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Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?
Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?
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Old 04-04-12, 12:42 PM   #1
V10Climber
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Default Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

So since moving to the DC area and working in the city the STI hardly gets driven except to/from and at auto-x events. Therefore my tires are getting some pretty bad wear on the outside edges from auto-x. The car is currently on stock suspension.

Basically I'm wondering if anybody has any experience with flipping street tires on the rim? What I mean by flipping is keeping the same tire on the same rim but unmounting and then remounting them so that what was once the inside of the tire is now the outside of the tire. I know it's fairly common practice for race tires but I don't hear much about it for street tires. Is the cost of getting the street tires flipped worth it? Will it extend the life of my tires that much? The tires i'm running are Dunlop Star Specs FWIW. I've posted some pictures to see what you guys think.

These are brand new star specs. They're 215s for my wife's JCW mini but you get the idea of what the tread depth looks like new.


This is a shot of the tires currently on the front of my STI after 3 auto-x events. Although it's only been 3 events the tires probably have 50-60 runs on them. I guess you could say it's a bit like the village bicycle As you can see the tires are becoming pretty worn on the outside edges. The rears are a little better but since I rotate the tires regularly all my tires start to look like this.




This is a shot of the tires my wife uses on her mini which are having the same "problem". You can see that there is a lot less tread on the outside edge of the tire than the inside edge. She is now on TCKline coilovers with Vorshlag camber plates so hopefully lots of negative camber will keep us from prematurely replacing tires on her car because of excessive outside edge tire wear.


And this is why i'm asking about all this. This was my last set of Dunlop Star Specs As you can see I'm not down to the treadwear indicators on the inside of the tire.


FWIW although I'm not exactly a national level driver I'm also not tearing around the course understeering and pushing everywhere I go. I've got about 5 years of auto-x experience so far and last season I pretty much ran every event which mean about twice a month.
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Old 04-04-12, 01:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

I think your tires are directional, so as long as they continue to rotate in the same direction, it doesn't matter what side of the car they are on.
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Old 04-04-12, 03:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

I've heard that with any radial tire, the radials inside the tire settle into a position based on the rotation of the tire and flipping the tire on the same wheel displaces these radials causing vibrations. I don't know if its true, but seems plausible. Also, as stated above, directional tires have a specific tread pattern which would be reversed if you flip the tire. Long story short, seems like a bad idea.
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Old 04-04-12, 04:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S T Hye View Post
I've heard that with any radial tire, the radials inside the tire settle into a position based on the rotation of the tire and flipping the tire on the same wheel displaces these radials causing vibrations. I don't know if its true, but seems plausible. Also, as stated above, directional tires have a specific tread pattern which would be reversed if you flip the tire. Long story short, seems like a bad idea.
+1, I've always heard the same thing. I've personally never seen it done but I know discount tire won't even do it due to the inability to properly balance them afterwards.
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Old 04-04-12, 05:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S T Hye View Post
I've heard that with any radial tire, the radials inside the tire settle into a position based on the rotation of the tire and flipping the tire on the same wheel displaces these radials causing vibrations. I don't know if its true, but seems plausible. Also, as stated above, directional tires have a specific tread pattern which would be reversed if you flip the tire. Long story short, seems like a bad idea.
That's really great info and I had never heard that. Do you have any sort of source or is it just stuff that has come up in conversation? Sounds like I'll just have to deal with swapping to new tires a little earlier than I would like. Gotta pay to play right

Obviously after flipping the tires the wheel would have to be moved to the other side of the car so that it is always rotating the correct direction.
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Old 04-04-12, 06:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

I've had a few friends flip their star specs without issue.

Holy crap 20 runs per event?

I think that's your problem.
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Old 04-04-12, 06:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

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Originally Posted by T3h_Clap View Post
I've had a few friends flip their star specs without issue.

Holy crap 20 runs per event?

I think that's your problem.
Just to clarify...the star specs are directional. So if you flip them on the wheel...wouldn't you now have to run that wheel on the opposite side of the car? Logically this would make sense...now the worn outside is on the inside...but on the opposite side of the car as before.
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Old 04-04-12, 06:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

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Originally Posted by Robm129 View Post
Just to clarify...the star specs are directional. So if you flip them on the wheel...wouldn't you now have to run that wheel on the opposite side of the car? Logically this would make sense...now the worn outside is on the inside...but on the opposite side of the car as before.
Yeah.

I like to visualize it as taking the tire off the left wheel and moving it to the right wheel while keeping the rotation the same.

Obviously you can't do that. (Meaning you can't mount/dismount the tires while they are still mounted to the car).

Last edited by T3h_Clap; 04-04-12 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 04-05-12, 03:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

You'll be fine, I've done it to all my autocross tires over the years. It's a good way to get more life from your autocross tires. I have them flipped around half of their life.
It's just like Clap described. You aren't changing the direction of rotation, just the side of the car they are on and where the worn part of the tire is.

This will NOT work for asymmetrical tires. Those tires are marked with "outside" on the tire and can be run in either direction, but that means you can't flip them on the wheel. (Well you can, but you'll give up some wet performance and they generally have very large blocks on the outside). The 070 is like this.
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Old 04-05-12, 04:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Is it necessary to flip street tires on the rim?

Quote:
Originally Posted by T3h_Clap View Post
I've had a few friends flip their star specs without issue.

Holy crap 20 runs per event?

I think that's your problem.
The group I run with does 6-10 runs an event depending on whether it's an actual event or a test n tune. It's typically not just me driving it so that's 12-20 runs right there. Then we'll do a couple runs in teh STI in the morning setting up the course so there is another 3-4. So yeah my poor tires get pretty demolished after a few events

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrier View Post
You'll be fine, I've done it to all my autocross tires over the years. It's a good way to get more life from your autocross tires. I have them flipped around half of their life.
It's just like Clap described. You aren't changing the direction of rotation, just the side of the car they are on and where the worn part of the tire is.

This will NOT work for asymmetrical tires. Those tires are marked with "outside" on the tire and can be run in either direction, but that means you can't flip them on the wheel. (Well you can, but you'll give up some wet performance and they generally have very large blocks on the outside). The 070 is like this.
It's good to hear the Star Specs can be flipped without any issue. It's definitely described better by saying you're just moving the tire to the other side of the car to get what was the inside edge of the tire on the outside of the wheel. I realize you couldn't do this with symmetrical tires but fortunately the star specs are not.

Now the question I have is whether or not it's financially worth it to flip the tires. I mean if it costs me ~$900 for a new set of star specs mounted and balanced is it worth it to spend the $100 halfway through their life to get them flipped so that I get an extra event or two out of them? I mean how much more life can we be talking about here if we're flipping tires? I might have a friend who has a mounting/balancing machine and if he doesn't maybe it's time to buy one How far down do you guys run your star specs anyways? I typically go down to the treadwear markers and pitch them but do people run past that?
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