One of the things that are essential when it comes to tire maintenance is tire rotation. What happens here is that you are basically rotating your tires or changing their position so that you will be able to distribute the wear and tear on the tires evenly. However, when you are rotating your tires, does the direction the tires are facing matter?
In most cases, tire rotation direction matters, especially if you are talking about tires with directional tread patterns or asymmetrical tread patterns. That’s because the tread patterns dictate the position of the tires. However, tires with symmetrical tread patterns can be rotated in any position and in any direction.
All that said, the main determinant when it comes to the direction of the rotation of your tires is the tread pattern. It is important for you to know the tread pattern on your tires so that you will be able to tell whether or not tire rotation direction matters. This is essential because getting the position or direction of the tires wrong can be dangerous when you lose control of your vehicle.
Does tire rotation direction matter?
Drivers should know that tire rotation matters when it comes to properly take care of their tires. That is because the different tires on your car tend to wear out differently such that the front tires tend to wear out faster than the rear tires. When that happens, you will have to replace the front tires more often than the rear ones.
By rotating the tires, you will be able to distribute the wear on the tires evenly so that none of the tires get the brunt of the wear. This will allow you to replace the tires more or less at the same time because of how they will all wear out at the same pace.
So, rotating tires basically means that you change the position of the tires. For example, tire rotation may include switching the front tires with the rear ones so that the rear tires will now have to take more of the wear after the front tires have done their part.
But while we do know that we are merely changing the positioning of the tires when we are rotating them, what about the direction? Does tire rotation direction matter.
For the most part, yes, tire rotation direction actually matters. And the reason why it matters is that there are some tires that will work best whenever they are facing the direction they should be facing.
However, there are instances where tire rotation direction doesn’t even matter. And this is due in large part to the tread pattern on the tires, which are the basis for determining whether tire direction rotation matters. So, for you to understand that, let’s look at the different types of tires based on their tread pattern.
- Directional Tread Pattern
Directional tread pattern tires are the ones that require a specific direction of rotation because of how they have tread patterns that work best whenever they face that direction. This will allow you to optimize the grip and noise generation that the tread pattern of these tires offers.
For tires with this kind of pattern, it is important for you to look at the direction of rotation that is marked outside of the tire. This will allow you to determine the direction they should be facing after rotating the tires. Tires with a directional tread pattern are the ones that require a specific direction to face during tire rotation.
- Asymmetrical Tread Pattern
There are plenty of tires that come with asymmetrical tread patterns. The good thing about these tires is that they do not require a specific direction when it comes to tire rotation. As such, you can rotate these tires wherever without having to worry about whether or not they have to be rotated in a specific direction.
But the thing you need to know about tires with an asymmetrical tread pattern is that you still need to make sure that the tires still require a specific direction in the sense that the word “outside” on the tire should be facing outward.
- Symmetrical Tread Pattern
Tires with symmetrical tread patterns are the easiest ones to rotate. The reason is that the patterns are symmetrical and that it doesn’t matter what direction the tires are facing. Even the positioning of the tires doesn’t matter because of how symmetrical the tread patterns are.
As such, when your car is fitted with tires with symmetrical tread patterns, the direction and positioning of the tires should be the least of your concern when it comes to rotating your tires. This is why we said that tire rotation direction doesn’t always matter.
Which way do rotating tires go?
As mentioned, tires with certain tread patterns need to be rotated in such a way that they are facing the right direction. And the way these tires should be rotated will depend on whether you have a directional tread pattern or an asymmetrical tread pattern.
Tires with a directional tread pattern should be rotated based on the marker found on the tire. The marker should say whether or not the tire should be on the left or the right side. Meanwhile, there should be an arrow on the marker as well. So, when installing or rotating these tires, the arrow should be facing towards the front of the car.
On the other hand, tires with an asymmetrical tread pattern don’t require that they face in a certain direction whenever you install or rotate them. However, the thing you need to understand about these tires is that they should be installed or rotated in such a way that the “outside” marker should be facing outside. As long as you got that part correctly, it doesn’t matter where they go when you rotate them.
What happens if directional tires are put on backward?
Now, what if you got it wrong when you rotated directional tires such that they are now facing backward? What happens if directional tires are put on backward?
Directional tires are designed to make sure that the tread pattern allows them to perform at their best during certain conditions. So, if you made a mistake by putting them backward, you won’t be able to maximize the grip that these tires offer you.
In short, you will be rendering the tread pattern on these tires useless because they were designed to make sure that they face in a specific direction. On top of that, this can be quite dangerous as well because you might end up losing control over your car during wet or snowy conditions.
Tire Rotation: How and Why to Rotate Your Tires