Tire Tread Patterns Explained

tire tread patterns explained z one automotive

Tire tread patterns refer to the appearance and arrangement of lateral grooves, interdependent tread blocks, continuous ribs, circumferential grooves and thin sipes to refine traction, wear and noise handling. There are different tire treads available in the market to help you handle different driving conditions, and improve your safety, such as:

Symmetric Tires

One of the most common patterns is the symmetric tread: you can identify it by the independent lugs (tread blocks) or continuous grooves on the entire surface of the tire, often with the same pattern appearing on inboard and outboard halves. While driving symmetric tires, you can easily employ multiple rotation patterns, making them highly versatile and durable even in adverse driving conditions.

Asymmetric Patterns

Asymmetric tire treads are quite a hybrid and often appear on sports cars. The tread design allows the tread pattern to change the face of the tire, making it easy for the tire to blend in wet conditions while also adapting to dry grip easily. The insides and the middle part of the tire work best in wet conditions while the outside part features large blocks, which increase the area of the contact surface to make cornering on dry land smoother. Asymmetric treads on tires make it easy for your different rotational patterns.

Directional Tires

Directional tread pattern tires can only roll in a single direction. The tire surface features v-shaped grooves on both sides of the centerline, creating a tread pattern that points in one direction. This appearance of V-shaped grooves improves a car’s resistance to hydroplaning especially in high speeds, by increasing the efficiency of water moving through the grooves. You can only use the tires if you rotate them from the front to the rear axle. The uni-directional appearance of grooves limits the variety of tire sizes; if you choose to use different sizes for both axles, you make the tires location-specific, unless remounted.

Directional and Asymmetric Patterns

Asymmetric and directional tires feature v-shaped grooves that often appear offset in comparison to the tire’s centerline. During tire rotation, you must treat asymmetrical and directional tires as you would directional tires. Using asymmetrical and directional tread tires combines two features to give you tires that have a directional tread for wet conditions and an asymmetrical tread for traction in dry weather. If you choose to combine two different tire sizes for the front versus the rear axle, your tires become specific to a location, limiting your rotational opportunities until you remount the tires.

Safety Considerations

While choosing the right tread pattern for your car, avoid mixing tread patterns or tire sizes unless it is acceptable by the vehicle or tire manufacturer. Additionally, you should pay close attention to the treads you choose for each season; for example, treads suitable for summer may give you a hard time in the winter.

Ideally, all your tire treads will wear equally, meaning you can replace them all at the same time to avoid driving around with mismatched treads. However, this is not possible, often due to reasons beyond your control. If you are in a situation where some tires have more wear than others, you must choose whether to go for the same exact model or choose alternatives. The best option is to pick the same exact tires in tread and other characteristics.

Tires influence your safety on the road. Whenever possible, choose identical tires in every detail even if it means investing more into your car. If you are having trouble finding the right tires for your car, contact Z-One Automotive for expert advice on choosing tires.