Due to their pattern, both directional and asymmetric tyres require a specific method of fitting. In this article, we will look at how to fit asymmetric car tyres, with a step by step guide, as well as a greater understanding of their key characteristics.
In the gallery provided with this article, you can see images for all steps in the process of fitting an asymmetric tyre to a car wheel. Alongside these photographs, we have provided key instructions and important rules to ensure a correct fitting for your vehicle.
Most modern tyre service centres use advanced equipment for fitting tyres.
What are the key characteristics of asymmetric tyres?
Asymmetric tyres have different tread patterns on the left and right sides. The outside (the left-hand side of the tread in the case of the photograph, below) is responsible for tyre performance on a dry surface, with elements intended to ensure stability on turns. The inside part of the tyre (the right-hand side on the below image) services to expel water rapidly, protecting against aquaplaning, while also being responsible for the tyre’s general behaviour in wet conditions.
From left: the outer and inner parts of an asymmetric tyre tread.
This structural difference means that an asymmetric tyre must be fitted in a certain orientation, in accordance with the markings that appear on both sides of the tyre.
In short, the side of the tyre that needs to face the inside of the vehicle is marked “INSIDE”, while the side marked “OUTSIDE” must be visible to someone standing next to the vehicle when the wheel and tyre have been mounted. When it comes to the external side, however, there may be an alternative label, such as “SIDE FACING OUTWARDS” or “MOUNT THIS OUTSIDE”, but it should nonetheless be clear which side is which.
The INSIDE marking on an asymmetric tyre should appear on the inner side of the wheel.
The OUTSIDE marking on an asymmetric tyre must be on the same side as the front of the wheel.
Asymmetric tyres were formerly used on high-performance cars, but they can also now be found on popular mid-range vehicles. This is because of their unique advantages.
Specifically, these tyres combine the parameters of both symmetric tyres and directional tyres. This allows corners to be taken without any problem, even when driving at high speeds. They are also a great choice for cars with modern braking and traction support systems, as they interact very well with these features.
Another advantage of asymmetric tyres, appreciated by many drivers, is their attractive appearance. This tread design can be found on summer tyres, winter tyres and even all-season tyres so, no matter what tyre preference you might have, there is always an opportunity to try out this type of tyre.
Fitting an asymmetric tyre
Even when your tyres are fitted at a prestigious and highly renowned service centre, using the very best equipment, it it always useful to keep an eye on what is being done with your tyres. Just like anyone else, a tyre fitter can make mistakes and these are easier to spot when someone is watching from the side.
This is important, because incorrectly fitted tyres can cause numerous problems, as they are designed to provide specific benefits at specific sides and angles of the tyre. If they are the wrong way around, the “INSIDE” side - designed to help with corners - will be on the outside, where it has little influence during turns.
Before you start to fit your tyre, the valve must first be unscrewed:
The rim is then placed on a special mounting machine. This device is essential when fitting a tyre onto a wheel:
Before fitting the tyre, it should be cleaned with a special brush for this purpose, which should remove any remnants of the lubricant used during the last fitting:
Before the tyre is mounted, the edges are covered with a special lubricant, which helps apply the tyre quickly to the rim and further protect against a loss of pressure:
The correct process for fitting a tyre on a wheel, using specialised equipment and fitting machinery:
When fitting an asymmetric tyre, make sure that the “OUTSIDE” marking is on the same side as the front of the wheel:
Once the tyre has been fitted, it can then be pumped up:
If you have completed these steps, your tyre should be ready to go!
Note: When mounting a wheel fitted with an asymmetric tyre, always ensure the “OUTSIDE” marking is on the external side of the vehicle. This can’t be stressed enough, as it is a frequent mistake by many drivers and professionals.
Only when fitted in this way will the tyre ensure the best performance on all types of surface. If you’re looking for the right tyres to fit, below we have provided five of the most recommend summer tyres and five of the most recommended winter tyres with this tread pattern.