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I put on my winter tires today. For the first time, I noticed that the direction arrows on one of the tires point the wrong way: looking at the outside, the arrows on three tires point counterclockwise and on one point clockwise.

So I've put

  • two counterclockwise ones correctly on the left side of the car,
  • the clockwise one correctly on the front right, and
  • one counterclockwise one incorrectly on the back right.

(More context: They were already on their own rims, having come to me that way when I bought the car used. I've used them for three winters, and may get two more winters out of them. This problem may have arisen when I brought one of the winter tires, loose, to a tire shop for repair this summer, so I might not have driven in this incorrect configuration yet. Each tire has arrows on both sides, I believe. My car is front-wheel drive.)

Do I need to get it re-mounted in the correct orientation? If so, why? If not, why not?

EDIT: They're Winterforce, which appears to be a Firestone model.

  • what is the make and model of the tires? – Cc Dd Nov 22 '16 at 7:58
  • Most tyre shops will remount a tyre on a rim for cheap. Its possible to do it yourself but a PITA without the right tools. I'd stick some paper or cardboard onto the rim and draw a big arrow showing which way the rotation should go, before dropping the wheel off at the shop. – Criggie Jan 21 '17 at 9:17
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If the tyres have arrows on the sidewall, it means they are directional. They are designed to work better in one direction, if you look at the tread pattern, you may notice this.

When mounted correctly, directional tyres provide better displacement of water which means they are more resistant to aqua-planing. They will also be quieter when turning in the correct direction. Mounted in the wrong direction the tread pattern will direct water into the contact patch instead of away - this is dangerous.

Whether you notice the benefits or not, they manufacturers will recommend using them correctly. You should take that tyre to wherever it was mounted and have them remount it correctly.

Source: Asymmetric v. directional tyres

Edit: to address your edit, the information is mostly universal to all directional tyres, it appears that Firestone Winterforce is definitely a directional tyre and the manufacturer website confirms this.

  • The edit was because a comment asked for that info, not because of your answer. Your answer's fine. – Mathieu K. Nov 24 '16 at 2:16
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If they are directional tires they must rotate in the same direction. If you drive even at a slow speed they will give you difficulty in controlling the vehicle. Years ago I almost ended in a ditch because of it. This especially if one reversed tire is on the front.....not fun at all

  • And if it's not on the front? – Mathieu K. Nov 24 '16 at 1:41
  • It will do the same on the back end as well – Old_Fossil Nov 24 '16 at 4:49
  • To a lesser degree, I'm thinking, since the front wheels do most of the braking and all of the forward acceleration. Still, the back wheels are important when turning, which, in snow or ice, is a prime time to lose traction. – Mathieu K. Nov 24 '16 at 5:05

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