Are you looking into changing your normal street tires for some off-road fun? Mud tires are built for difficult terrains that your regular tires wouldn’t be advised to drive on, offering better traction due to their tread patterns, which gives mud tires an edge when driving in mud, dirt, and snow.
But what about directional mud tires?
Are Mud Tires Directional?
There are no purely directional or unidirectional mud tires. Mud tires are built with more asymmetric and symmetric shapes adjusted for off-roading, but there are bi-directional tires that are used for off-roading. Bidirectional tires are made with a similar V-shaped tread to unidirectional tires.
It’s lots of fun to get out in the woods or mountainous terrain and know that your truck, Jeep, or other off-road vehicles can handle the terrain. There are tons of options when it comes to sizes and styles, quality, and off-road vs street wheels, but what are the differences?
What Are Directional Tires?
Directional tires are made to go in one direction on the car itself, which means rotating the tires is a bit tricky, but these tires are designed so that the patterns of grooves and voids in the middle of the tire tread channel the water away from the car which makes for a safer ride in the case of heavy rainfall or flooding.
These tires perform well in wet or dry conditions, and they can handle higher speeds during wet conditions.
They’re also known as unidirectional tires. Because of the combination of the inner waterfall look and the two outer sides that guide the water out safely, they cannot be rotated left to right or right to left without dismounting and removing the tire from the wheel, but they could be rotated front to back.
These kinds of tires are labeled as high-performance tires because of the rubber used to make them but they give drivers more control even at high speeds.
They are even better on fuel economy because of their V-Shaped treads. This style of tire is used for sports and race cars because of their ease of handling.
Do Mud Tires use Similar Patterns as Directional Tires?
There are some kinds of mud tires that are directional, or really, bi-directional, meaning that they do have a bit of the double waterfall pattern or V-shape threads going on. But instead of the sidewalls funneling water only behind the car as with unidirectional tires, the walls are more open and allow for water to go both forward and backward when you put the vehicle in reverse.
The drivetrain with these tires is designed so that control and power are maximized in both directions.
Unfortunately, most mud tires are not directional. The two patterns that you’ll typically see on mud tires are more like rugged versions of the typical symmetrical and asymmetrical standard street tires.
They are made to grip and grab onto the terrain. This design of mud tires makes them non-ideal for street driving.
Mud tires don’t have that double waterfall pattern that you’ll see on a directional or unidirectional tire. The nice thing about these tires is that you can rotate the tires from side to side and back to front unlike with directional tires.
It’s recommended to rotate the tires every time you change them out from your regular street tires especially if you’re traveling over rough terrain with lots of rocks, sticks, and other obstacles that will put wear and tear on your tires’ tread.
Which Way do Mud Tires go?
It really depends on which kind of tire you have.
Mud tires are designed with the features of typical street tires such as the most popular symmetrical pattern which works best in almost all conditions and directions, has more resistance, and pushes water in a lateral way off of the tire.
There’s also the asymmetric tire which channels most water up and around the tire, has a great grip, and is good in almost all seasons and directions. Asymmetrical tires are can be V-shaped bi-directional tire which is used for off-road, high-performance racing.
Mud tires are built to go over rugged terrain which means that they have more tread and wider grooves and voids than a typical street tire.
How Do I Know if My Tires are Directional?
The best way to know is by looking down the tire at the pattern on it. The patterns and grooves that meet the road will be shaped in a dramatic way that suggests how the tire will drive as it hits either pavement or an off-roading trail.
You will notice that the middle of the tire pattern comes together to make a bit of a V for water to trickle down the bottom of the V as it excels down the road or trail.
What Happens When Directional Tires are Put on Backwards?
Directional tires are made with handy indicators on the outside wall of the tire that is shaped like an arrow and usually indicate whether they should be mounted on the left or right side of the vehicle.
For example, if you’re looking for the correct tire for the left side of your vehicle, you’ll see a few arrows pointing in the direction that the tire will roll and the word “Left” above or behind the arrows to indicate that the tire should be mounted on the left side of the vehicle.
Now, if you don’t follow the arrows or accidentally put the tire on backward, your car will still drive, but the special tread built into the tire will do nothing to help with hydroplaning by pushing away that excess water.
It would be more likely to push the water back in your path or onto your car, so, be careful that you have those tires put on correctly, otherwise, you might have a bit of a mess on your hands. You’ll also not have the other nice performance benefits that the directional tire is meant to do.
Are BF Goodrich Mud Terrain Tires Directional?
The BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tires are great examples of symmetric tires with wide grooves that are designed to fold around each other.
These tires are built for durability and grip, and they make a good tire for all seasons of the year. These tires have a good track record of off-road performance, but they aren’t unfortunately directional.