You must have heard about ‘symmetrical’ and ‘directional’ tread patterns. But what do they mean? And how these different patterns helps driving in different road & weather conditions.
You must have thought most car tires are the same. They’re all black, made of rubber and serve the same goal of getting your car from A-B. But have you ever head to take a closer look at the tread on your tires? Just do so and you’ll come across the tread pattern that can be very different on other cars. There are hundreds of different tires each with their own unique tread pattern.
What is tread? It’s a collection of channels, sipes & grooves that serve to provide grip, traction as well as aquaplaning resistance. Tire manufacturers come up with tread patterns so that they can meet specific driver needs like wet braking, dry handling and especially the traction on ice. But if you see the car tires, every tire falls into one of four tread categories that are known as symmetric, asymmetric, directional and multi-directional. So let’s dive in;
Directional Tread Patterns
These are sporty & safe on snow. Directional tires are considered to be the ideal choice for sporty cars regularly driving on wet roads. These tires have an arrow-shaped tread pattern that helps faster water displacement due to the water flow. This tread pattern also offers high-protection against aquaplaning as well as greater directional stability. For the roads covered with snow or mud, this type of tread pattern is suitable. Perhaps that’s the reason as to why this pattern is mostly found on winter and all-season tires.
Symmetrical Tread Patterns
Unlike directional tread pattern, symmetric tires can easily be fitted and rotated in any direction as both halves of the tread pattern are identical. That’s why it’s known as Symmetrical. Tires with this tread pattern are quiet and offer better traction and road handling. Having lower rolling resistance, it increases the fuel efficiency as well as longevity the tires. Mostly, the commercial vehicles prefer this tire tread pattern. It adds good value-for-money for people mainly driving short distances.
Asymmetrical Tread Pattern
Tires with this particular tread pattern provide safety in all kinds of weather. One thing you’ll notice about asymmetric tires is that they have different tread patterns on their inner & outer shoulders. It’s all because each side serves a different purpose. Inner sides is responsible for the water displacement & aquaplaning protection. On the other side, the outer shoulders have great tread blocks providing higher lateral stiffness leading to better grip when cornering as well as driving on the dry surfaces.
Is it Possible to mix tread patterns?
Experts have strictly recommended that you shouldn’t mix tread patterns on a single axle. For instance; you can’t expect the asymmetric tire to offer the same wet & dry handling benefits in case its counterpart isn’t the same type. Therefore, make sure you place the tires with identical ones. This way, you can ensure that the tread pattern matches exactly. If this isn’t possible, so just ensure to have the tread type as the other tires on the same axle while replacing the tires.
Therefore, avoid replacing the tires with an asymmetric or multidirectional tread pattern in case you have a directional tread pattern. So the next time you buy suv tyres, make sure you choose the tread pattern that suits you driving needs.