PCL’s Educational Series
Why Tire Tread Matters
There are four common tread patterns in tires, and each has its own purpose and use for the road. They are defined by the design and build of the tire and its components, so it’s vital to make sure you get the one that is most suitable to your driving. The four most common options are:
- Symmetrical tread patterns
- Meant for everyday passenger vehicle use, this tire features a pattern of continuous blocks or grooves around the whole tire.
- Directional or Unidirectional patterns
- These tires are made with a V-shape around the tire, designed to draw water away to prevent hydroplaning at high speeds, and usually made for high-performance vehicles. They can also be used as all-weather tires on passenger vehicles and do well in snow.
- Asymmetrical patterns
- The tread pattern changes across the face of this tire with the intention of making it draw water away as well as grip dry roads well. It is most commonly found on sports cars due to its cornering and stability properties.
- Directional and Asymmetrical patterns
- These are a combination of directional and asymmetrical patterns, and usually are more expensive and difficult to find due to specific usage requirements. These are usually found on high-end sports cars.
Most people will only need symmetrical-pattern tread, but for those who need something more, be sure to talk to your tire dealer about what you plan to do with your vehicle. And, as always, make sure you use only the best, such as our PCL gauges, on your new wheels!
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