Types of symmetric, asymmetric and directional tires

When we talk about tires, we immediately think of seasonal characteristics. That is, in the three classic and most famous types of tires: winter , summer and 'All Season' (also known as 4 Seasons). But few know that there are 3 major categories that differ with respect to the tread design : we talk about symmetric, asymmetric and directional tires.

How do they recognize each other? Which are your principal characteristics? Which is better to choose? If you also want to know the differences between symmetric, asymmetric and directional tires, continue reading this article.

Symmetric tires: the most used

This first type of tires is the most widespread in the market , mainly it is possible to see them in utility cars, compact (covering short distances) and commercial vehicles. The tread is characterized by a design with 2 identical halves : they have the same sculpture and the same design at the level of grooves and studs.

They are quiet and durable tires with good road grip and an interesting quality / price ratio. On the other hand, obviously, they are less advanced from a technological innovation point of view.

One of the main advantages is the possibility of rolling them in any direction  (and crossing them, too), causing all this to increase their duration.

Main characteristics of symmetric tires:

  • The tread has an identical design in the 2 halves;
  • You can mount them regardless of bearing position and direction;
  • They are silent and durable;
  • Suitable for utility and compact vehicles.

Asymmetric tires: safety in any weather condition

In asymmetric tires, the tread pattern changes according to the side to which the tire is intended.

The inner side is formed by open shoulders and small sheets to improve traction in case of moisture and snow, which allows a rapid expulsion of water and reduces the risk of aquaplaning . The other, external, on the other hand, is characterized by large blocks that improve dry traction and cornering stability.

They are intended for mid-range and high-end cars and sports cars , for owners and drivers looking for excellent performance in all road conditions.

On the side you will find the written "outside" (indicating the direction of assembly) and it is advisable to roll them in a transverse direction , moving them and crossing them alternately. This will do if the tread wears more evenly. See yokohama geolandar a/t g015 review for additional insights.

Next, we leave you the main characteristics of the types of asymmetric tires:

  • Tread with different design inside and outside ;
  • They must be mounted with the word "outside" on the outside;
  • The inner side is designed to improve traction in wet and snow;
  • The exterior is designed to improve dry traction and cornering stability;
  • They are suitable for large and sports cars .

Directional tires: better grip on wet or snowy floors

These types of tires are distinguished from the first two  by a fundamental characteristic: the direction of rotation. The directional tires, in fact, have an arrow-shaped mark on the side that indicates the direction of rotation.

The V-shaped tread pattern and the down-facing blocks improve traction on moisture and snow. For this reason, they are suitable for sports cars and for those who frequently travel on wet and snowy roads.

With this type of tire it is important to respect the mounting direction : in fact an incorrect assembly leads to less directional traction in moisture and less braking stability. To have a more homogeneous consumption, they can be reversed on the axis but not crossed.

Main characteristics of directional tires:

  • V-shaped tread pattern;
  • They must be mounted respecting the direction of rotation ;
  • They are designed for better wet and snow traction;
  • They are suitable for sports cars and for those who travel frequently on wet roads.


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