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These are my tires, Falken ZIEX ZE 914 (Size 175/50 R15 75H) mounted left and right.

enter image description here enter image description here

They are clearly asymmetric and have a distinct outside edge, but are not directional - there's no direction indicator and you can't buy right/left versions.

Now I'm wondering why the treads are not symmetric between the left and right tire.

It is usually said that mounting a directional tire against its direction causes a loss of performance, which is small on dry roads, but increases on wet / very wet roads. I'd say it would be no good idea to mount directional tires correctly on one side and against their direction on the other (You'd need four wheels with same direction for this)

So, is the effect so small that it doesn't matter for these tires since they don't have a V-shaped tread?

  • I think you're right, it's probably because the tread isn't V-shaped. In both pictures there are relief cuts that allow water to be redirected into the main channels. The improvement in water displacement may not be big enough to justify use of two molds for manufacturing left-side and right-side. – Zaid Jul 29 '16 at 12:18
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These tires are very common for standard cars. If you are steady, not speeding, not challenging your car on a wet surface, and love comfort, these tires are designed for it. The main cuts are helping the car to go straight on non tarmac surface (gravel, sand, soil, zombie guts, etc), the small cuts - for improving a grip when accelerate or brake. Technically if you don't really have a gravel roads, why not use "naked" tires like slicks? More rubber - more grip! Because the cuts helps to get rid of everything that sticks to a tire, so the rubber touches the tarmac and have as less as possible of a dust, dirt, and blood between. And if it is narrow enough, it goes on a wet surface alright, but still not great. Why the small cuts are not just in square angle across the tire is to keep the tires quiet and to extend the lifetime.


I'm not 100% sure, but I'd say V-shaped tires wears out a bit quicker.

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I have these tires. They asymetric between "inside" and "outside", but when you change the tire from one side of the car to the other, remember you need to turn the wheel around 180 degrees so the wheel faces the correct way for the bolts. Not becasue of the tire, because of the metal wheel. The "outside" will still be "outside". :)

  • Thanks, but that was not my question. It's clear that the outer edge always is the outer edge. The tread is divided into five stripes by that big vertical grooves. Now, on the left side, there are small groves starting at the inner edge, which form an upwards curve into the middle stripe. In contrast, the same grove on the right side forms a downwards curve. So the tread shown on the left is not a perfect mirrored version of the tread on the right. – sweber Aug 9 '16 at 12:18

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