This tire shows a directional-type tread design which is designed to mounted in one direction. James Halderman photo

Reader askes about directional-tread tires


Al wrote by e-mail: “My son purchased new tires for his Toyota. When he got home, he noticed they were one-way directional, which means you cannot cross rotate unless you remove tires from the rim. Is front-to-rear rotation adequate?”


Yes, rotating them front to rear is actually the most commonly used method and works well. The first rotation is the most important. Try to perform this at about 5,000 to 7,500 miles.

The usual tire rotation method is to switch sides of the non-drive wheels and go straight back or rear for the drive wheels. This method is called the “modified X” method. I always remember this saying:

“Drive wheels straight; cross the non-drive wheels”.

This means on a front wheel drive vehicle:

  • The front wheels are moved to the rear on the same side.
  • The rear wheels are crossed and moved forward.

By following this modified X method, every tire will eventually be in every wheel position. Some wheels cannot be rotated such as many high-performance vehicles that not only use directional tires but also different sizes front and rear. In this case, the tires must remain where they are and simply replaced (always in pairs) when they are worn.

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