It is easy to take your tires for granted, but what you should know about tire tread is that it plays a critical role in ensuring your safety while driving. While tires are primarily thought of for the utility purpose they serve, many drivers may not realize the extent to which they are engineered for safety. Today’s tires are made from specially formulated rubber compounds and the tread is engineered to provide specific safety features.
The Evolution of Tire Design
The earliest wheels were simply a solid curved piece of wood. Eventually, leather was added to improve the smoothness of the ride. Over time, designs transitioned into a piece of solid rubber, then a pneumatic (air inflated) radial tire. From that point, tire design gradually became more sophisticated with the development of bias ply tires and radial tires.
About Tire Tread Designs – Performance and Safety
Tire tread is another important development in tire evolution. What you should know about tire tread begins with knowing the parts of the tread. The components of tire tread include tread blocks or tread lugs, tread grooves, tread voids, wear bar, and sometimes features such as rain grooves and siping. Tire tread goes across the entire surface of the tire from shoulder to shoulder, where the tread meets the sidewall.
The areas between the tread blocks are referred to as the tread voids or tread grooves. Tread voids promote traction by allowing the tread blocks to move and flex as the tires grip the road. They also create channels that let the water escape when roadways are wet. Tires with a high tread to void ratio provide superior wet traction and braking ability.
Specialized Types of Tire Tread
What many drivers don’t realize about tire tread is that tread types are designed to match the intended performance of the vehicles. Tire tread can help cars to corner tighter, accelerate more smoothly, and brake reliably. Tire tread can also promote fuel economy.
Knowing more about the role of tire tread reveals why maintaining proper tire tread is so important. Look for our next post to find out how much you know about how to maintain your tires and tire tread.