Tips and advice to buy the right tyres - Symmetric, asymmetric, directional tyres: How do I choose the right tyre?

Symmetric, asymmetric, directional tyres: How do I choose the right tyre?

Buy the right tyres Julien

There are three main types of tread designs or tread patterns. How do you recognise them? What are their specific characteristics? How do you select the tread design that’s just right for your vehicle and your needs? Here are Rezulteo’s illustrated answers.

3 tyre tread patterns: Symmetric, asymmetric and directional Comparison between symmetric, asymmetric and directional tyres - Copyright © : rezulteo

Symmetric tyres: Road holding and value for money

The Kumho Solus KH17’s symmetric tread design Copyright © : rezulteo
As its name implies, the tread design of a symmetric tyre has identical halves. Less technical than an asymmetric tyre or a directional tyre, it is also cheaper. Furthermore, it generally offers another advantage: good road holding (greater straight-line stability). However, on the downside, it does not optimise all-round tyre performance, especially for wet road handling.

The symmetric tyre is mainly designed for city or compact cars that only drive short distances. It is also suitable for motorists looking for good value for money.

Fitting: A symmetric tyre can be fitted any way round. It can therefore be fitted and rotated without running any risk.

A few common symmetric tyres

       >> Dunlop SP Sport 300
       >> Goodyear Eagle NCT5
       >> Pirelli Cinturato P6
       >> Kleber Dynaxer HP3
       >> Kumho Solus KH17



Asymmetric tyres: Safety in all weather conditions

The Bridgestone Turanza T001's asymmetric tread designCopyright © : rezulteo

The asymmetric tread design is characterised by a different inner and outer tread pattern, with each zone playing a specific role in the tyre’s performance. As such, the inner part usually has open shoulders to quickly disperse water and limit the risk of aquaplaning, whereas the outer part is designed to stiffen the tyre for enhanced handling and cornering stability.  This technical quality comes at a cost: Asymmetric tyres are more expensive than symmetric tyres.

Several manufacturers have decided to fit their new car models with asymmetric tyres. This tyre is specifically designed for owners of mid to high end cars looking for improved safety on wet and dry roads.

Fitting: For asymmetric tyres, the fitting direction must be taken into account. Indeed, the word “outside” is stamped on the tyre’s outer sidewall.

Rotation rules  

A few common asymmetric tyres

       >> Michelin Pilot Sport 3
       >> Bridgestone Turanza T001 
       >> Goodyear Excellence 
       >> Continental ContiPremiumContact 5



Directional tyre: For a sporty drive and snowy roads

The BFGoodrich G-Force Profiler’s directional tread design Copyright © : rezulteo

With its V-shaped tread design and tread blocks that point in the same direction, the directional tyre is easy to recognise. It is particularly efficient on wet roads. Indeed, in heavy rain, water is quickly drained to significantly reduce the risk of aquaplaning and give better grip. This tread shape also improves traction, particularly on snow covered roads and in slush. Finally, car enthusiasts appreciate its sporty look.

The directional tread design is ideal for sports cars regularly driven on wet roads.  It is also recommended for motorists driving on snow covered roads.

Fitting: It is important to follow the direction of rotation shown by an arrow engraved on the tyre’s sidewall.

Rotation rules

A few common directional tyres

      >> BFGoodrich G-Force Profiler (summer)
      >> Uniroyal RainSport2 (summer) 
      >> Toyo Proxes T1R (summer) 
      >> Continental WinterContact TS850 (winter) 
      >> Michelin Alpin A4 (winter)