Goodyear is probably the oldest and most prestigious name in all of the tire making.
It was Charles Goodyear who invented vulcanization as a process for creating the kind of rubber that is now used in commercial tire making.
The brand also continues to be prominent both in the world of conventional vehicle tires and in that of racing and performance tires, as well.
This article answers “Are Goodyear Tires Directional?”…
Are Goodyear Tires Directional?
Yes, some Goodyear tires are directional, but not the majority of them. As with the majority of other tire brands, Goodyear reserves its directional tires for the “high performance” category as well as in some winter tires.
The fact is that directional tires are not as big a part of the business of Goodyear as more conventional symmetric and asymmetric tires that go on most passenger cars and trucks.
They are popular with people who drive performance cars, track cars, and also those who face severe winters and need tire tread that is very good at sloughing snow and water.
Which Goodyear Tires Are Directional?
Goodyear sells several tire products that are directional, the first of which is the Goodyear Ultra Grip Ice WRT winter tire which features very distinct directional tread channels.
Another model they sell is the Fortera SL Edition tires, which are street/sport truck all-season tires.
In addition, there’s the Goodyear Eagle F1 FS EMT, Eagle Ultra Grip GW-2, Eagle Ultra Grip GW-3.
What Are Directional Tires?
Directional tires are a special type of tire with a unique tread pattern and set of applications.
Arguably the most distinctive feature of any directional tire is that of the tread pattern design.
If you look at the pattern and compare it to other tires, you’ll notice some interesting things.
When compared to the symmetric tires, you’ll notice that both tire types are symmetrical or near-symmetrical in their design, but regular symmetric tires have their pattern moving across horizontally.
Directional patterns slope downwards as they move into the center, creating patterns much like a “V” or “Y.”
Another unique feature of a directional tire is that they are designed to roll only in one specific given direction, and be placed at a specific location on the car, be it front-left, rear-left, front-right, or rear-right.
The direction and position of the tire are indicated on the sidewall where you’ll find directional arrows and left/right position indicators.
Directional tires are usually used only by drivers who have a need for superior traction and performance, such as those who drive on a race track or in the throws of a severe winter with a lot of ice and snow.
What Are The Other Types Of Tires?
There are two other main types of tires that are sold, namely symmetric tires and asymmetric tires.
The former, as the name suggests, includes tire patterns that are symmetrical and run horizontally across the tire surface.
On a symmetric tire, there’s no difference between the inboard and outboard.
They both contain the same patterns, distributed at the same intervals with the same thickness and the same exact pattern on both sides.
On an asymmetric tire, the pattern also runs across the inboard and outboard horizontally, but the pattern and the tread are not entirely equal or the same on both sides.
Typically the outboard is laid on thick to provide greater traction when tackling tricky corners and dealing with difficult conditions.
Asymmetric tires are especially good in wet and wintry conditions and so are commonly used as the design for most commercial winter tires.
The tread pattern is created as such so as to create an effective channel to divert water, slush, and snow away from the tires to maximize traction.
What Are The Differences?
The main difference between directional and the other two types of tires is in the tread pattern.
Directional tires have a downward-facing tread pattern that forms into a “V” or “Y” shape depending on the exact style.
Symmetric and directional tires could be argued as similar in that they are both using symmetrical patterns for the tread, but the shape of that tread and application of the tire is different in both cases.
Directional and asymmetric tires could be argued as similar in the sense that both offers enhanced traction and proficiency at sloughing snow and channeling water away from the tires.
However, the tread patterns in each are clearly very different.
Another difference can be seen on the tire sidewall.
If you examine the sidewall of a directional tire, you’ll notice there are directional arrows indicating which direction the tire should be rolling.
Directional tires have to be installed according to these instructions, as well as the exact position of the tire according to the markings.
This is different from symmetric tires, which can be more freely rotated and placed as required.
Rotation in general is another big area of difference between the two tire types.
Directional tires are expensive to rotate because they require more complex procedures.
The general practice is just to switch front rear tires on each side, and not make diagonal rotations as is normally done on other cars.
How Can I Tell If My Goodyear Tires Are Directional?
You can tell if your Goodyear tires are directional by first inspecting the tread to see if it forms a symmetrical downward-pointing pattern forming either a “V” or a “Y” shape.
If it does, then you’re more than likely looking at directional tires.
Another sure-fire way to check for directional tires is to look at the sidewall to see if they are marked with position and direction indicators.
If they are, then you know that you’re looking at directional tires.
The latter is sometimes better as a way to check for directional tires because some asymmetric and directional tire patterns can look fairly similar or quite close in appearance.
The subtle changes make a big difference, however, but the untrained eye might not be able to spot it.
Are Directional Tires Better? Why?
It’s hard to say whether they are objectively better because there are different reasons that people have for using them.
If you need the added traction and/or you’re driving a high-performance vehicle, then yes indeed you’ll find that directional tires are better than others.
This is because directional tires handle far better at high speeds, which is why they are favored by just about all sports cars and race cars.
The directional pattern also reduces rolling resistance in the road, which can actually help to make directional tires more efficient.
On the other hand, directional tires are not really “better” if they are not the tire that suits your situation best.
They are more expensive not only to purchase but also to rotate.
In fact, you can’t rotate them in the same way as you would do on a regular set of FWD or RWD/4WD tires. This means they wear out faster.
Therefore, not only are these tires expensive, but you have to buy more of them to stay on the road.
This is another reason that they are reserved for performance cars, as directional tires’ efficacy is really about how much they are needed.
Are Goodyear Directional Tires More Expensive?
On the whole, yes they are. You can expect to pay between $200 or $300 per tire for a directional tire from Goodyear. It can even be as high as $500.
The more typical all-season tires that you’d expect on a lot of passenger cars are generally priced from $80 to $200.