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Guide to tyre tread patterns

17th April 2023

The tyre tread pattern you choose for your vehicle will have an impact on it’sits performance. Each different tyre tread pattern affects it’sits ability to grip the road under various different driving conditions and can also impact it’s handling and braking. This guide will explain what your tyre tread patterns mean. Looking to buy your next set of tyres? Check out tyres by size or by registration 

What is tyre tread? 

The tyre tread is the rubber surround of your tyre that makes contact with the ground. It works in the same way as the bottom of your shoes and grips the ground to prevent you from slipping. The tyre tread grips the ground. 

As you drive the tread on your tyres will begin to wear down. Uneven tyre wear can be caused by improperly inflated tyres. Over or underinflated tyres, suspension problems or misaligned wheels can all be causes of uneven tyre wear. The minimum legal tyre pressure is 1.6mm however, we recommend changing them at 3mm.  

Tyre treads consists of four parts: 

  • Tyre blocks: Tyre blocks are the rubber part of the tyre that is in contact with the roads surface.  
  • Ribs: The ribs are the raised segments of the tyre. These are made from tread blocks.  
  • Sipes: These are small, thin slots moulded into the tyre tread blocks that helps to disperse water from the road.   
  • Grooves: Grooves are deep channels that run both around and across the tyre. 

Symmetrical tyre treads 

Symmetrical tyre treads are the most common type of tyre treads for cars. Essentially, symmetrical tyre treads are when both halves of the tyre tread reflect one another. They are commonly used for passenger vehicles, but generally aren’t suitable for high performance vehicles.  

Symmetrical tyre tread patterns give users a smooth ride and low rolling resistance, which makes them an economical choice. However, they are less adaptable to wet weather conditions compared to other tyres. 

Directional tyre treads 

Directional tyre treads benefit from an arrow shaped tyre pattern. Not only does this give an improved aesthetic, it also gives drivers an improved grip on the road in wet weather conditions.  

While directional tyre treads reduce the risk of aqua planning, the extra grip is useful for high performance vehicles in snowy and muddy conditions. The only disadvantage is that it can be more difficult to rotate your tyres as they can only be rotated vertically.  

Asymmetric tyre tread pattern 

An asymmetric pattern tyre tread pattern consists of two separate tyre tread patterns on the same tyre, one on the inner half of the tyre and one on the outer half of the tyre.  

The main purpose of this is for high performance on both wet and dry purposes. The inner tyre tread works well against aquaplaning and the outer tyre tread has rigid blocks to help grip the road in dry conditions.  

Asymmetric tyre treads offer both high quality and high performance, however care must be taken when rotating the tyres. Due to the pattern they can only be rotated vertically. 

If your car is due new tyres, here at Merityre Specialists, we supply a wide range of tyres fromleading tyre manufacturers to suit all budgets. All of our car tyres are fitted by trained experts at your local branch. For more information, contact our helpful team today.