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Old 08-24-2022, 05:04 PM   #1
SailinAway
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Default Are rims directional?

I have my new tires. All is well. I'm still trying to figure out who mounted my previous tires in the wrong direction to follow up on this expensive error. These were Goodyear Eagles on a Chevy Sonic LT with 16" rims.

Sequence of events:

(1) Bought car with new tires from dealer

(2) Garage #1: Had the tires rotated first time. The garage didn't check whether the tires were directional; they said they never check that if they're not removing the tires from the rims.

(3) Garage #2: Had the tires rotated second time, different garage. The mechanic pointed out that the tires were mounted backwards and I saw that with my own eyes. He remounted them correctly. I immediately noticed tire noise, and within 20,000 miles from date of purchase the tires were finished---uneven tire wear.

(4) Garage #3 (tire dealer): Upon inspection of old tires today, the tire dealer said the belts were shredded, meaning the tires were dangerous and I didn't realize it. They said the damage was caused by the tires being mounted in the wrong direction initially.

I haven't had the alignment done yet, but the car is driving very straight and there is no tire noise.

My questions:

(1) Are my rims unidirectional, or can they be mounted on either side and either direction? See photo.

(2) Were the tires originally mounted on the rims backwards? Or were the rims installed on the wrong side of the car? My understanding is that they were mounted backwards, given that garage #2 removed and remounted the tires.

(3) Who do you think made the original error? I know it was not garage #2, because he pointed out the error to me. So it was either the car dealer or garage #1. Garage #1 says it couldn't have been him, because he didn't remove the tires from the rims, he only rotated them.

Scenario A: I know that directional tires can only be rotated front to back, not side to side. I'm thinking that if the tires were correct coming from the dealer, and garage #1 rotated them side to side, the tires would have ended up backwards.

Scenario B: On the other hand, if the tires were mounted backwards by the dealer, and garage #1 rotated them back to front, they would still be backwards, which they were.

Here's a photo of my car at the dealership on date of purchase. Unfortunately the letters on the tire aren't visible, but you can see the rims. They don't look like directional rims to me. Does that make both scenarios possible?

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Old 08-24-2022, 05:57 PM   #2
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never heard of directional rims and it's somewhat rare for tires but it does happen. Normally it affects the traction and noise but the maker has their reasons.
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Old 08-24-2022, 07:02 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SailinAway View Post

Sequence of events:

(1) Bought car with new tires from dealer

(2) Garage #1: Had the tires rotated first time. The garage didn't check whether the tires were directional; they said they never check that if they're not removing the tires from the rims.
Fun post--I love a brain teaser! The Mechanic killed Colonel Tire, with a lug wrench, in Garage #1...

Rims are not unidirectional, many tires are. When you bought the car, you had 4 tires spinning the correct way. The mechanic at Garage #1 rotated your tires by swapping the corners--front right with left rear, front left with right rear. This is typical for nondirectional tires, but it reverses the direction of the spin, so then you had 4 tires spinning the wrong way. With directional tires the correct swap is to move the front tires to the rear, but keep the tires on the original side of the car.

The line about only checking directionality with a rim change is a red herring
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Old 08-24-2022, 07:16 PM   #4
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FlyingScot, so you're going with scenario A. OK, I see that. But how did you rule out scenario B?

Also, upon research it turns out that there really are directional rims on which the spokes curve in a certain direction, but my are not directional.
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Old 08-24-2022, 08:24 PM   #5
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FlyingScot, so you're going with scenario A. OK, I see that. But how did you rule out scenario B?

Also, upon research it turns out that there really are directional rims on which the spokes curve in a certain direction, but my are not directional.
I saw the picture of the Sonic, I suppose I should have said "Sonic rims"

Original tires are installed at the factory, not the dealer. GM has better QC than a dealer. Very unlikely they mis-mounted the tires.

Most importantly, the mechanic gave you a BS answer--I only check tire direction when changing rims? Puhlease...
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Old 08-24-2022, 08:49 PM   #6
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Original tires are installed at the factory, not the dealer. GM has better QC than a dealer. Very unlikely they mis-mounted the tires. Most importantly, the mechanic gave you a BS answer--I only check tire direction when changing rims? Puhlease...
I bought this car used at a Nissan dealer. The dealer installed new tires on it.

I see your point about the BS answer. But both the dealer and garage #1 were adamant that they did not cause the problem, unwilling to even consider the possibility. The dealer's service manager claimed that installing tires backwards does not cause premature and uneven wear, which I think is also BS. I'm lucky the tires didn't disintegrate on the highway.
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Old 08-24-2022, 10:04 PM   #7
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This thread is making me hungry!
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Old 08-25-2022, 07:12 AM   #8
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Default Tires and wheels

Not rocket science as there are tons of articles on the internet.

No, rims/wheels are not directional. Most autos have the same rims on all 4 sides. Some specialty cars may have wider rims in the rear and need to be mounted in the rear, but they are not directional.

Take a look at your tires. If they are directional, there will be a logo showing the direction of the rotation when car is moving forward. Some tires will have a logo 'Outside' they are asymmetrical, designating the sidewall is to be mounted away from the car.

I always look for these whenever tires are installed on my vehicle. 50% of the time the tire jocks don't pay attention to this and I had them corrected.

Tires designated 'All weather' tend to be asymetrical. The thread pattern is different across the tires. These are the ones that cause the most problems.
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Old 08-25-2022, 08:44 AM   #9
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I bought this car used at a Nissan dealer. The dealer installed new tires on it.

I see your point about the BS answer. But both the dealer and garage #1 were adamant that they did not cause the problem, unwilling to even consider the possibility. The dealer's service manager claimed that installing tires backwards does not cause premature and uneven wear, which I think is also BS. I'm lucky the tires didn't disintegrate on the highway.
Did you pay for the service with a credit card? If yes, I would dispute charge
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Old 08-25-2022, 10:09 AM   #10
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The only time rims are directional is when they have an asymmetrical pattern to them, and even then it is only an aesthetic thing. Your rims are a basic style and are not directional.

Note that for some cars (but not likely yours) the front and rear rims can be different diameters and/or offsets (basically how far they sit in or out relative to the brake calipers).

Tires can be directional, usually higher performance tires.

My wife's Jaguar has high performance directional tires and different front/rear rims, meaning that tire rotations are not a thing for that car.
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Old 08-25-2022, 12:58 PM   #11
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Did you pay for the service with a credit card? If yes, I would dispute charge
No, I paid cash.
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Old 08-29-2022, 02:02 PM   #12
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I'm still confused about this. Can we distinguish between "tires were mounted on the rims backwards" and "wheels were installed on the car backwards"?

Garage #1 did not remove the tires from the rims. He simply rotated them.

Garage #2 said the tires were mounted on the rims backwards. He removed them and remounted them.

So was this an error of mounting the tires on the rims, or installing the wheels on the car?
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Old 08-29-2022, 02:32 PM   #13
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I'm still confused about this. Can we distinguish between "tires were mounted on the rims backwards" and "wheels were installed on the car backwards"?

Garage #1 did not remove the tires from the rims. He simply rotated them.

Garage #2 said the tires were mounted on the rims backwards. He removed them and remounted them.

So was this an error of mounting the tires on the rims, or installing the wheels on the car?
The directional tires either run clockwise or counter clockwise. Two on the left side running counter clockwise and two on the right side running clockwise. If you could not create that combination with the tires as mounted, then one or more was mounted "backwards".

Someone just not paying attention to what they are doing.
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Old 08-29-2022, 03:59 PM   #14
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So was this an error of mounting the tires on the rims, or installing the wheels on the car?
The rims do not have a direction UNTIL you put the directional tires on them.

The error was putting the rims/tires on the car with the tire arrows pointed the wrong way.

Note again that normal rotation practice for nondirectional tires is to swap the corners. For directional tires being rotated, each wheel stays on its original side of the car

It might help to visualize this if you draw this out or paper and/or use a toy car.
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Old 08-30-2022, 11:18 AM   #15
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Directional tyres will usually exhibit an arrowhead-like tread pattern which provides a very striking appearance. But there is more to directional tyres than just appealing looks. There is an obvious compromise when designing a tyre that works just as well rotating in either direction. Asymmetric tyres do just that and in some respects, this limits their performance. Directional tyres are designed to rotate in a single direction and as a result, they provide excellent wet weather performance and good directional stability. Because directional tyres offer excellent traction, they also perform well on snow covered roads. That’s why many winter tyres have directional tread patterns.

Whereas asymmetrical tyres can be fitted on either side of the vehicle, directional tyres can only be rotated vertically (i.e. from front to back) otherwise the tread pattern will rotate in the wrong direction when mounted on a wheel on the other side of the car. Asymetric tyres will display 'Outside' or 'Out' on the sidewall. No arrow-like pattern.
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Old 08-30-2022, 12:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
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The rims do not have a direction UNTIL you put the directional tires on them. The error was putting the rims/tires on the car with the tire arrows pointed the wrong way.Note again that normal rotation practice for nondirectional tires is to swap the corners. For directional tires being rotated, each wheel stays on its original side of the car It might help to visualize this if you draw this out or paper and/or use a toy car.
It's taking a very long time to instruct garages (and owners) of these rather ordinary passenger car tires.

On a wide range and number of vehicles, I've had asymmetrical tires installed correctly on my street cars, four VW campers, and track cars since 1965!
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Old 08-30-2022, 04:00 PM   #17
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The error was putting the rims/tires on the car with the tire arrows pointed the wrong way.
From that statement I deduce two things:

(1) Garage #1 rotated the tires incorrectly.

(2) Garage #2 was wrong to remove the tires from the rims and remount the tires.

If it was simply a matter of incorrect rotation, garage #2 could have just moved the tires to the correct side of the car. Instead, he removed the tires from the rims and remounted them. See why I'm confused?
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Old 08-30-2022, 07:51 PM   #18
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From that statement I deduce two things:

(1) Garage #1 rotated the tires incorrectly.

(2) Garage #2 was wrong to remove the tires from the rims and remount the tires.

If it was simply a matter of incorrect rotation, garage #2 could have just moved the tires to the correct side of the car. Instead, he removed the tires from the rims and remounted them. See why I'm confused?
Oops--I confess I was so excited about #1 that I ignored #2. I agree there is no reason to remove tires from rims for rotation
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Old 08-30-2022, 09:02 PM   #19
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Oops--I confess I was so excited about #1 that I ignored #2. I agree there is no reason to remove tires from rims for rotation
Boy, is this ever bizarre. It sounds like both garages made a mistake. I guess I will just have to chalk this up to experience.
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Old 08-31-2022, 08:12 AM   #20
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The mechanic at Garage #1 rotated your tires by swapping the corners--front right with left rear, front left with right rear.
I make a habit when tires/wheels are rotated. To specifically state first to service person AND mechanic to rotate ONLY front to back/back to front.

One does have to state this quite clearly and repeatedly. To ALL involved in process.
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Old 09-07-2022, 11:05 AM   #21
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Default And the answer to the mystery is??

After reading all of the above posts, I still don't know who made the original error with these tires. Does anyone know?

Reviewing my records, I found that garage #2 said that only two of the tires were mounted backwards on the rims, if that helps.

I still have no idea why garage #2 removed the tires from the rims, if the rims are bi-directional.
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Old 10-04-2022, 07:45 PM   #22
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I talked to another mechanic today. He said that rims are not symmetrical---you can't reverse them inside/outside. Therefore I believe my tires were mounted on the rims backwards by the dealer. Garage #1 didn't notice the problem and did not remove the tires from the rims. Garage #2 did notice the problem and remounted the tires on the rims. When Tire Warehouse removed the old tires, they were correctly mounted, meaning that Garage #2 mounted them correctly. Do you agree that this problem originated with the dealer? If so, I'm going to contact the dealer and ask to be refunded part of the cost of the new tires.
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Old 10-04-2022, 07:55 PM   #23
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I talked to another mechanic today. He said that rims are not symmetrical---you can't reverse them inside/outside. Therefore I believe my tires were mounted on the rims backwards by the dealer. Garage #1 didn't notice the problem and did not remove the tires from the rims. Garage #2 did notice the problem and remounted the tires on the rims. When Tire Warehouse removed the old tires, they were correctly mounted, meaning that Garage #2 mounted them correctly. Do you agree that this problem originated with the dealer? If so, I'm going to contact the dealer and ask to be refunded part of the cost of the new tires.
There's no way anyone is going to take responsibility for that at this point—too many cooks in the stew.

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Old 10-05-2022, 01:49 PM   #24
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There's no way anyone is going to take responsibility for that at this point—too many cooks in the stew.

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Fine, but I want the dealer to know my feeling about this. The owner gave me a big speech about how much he loves his customers as I left the lot with my new car. The service manager treated me shabbily when I told her about the tire problem. A $500 error should be brought to their attention. At the very least, when you report a problem a company shows it true colors, which is good to know. I have faith in the power of the written word.
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