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Sunday, 24 February 2013

What is Tread? Car tyre tread expalained

  • Lugs are the actual tread that is in contact with the road at any given time, known as the contact patch.
  • Voids are the gaps between the lugs allowing the tyre to flex as the contact patch leaves the road, also allowing the water to be removed.
  • void ratio is between the amount of lugs and voids. The lower the void ratio the more tread it has in contact with the road surface giving better traction on dry tarmac. Mud and Snow tyres will have a higher void ratio to allow the mud and water to escape through the gaps in the tread.
  • Grooves are the main channels that run around the tyres circumference that push the water into allowing the tread contact with the road.
  • Sipes are the small slits that are cut across larger tread elements to allow the water from the groove channels to escape to the edge of the tyre, reducing the risk of aquaplaning. Up to a point, more sipes will produce more traction in snow and mud as well as over various terrains found off road.
Tyre tread area, showing tyre void, grooves lugs and sipes

The way your tyres are worn will tell you a lot.
  • The tread should be slightly thicker in the middle than the edge
  • If the outer edges are a lot more worn than the centre this means that your tyres are under in-flated.
  • If the centre of the tyre is a lot more worn than the edges this would show your tyres are over inflated.
  • If your tyres are worn a lot more on one side than the other this would indicate a suspension problem or you may need a wheel alignment.
You should Check your tyres regularly for uneven wear, keep to the correct tyre pressures, drive steadily and avoid excessive acceleration and heavy cornering, Swap your tyres around putting the new tyres to the rear this will ensure you get the most out of your tyres.

New tyres usually start at 8mm but some only 7mm, and some budget tyres only start with 6mm
so you have already lost 31% wear. This can be false economy when buying budget tyres.

Independent research by MIRA motor industry research association indicate.... read more
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