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Are ATV Tires Directional? How to Spot If They Are

Are ATV Tires Directional? How to Spot If They Are

ATVs are made to go over all types of terrains – mud, snow, sand, rocks, trails, and more. An obvious note about these activities is the vastly different surface that the ATV is required to perform on. This means optimal performance is likely to change based on the terrain and equipment, but rest assured, the designers of “All-Terrain” Vehicles certainly had this in mind. T

Are ATV tires directional? ATV tires vary in direction/no direction based on the terrain they are going to be used on. In general, directional tires are used for mud and snow – while racing and rocky terrain will require multi-directional. Sand and trail tires can be either directional or multi-directional depending on the brand.

These generalities tend to be true of most ATVs and tires as the standard for performance. While this is good to know, it is important to understand the differences and be able to tell them apart. This can ensure the safe selection of the appropriate tires for your vehicle and ride.

Directional ATV Tires: A Quick Overview

Before I continue, I want to give a quick explanation of the differences between the two types of tires we are talking about. If you are familiar with ATVs, this might seem like simple information. However, if this is a new territory that you are exploring, then it is important to know the basics before proceeding.

Directional tires, also known as unidirectional tires, are good for going in a single direction.

These tires have a tread that is made to perform best going forward, particularly on slick/hard to maneuver surfaces. Directional tires, as mentioned above, are great for an ATV adventure in the mud or snow and can also be used on sand and trails.

Multi-directional tires, also known as non-directional tires, are going to have a tread that is able to be used both when going forward and backward.

These are commonly used for things like speed and rocky surfaces. They can also be used on sand and trails depending on the vehicle. With this basic knowledge of directional (unidirectional) versus multi-directional (non-directional) ATV tires, you can now learn how to select the type that is right for your vehicle.

Of course, if you have any questions or are unsure about your selection, you can usually call the location that you originally bought your ATV from to find out more.

Considering the tires are what comes between the ATV and the surface that it rides on, selecting the right type of tires for your ATV is of utmost importance. This ensures a quality and enjoyable ride while also relieving the worry of danger for you (or your loved one) as a rider.

Here’s a helpful video about ATV tires and some things to keep in mind when looking for new tires.

You can see in that video that the mud tires are directional based off the tread pattern. Let’s go into more detail about how to spot that.

How To Tell If Tires Are Directional

One of the most important things to tell about ATV tires is the direction they are intended to go. Using proper tires allows you to optimize performance for different activities as well as maintain a safe riding experience.

How can you tell if a tire is directional? The easiest way to know if a tire is directional is by checking the sidewall. There will be an arrow, which should be pointing to the front of the vehicle when installed. There is also a clear V-pattern on the tread, which should also be facing like an arrow to the front.

Directional ATV Tires, notice the tread creates a V or arrow pattern.

Directional ATV Tires

How can you tell if a tire is multi-directional? There may be no arrow on the side of a multi-directional tire. An easy test is to look at it from both the front and back. If the tread is the same pattern in both directions it is a multi-directional tire – allowing similar performance in both directions.

Multi-Directional ATV Tires, notice how the tread is uniform throughout the tire.

Multi-Directional ATV Tires

Benefits of Directional ATV Tires

Directional tires can come with some great benefits, and also some drawbacks. The decision to choose one over the other should be based primarily on what terrain you are riding on. This will ensure a safe and efficient ride for you and your friends. Here are some benefits of unidirectional tires.

Resistance to Hydroplaning

Directional tires are made to push water out from the center of the tire. This process allows for a lower likelihood of hydroplaning. Thus, if you plan on riding in an area that could be slick, directional tires will likely be your best bet. This is another reason why they are good in the mud or snow as these are both wet surfaces.

Better Traction in Loose Surfaces

Similar to the resistance of hydroplaning, directional tires allow for more traction on loose surfaces such as mud, snow, and water. The same can be said about sandy areas or trails that are not highly impacted. Increased traction from your directional ATV tires leads to increased safety and ability to make sharper turns with a decreased chance of overturning.


Because they are all facing the same direction, there is no tread that is counteracting the direction the materials (snow, mud, dirt, etc.) want to travel. Everything that gets in the tread will be pushed out and flow in the same direction causing much less buildup of materials. In this sense, you may still have to hose down your directional tires, but will likely not have to scrub as hard as you would with multi-directional (non-directional) tires.

Benefits of Multi-Directional ATV Tires

As the counterpart to directional ATV tires, multi-directional tires also have their place with these vehicles- especially on opposite types of terrain. Again, you will want to consider the type of terrain that you plan on riding on and then make your choice from there. It is recommended to have both sets of tires on-hand if you plan to ride on varying terrain frequently.

More Grip

More grip actually covers a myriad of benefits with multi-directional tires. This feature allows for a better climb on rocky surfaces, an easier time going up a slope, faster stopping capabilities, and anything else of this nature. The counteracting treads help your tire to cling to the surface that it drives on, but this can be the opposite of what you are looking for on wet surfaces as this can cause you to hydroplane and overturn.

The Symmetry is Smoother

On a flat surface, having a symmetrical tire will give a smoother ride. So, if you plan on taking your ATV on a paved surface, then the multi-directional ATV tire is likely the best option. Just be sure to follow Safety Precautions when riding your ATV on a paved surface and avoid high-traffic areas.

Less Tread Wear

Multi-directional tires have less tread wear than directional tires do. This is because of the way they ride, but also because they are able to be rotated to get a more even wear. Similar to how you would have your car’s tires rotated, you can do the same for your ATV- especially in the case of multi-directional tires.

Are SunF ATV Tires Directional?

SunF ATV Tires (link to Amazon) are some of the most popular and best-performing tires on the market today. Now that you have an understanding of this topic, you may be curious about their directionality.

Are SunF ATV tires directional? The SunF ATV tires are non-directional tires. The tread remains the same regardless of which direction you place the tire, which means they are able to be installed either way. This also makes them great for rocky terrains and a smoother ride on flat surfaces.

So, if you plan on taking your ATV on the surfaces described above as fit for non-directional (multi-directional) tires, then the SunF ATV tires might be a good option for you. Just be sure to check with your ATV brand’s make and model to ensure a proper fit and alignment.

Are Wanda ATV Tires Directional?

Wanda ATV tires come in multiple types of directionality. Wanda has both directional and non-directional tire options available, allowing you to pick the best options for your primary needs. Wanda tires are incredibly durable and able to handle heavier loads than many ATV tires.

Because of this, if you test out the Wanda brand and notice that this is a good fit for your ATV, then you can rest assured that you have found a good match. You can purchase a set of directional and non-directional Wanda ATV Tires (link to Amazon) and change them out when you decide to alter terrains. Of course, you should select which tires are your “main” set based on the type of ATV adventures (and terrains) you plan to ride on.

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