Tyre Treads 101 – Your Guide to Understanding the Basic Tread Patterns

While looking for a set of car tyres, you may have heard terms like asymmetrical, directional, flow-optimised, etc. These may sound like some technical gibberish, but in actuality, it represents the tread pattern of a tyre. Tyre treads are one of the most important aspects that you should consider.

Just like different types of cars are meant for different purposes, tyres too are custom manufactured to meet various performance criteria. The main difference is visible in its tread pattern. Specific tyres are designed to provide explicit pointers of performance. Some offer extra traction; some tyres have minimum rolling resistance to improve mileage, some have superior off-roading characteristics, etc.

So, let’s take a look at different tread patterns to understand what you will need for your car.

1. Directional Tyre Treads – Directional, or unidirectional tyre treads come with prominent grooves pointing to only one side. These offer excellent aquaplaning resistance as the ‘V’ shaped sipes help eject trapped water from underneath the tyres. Unidirectional tyres are designed to rotate in only one direction, so you will find indicators clearly defining the front and back side of the unit.

2. Symmetrical Tread Pattern – Symmetrical tread pattern sports repeating series of grooves on the entire surface of the carcass. These are ideal passenger car tyres in Wheatley or any other metropolitan area in the UK. Tyres with symmetrical tread patterns offer excellent fuel efficiency thanks to their low rolling resistance. However, they are not ideal for adverse weather conditions, especially snowy roads.

3. Asymmetrical Tread Pattern – Asymmetrical treaded tyres are generally considered as the best of both worlds. These sport a smoother outer side to provide improved grip on dry and even roads, while the inner portion of the contact patch sports broad and deep grooves to handle wet or snow-covered roads. These tyres are popular among performance car users as they bring a balanced performance between high speeds, better road grip, and improved cornering ability. The improved rubber compound of these tyres also extends their service life by minimising wear and preventing cuts and tears on the carcass.

These tyres are not reversible because of their asymmetrical design. You will notice that the outside and inside tyre profiles are clearly marked to minimise any mistake during the installation of the tyres.

4. Flow-Optimised Tread Pattern – Flow-optimised design is a balance between wet and dry road handling. These combine the advantages of directional and asymmetric tread patterns. These tyres carry a series of directional sipes extending till the sidewall on the outer carcass and a more prominent grooved tread patterns in the inner side. The solid outer shoulder and high-lateral stiffness provide better handling in all types of surfaces.

Manufacturers like Goodyear, Michelin, Continental, Nexen Tyres Wheatley or Oxford produce several types of tyres in their product line-up which implement these 3 basic tread patterns and their variants.

You can go to Phillips Tyres to check out the range of products available. They have a team of technicians who will help you pick a suitable product depending on your driving pattern, usage, daily distance traversed, budget, etc.

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