The 4 Main Types of Tire Treads

Tires vary greatly depending on their intended use. The most effective way to get the best use out of your tires is to choose the best tread. The tread is the shape of the design of the rubber and determines how your tires will perform. There are four main types of tire treads:

1. Directional (unidirectional)

This kind of tire is known for the large pattern in the shape of a V, which also has room for large grooves in between the blocks of the tread. This design helps protect against hydroplaning: the phenomenon that occurs when the tread of your tire is fully submersed in water. It does this by siphoning off the water through the tread pattern, meaning that these kinds of tires are great for high performance scenarios. Keep in mind that these treads are intended to roll in one direction, and thus have an arrow that indicates which direction they should roll (visible on the side wall). Therefore, you can rotate these tires from front to back, but not from side to side if you want the best performance.

2. Symmetrical

This is the most versatile kind of tire tread. It contains the same tread throughout the whole tire. It is popular with many consumer sedans that don't need to perform in high-speed scenarios. The tires can be rotated in any way to save the wear on the tread and prolong the life of the tire.

3. Asymmetrical

This type of tread is often found mounted on sports cars. This hybrid version includes treads on the outside that have the pattern of large blocks to help with cornering, while the inside is designed for winter or wet situations with extra traction included.

4. Directional/Asymmetrical

This combines the best of both directional tires and asymmetrical tires. The V-shape is used for moving water away from the tire and tread, and the asymmetrical design helps with better traction. This is great for locales with all four season.

Tires may look almost the same from a distance, but there are many important differences. The treads of a tire make all the difference in terms of speed, traction, safety, and life of the tires. Whether you need high performance, water resistance, or simply want the most versatile option, there is a tread for you. By seeing the differences noted above, you can make a much more informed choice about which tire is the best for you and your make and model of vehicle. If you would like more clarification, speak with a tire specialist, like one from Collier Goodyear Car Care Center.