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Do You Need Asymmetrical Tyres? Pros + Cons For You

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Whether they're directional, multi-directional, or asymmetrical tyres, each design has its pros and cons. Let's explore which kind of tyre is best for you.

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  • Do You Need Asymmetrical Tyres? Pros + Cons For You

Most tyres have a similar appearance, but tread design plays a crucial role in driving performance, safety, cost, and the lifespan of the tyre. If you drive in specific weather conditions, need to haul additional weight, or want the most grip for your car, then picking the right design is important.

There are literally hundreds of different tyres, each with their own unique tread pattern. A collection of channels, sipes, and grooves serve to provide grip, traction, and aquaplaning resistance. Tyre manufacturers will also develop tread patterns to meet specific driver needs, such as dry handling, wet braking, and even traction on snow and ice.

Nonetheless, all tyres fall into one of three tread categories: directional, multi-directional, and asymmetrical tyres. Which is right for you? Read on to find out:

Asymmetric Tread Pattern

Asymmetrical tyres effectively mix two different tread patterns - on the outer and inner edge of the tyre - to provide a dual benefit to a driver.

On the outside edge, the tread pattern exhibits large tread blocks. These are designed to provide improved dry traction and handling, thanks to a larger contact area with the road.

Meanwhile, on the inside edge, the tread block is much smaller to provide better wet grip. It also increases the number of grooves to help disperse water on wet roads, thus reducing the chances of aquaplaning. In practice, this means the tyre is built to provide great all-round performance on both wet and dry roads.

Asymmetric tyres can be placed on either side of the vehicle, but the larger tread block must always be on the outside edge of the tyre to work effectively. That's why asymmetric tyres have words like "OUTSIDE" stamped on the sidewall. This ensures they are fitted with the tread block facing the correct way.

Examples Of Asymmetric Tyres:

  • Pirelli P Zero
  • Continental Sport Contact 2

Multi-Directional Tread Pattern

Multi-directional tyres are sometimes referred to as "symmetrical" tyres. As the name implies, this design features a tread block that is the same on the inner and outer sides of each tyre.

As such, the tyre can rotate in either direction and be fitted at any position on the vehicle, without any loss in performance. Multi-directional tyres are usually less expensive due to their simpler tread design. In contrast, they are less adaptive to changing road conditions, unlike asymmetric tyres.

So, while they offer excellent grip on dry roads, they may be less effective in wet conditions. Those who regularly deal with rainy, snowy, or icy roads should reconsider multi-directional tyres.

Examples Of Multi-Directional Tyres:

  • Bridgestone R630
  • Arrowspeed CP661

Directional Tread Pattern

Directional tyres will exhibit an arrowhead-like tread pattern, which provides a striking appearance. Besides aesthetic appeal, however, this design rotates in a single direction and, as a result, provides excellent performance in wet weather and good directional stability.

Because of their increased traction, directional tyres also perform well on snow-covered roads. In fact, many winter tyres have directional tread patterns.

Whereas asymmetrical tyres can be fitted on either side of a vehicle, directional tyres can only be rotated vertically (i.e. from front to back). Otherwise, the tread pattern will rotate in the wrong direction when mounted to a wheel on the other side of a car.

An arrow printed on the tyre sidewall will show the required direction of travel. This will also match the arrowhead-shaped tread pattern.

Examples Of Directional Tyres:

  • Goodyear Eagle F1 GSD3
  • Michelin CrossClimate+

Can You Mix Tread Patterns?

As a standard rule for tyre safety, you should not mix tread patterns on a single axle. For example, an asymmetric tyre won't provide the same wet and dry handling benefits if its counterpart is a different tread pattern. For the best results, you should replace tyres with an identical set to the ones you already have. This ensures the tread design matches exactly.

If you wish to change your tyre brand, make sure your replacement tyre has the same tread type as the other tyre on this axle. So, if you have a directional tread pattern, avoid replacing it with an asymmetric or multidirectional one, unless you intend to change both tyres on the axle. Mixing a Goodyear with a Michelin may be possible, so long as the tread matches.

Trust Your Tyre Change To The Experts

If you need a tyre change, are curious about which design will best suit your needs, or are interested in safely changing tyre designs, then trust it to the experts. Get in touch with your local Autofusion centre to book an appointment. Our mechanics are happy to lend their expertise and skill in getting your car road-worthy.