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Radial Tire Rotation Direction

I bought new snow tires last fall and had them mounted on an extra set of wheels so we wouldn’t be swapping tires on the alloy wheels. Well, when they took the all-season radials off the truck they didn’t mark where they came from. Now I want to put them back on but wonder if I will get separation from any tire that rotates the opposite direction that it was running before; is this an issue with “modern” radials?

It should not be an issue.

While I’m an advocate of keeping the tires on the same side to keep wear patterns consistant, in truth that concern goes back to when radials were new to the market and people really didn’t know much about their wear characteristics. There were a lot of myths back then. Unless the tires are a “directional” design they can go on either side without problem.

No it’s not an issue unless the tires have a directional tread pattern. In fact, the rotation pattern recommended in many owner’s manuals suggests switching tires from side to side.

Agreed that early radial tires could have a problem if the direction of rotation was reversed but that is no longer a problem. If you want to know which way the tires rotated originally then try this:

With the rim/tire held vertically and with the outside facing you, brush your fingers in both directions along the top of the tire tread. You should feel more roughness in one direction. The direction that your fingers move when they feel more roughness is the direction the top of that tire moved while it was turning when the vehicle was moving forward. If both tires turn out the same, then one was installed backwards on it’s new wheel. If the tires had whitewalls, then that will not have happened.

Knowing the original rotational direction, I would reverse the direction to even out tread wear.

My owner’s manual says to rotate them where they will turn in the opposite direction. 02 GMC Sierra 4WD. So much for urban legends.

You can safely put the tires on opposite sides of the car. In fact, I’ll bet your owner’s manual says so. So does Goodyear, and they make tires.

The tread separation issues were common back in the 70’s but tire construction has improved by leaps and bounds since then. Unless you’re riding on some 35 year old Firestone 721s, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

A lot of snow tires are directional these days. If they are, there will be a symbol of some kind on the side of the tire to show which direction they are supposed to rotate.

What brand/model snow tire? Someone might know if they are directional or not.