I just bought 4 winter tires for my car and all of them look identical to me. Shouldn't I get two tires for the left and two tires for the right side of the car?

Are these tires symmetrical? Well yes and no. The threads at the outer surface of the tire (i.e. the surface that touches the road) are symmetrical (see the first image). However, the pattern at the inner surface (one that faces the rim) is clearly asymmetrical (see the second image).

By the way, there are no markings that say "inside" on the tire's cheeks. There is a yellow dot printed on each tire (one side only). I guess I can flip the tires 180 degrees in order to match the rotation direction. However, if I do that, the inside pattern will stay asymmetrical (with respect to the car), and the yellow dots will be visible on one side of the car and not on the other.

I'm confused and I don't know what to do. There is no installation manual to find for these tires.

Can anyone tell me with certainty if it ok to use these tires on both sides of the car? (or did I get only left-side tires)

outer surface

inner surface

  • The yellow dot is to aid in installation when multiple tires are mounted on multiple rims in a factory. The dot indicates the heaviest (or is it lightest?) part of the tire, and this is matched up with a similar dot on the rim to minimize the out-of-balance before wheel weights are added during the final balancing step of mounting. It doesn't matter which side of the tire it's on.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Nov 28, 2020 at 16:40
  • If they are directional this should be indicated by an arrow on the sidewall, which shows the normal direction of rotation. Commented Nov 28, 2020 at 16:46

2 Answers 2


The winter tires I purchase have “Outside” or the direction of rotation clearly marked on one side.

This is because the tread pattern can be non-symetric about the centre-line - how the tread pattern is designed to reduce spray and clear tread etc.

It does make a performance difference with winter tires when the tires have been incorrectly mounted and you hit snow : tire fitter was apologetic and sorted it :)


Sometimes. Those that are different are called "directional" and have arrows showing the direction of rotation. I have had a couple sets and for ordinary driving- to work or the store , I found no noticeable difference.

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