Last updated on November 1st, 2023 at 07:09 am
If you are a car nerd like me, then you always wonder about every part of the tire, and tire tread design is one of the wonders. The tire tread design seems very complicated just by looking at it, and most people only know about tire tread that whenever the tread is below2/32 of its tread, then they will replace their tires.
The tire tread design consists of many different things, and advanced technology and new innovations are applied to it every day, which is why new tires keep improving in their performance due to the advanced tread design on new tires.
Table of Contents
Tread Pattern and Design
Before jumping on to tire tread design let’s talk about the type of different tire tread patterns. There are three types of tread patterns mostly available in 2023, the reason for distinguishing tread patterns instead of just changing tread design, is because different tread patterns tires are utilized for different types of driving conditions and cars.
Symmetrical Tread Pattern
The symmetrical tread pattern tires have the same tread on both sides of the tread contact area. This pattern is mostly used with All-terrain tires and performance tires, due to the versatile performance in harsh conditions of winter or mud, and proper handling response on summer tracks. If you notice symmetrical tires from up close, you can see the similarity among all sides of the tread.
Because they are the same from both sides, the tire rotation on these tires can be done by using any method of tire rotation. The symmetrical pattern is widely used in new and old tires but the new tires are using asymmetrical tread patterns more.
Asymmetrical Tread Pattern
This tread pattern is different from both sides of the tires, usually having 3 tread ribs or three columns of tread on each tire, in symmetrical tires, the middle tread would be different and the other two are the same. On the other hand, the asymmetrical tread pattern has all three different tread columns but still, they are in balance.
This tread pattern mostly comes in all-season touring tires and winter tires. Tire rotation can be done by any method just like symmetrical tires, and also asymmetric tread pattern tires have more durability compared to symmetrical tires.
Directional Tread Pattern
The directional tread pattern is the least used tread pattern in the market, because directional tread patterns have low chances of improvement, and bring innovation over it. However, the V-Formation or directional tread pattern is the best performer in their specific conditions.
This pattern has most of the time lower tread durability, but the best performance, also they can not change direction, so when you rotate these tires, never do the side-by-side rotation always rotate them in a straight direction. All-season touring tires and off-road tires usually come with this tread pattern.
Tread Compartment and Features
Tire tread is not only dependent on the pattern, the tread design plays a more important role in the performance of the car. They are true determinants of the tire performance and the performance improves just by improving the design or bringing innovations in any part of the tread. Now these are some of the tread parts that make a tread design:
Tread Center Ribs
The center rib is where all tread blocks, sipes, and other things are installed on tires. They are the straight rubber coating that gives a bead to the tread blocks, which helps the tire to resist punctures and other damages when comes into contact with harsh conditions.
Now these are the most important detriment of the tire performance, these tread blocks are the reason why every tire performs differently in different conditions, and most of the innovation is done on this part of the tread design. The tire tread blocks are located on the center and side ribs which make contact with the ground, and if they wear off and lose their depth, the tire becomes useless afterward.
Tread block sipes
3d zigzag sipes X sipes and different types of sipes are printed on tires, also you can install sipes on your tires if they do not come with the tire. The tire sipes are the reason why new tires keep improving when it comes to braking, gripping, and handling. They contact the pavements in different manners which improves the performance of the tire. The sipes on shoulder blocks are the major determinant of the cornering confidence on summer tires.
Lateral and circumferential grooves
The Grooves channel is the empty lines between tread blocks and ribs. They channel the water and ice to stick on the tire tread which provides hydroplaning resistance in wet conditions. Without these grooves, the tire will not grip in wet conditions, and won’t stop properly in wet and ice conditions as well. The straight line between the tread’s ribs is a circumferential groove, while the horizontal lines usually between shoulder blocks are lateral grooves. Both of these grooves’ channels improve the tires’ wet and winter season performance.
Internal Tire Construction
Even though you can not see the internal design of the tire but it is there and just as complicated as the external design. The internal construction is what makes the tire a rubber and steel merged tire that moves with the support of car axles.
The internal bead is sharp edges on tires that sit on the wheels, they are built as same as the whole tire produces, however, they are strong and make the tire stick to the wheels. Whenever you dismount or mount a tire, you will make contact with the internal bead, which has to be seated correctly to avoid any accidents on the road.
Nylon cap plies
The nylon cap plies are spread under the tires and over the steel belts which handle the pressure of the tire and keep the tires and steel belts together. Without a nylon cap, there is a chance of tire tread separation, where steel belts, plies, and rubber break free from each other. It is manufactured with cords, and fabric, which is strong and flexible as well to roll over the tire.
The steel belts above plies are the reason why tires are able to maintain the air pressure inside the tire and also able to carry the weight over it because if you put weight on raw rubber it will push down, however with the help of steel belts, the tire carries the weight of the car and moves it for miles after miles. They are built by different steel wires and cords and then put over plies to absorb the pressure from the car.
Radial and bias Plies
There are two types of plies utilizes inside tires, radial and bias. Most tires nowadays have radial plies, due to their flexibility, uniformity, and comfort. The body plies give a bed to the steel belts and caps to sit. These plies are the major determinant of tire rigidity, the more plies apply inside the tire, the more durable tire will turn out to be, however, the performance won’t be the same.
Understanding tire tread design, its patterns, and its internal design makes you a better advisor and buyer of tires. Because once you have all detail of the tires, you can choose the tires that are best for you according to the driving conditions and based on your preferences. That is why always try to learn other things about tires and cars to be able to solve any problem if ever accrued to your vehicle or its other parts.