Many consumers may not be aware that there are three different types of tires; directional, symmetric and asymmetric. It is important that the technician changing the tires know the implications of each.
When a consumer brings their car into the local tire shop for a tire rotation, or for changing tires on a Tire Changer, the technician must frequently pay careful attention to which tire goes where. They can no longer assume that they can just mount any tire anywhere on the automobile.
While some tires, like symmetric can be mounted anywhere on the vehicle, others cannot. If mounted wrong, it could have a serious impact not only on drivability, but safety as well.
Directional wheels can be mounted on the same side of the vehicle, but would have to be dismounted and re-mounted to the rims to assure they are pointed in the proper rotational direction in the event you were to change the side of the vehicle they are installed on. Directional tires can be asymmetric as well.
When it comes to asymmetric tires, you must keep one wall on the outside, since the inner half of the tread is not the same as the outer half. Technicians must pay attention to which side stays on the outside as there are indicators on the tire for rotation direction, as well as instructions on which side should be on the outside and which should be inside.
Some asymmetric tires can be directional as well, meaning that they must rotate in the proper designated direction.
The next time you go into to the shop to rotate your tires, you make want to take a closer look when you leave, to make sure that they were mounted properly.