asymmetric tires offer higher performance for sporty driving. Directional tires, on the other hand, are extremely effective on wet and snowy surfaces. That is why they are very often used in winter tires. Each of these tread types can be found in summer, winter and all-season tires. The offer of the latter can be found at: Mounting asymmetric and directional tires requires proper mounting of the tire on the rim for the tread to perform its function properly. However, this does not matter with directional tires.

Tires with a symmetrical tread – the easiest to install

If there were only symmetrical tires on the tire market, the work of vulcanization companies would have less work. With these tires, the tread pattern is even, the same on the left and right, and the center of the tread is often defined by a centrally located circumferential groove. Such tires can be mounted in any way – without paying attention to the direction of installation or which part of the tread should be on the inside and which on the outside. Consequently, in the case of symmetrical tires, it is not necessary to read any markings on the sidewall. However, it is not worth being too daring – a tire with a symmetrical pattern on both sides of it can also be a directional tire. In such a situation, it is already necessary to pay attention to the correct assembly method.

What are directional tread tires?

Tires with a directional tread are characterized by a tread pattern in the shape of the letter V (most often) or U (less often). This type of design requires the installation of these tires in accordance with the rolling direction established by the manufacturer. Tires with a directional tread usually perform well on dry and wet surfaces, effectively shedding water from under the tire. There are also directional winter tires on the market that ensure high traction on snow.

Correct tire installation how to install directional and asymmetric

Tires with an asymmetric tread – characteristics

The most advanced type of tire in terms of tread pattern are tires with an asymmetric tread. These are tires that combine the features of various types of treads – they have a different arrangement of grooves and blocks on the left and right sides. For example, the outer part of the tread can have large, massive blocks, and the inner side has a system of wide grooves that drain water.

There are many variations of asymmetric tires. Some have been developed to provide both stability in fast driving on a dry road and safety on a wet road, others are designed to cope with the varying conditions of the winter season. The asymmetric tread is also very popular among producers of all-season tires.

How to correctly install tires with a directional tread?

As already mentioned, the tread of directional tires is V-shaped or U-shaped. The contact point of both parts of such a tread determines the direction of rotation of such a tire. During assembly, however, the operator does not need to carefully study the tread pattern, as such tires always have appropriate markings on the sidewall. It is usually written “Rotation” or less often “Direction” with an arrow indicating the correct direction of the roll.

Be especially careful not to fit these tires upside down. Then they will not work properly, which, however, may not be quickly noticed by the driver. Reverse mounted directional tires will show their weakness only on a wet road, when they will not be able to properly drain excess water, which may generate skidding. On a dry road, the problem will not be noticeable, although the tires will work louder than they should. Poorly fitted directional tires can also become unstable when entering corners quickly.

How to install asymmetrical tires and what is the risk of incorrect installation?

Tires with an asymmetric tread do not have to be fitted in the rolling direction, but according to the manufacturer’s intention as to which part of the tread is facing outwards and which part inwards. As with directional tires, installers do not need to study the tread pattern to determine the correct installation method. The inscriptions on the sides of the tire help them. This time, you will find different markings on both sides of the tire. Usually it will be “OUTSIDE” on the outside and “INSIDE” on the inside. There are also other variations of these messages, such as “SIDE FACING OUTWARDS”. If we do not know English, we should always look for the repeated phrase “OUT”, suggesting installation from the outside.

Incorrect installation of asymmetric tires may also not be immediately noticeable. However, their driving parameters will be significantly weakened, which will be visible especially in difficult driving conditions – on wet or snowy surfaces. An improperly installed asymmetric tire is also exposed to rapid and uneven wear of the tread.

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