Directional vs. Non-Directional Tires: What’s The Difference?

We are here to inform you as much as we can about cars so you get them just like we do! While some articles are more informational than others, we want to share everything so you feel more confident talking about cars. Like today’s article: what is the difference between directional and non-directional tires? Did you even know that was a thing? Maybe, maybe not but let’s dig in!

Directional vs Non- Directional Tires: What’s The Difference?

Tired of me talking about tires yet? I hope not since there is so much you should know about them! Today we are going to talk about the term “directional” tire. The word directional refers to your tire tread pattern. We’ve talked about checking your tread before, so now we’ll talk about the different types of tread patterns you might see and how each differ.

As Tire Rack puts it, “tire tread patterns are the arrangement of continuous ribs, independent tread blocks, circumferential and lateral grooves, as well as the thin sipes molded into the tread to fine-tune noise, handling, traction and wear.”

The most common tread patterns you will see are directional, asymmetrical, or symmetrical. Each pattern means different tread strength which we will explain next.

Directional Tread Pattern

A directional tread pattern means the tread rolls in only one direction. This type of tire is great for wet conditions and will help more with hydroplaning compared to the others. They also are great on dry conditions because the tread dissipates heat while a solid center rib keeps the tire rigid for high-speed stability. Making these tires great performance tires for sport cars or track cars that need good traction on wet surfaces but also speed and durability. However, these tires can only be rotated front to back and have to be fitted a specific way.

Asymmetrical Tread Pattern

The asymmetrical tread pattern is the child of the directional tread and symmetrical tread. These tires have great traction due to having larger tread blocks on the outside for better corning on dry roads, yet smaller tread blocks on the inside for better grip & contact while driving in wet or snowy conditions. This type of tire offers the most grip. Meaning, these would be great if you want a tire for those icy winters but can then turn around and keep driving them throughout the summertime. They offer year-round grip, great traction in wet, icy, snowy conditions, you can drive them at fast speeds, and you have multiple rotation possibilities.  These are considered the all-weather type of tire.

Symmetrical Tread Pattern

Symmetrical tires are the most common everyday tire. These are your all-season tires that have even wear and can be driven throughout the summer and winter months. They have a long tread life and keep your car smooth and quiet while driving. They can be fitted and rotated in any way due to the continuous ribs across the entire tread face.

Make sure you buy tires based on how you drive. If you have a fun sports car that you drive throughout the summer and fall then I would go with directional tires. They allow the car to carry more speed while keeping the car stable. If you are looking for a tire with better tread then I would go with the asymmetrical tire, and if you just want a great tire for all seasons, then stick with the symmetrical tire. Of course, when deciding on what type of tire is best for your specific vehicle always refer to your owners manual or your mechanic. But, if they ask you what type of tread you think you want, you can confidently give them an answer!

There is a great article on tread pattern with pictures from Uniroyal if you guys want to read up on that! Link



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