Tires come with a wide variety of different tread styles to choose from. While all types of tire treads are designed to improve your vehicle's grip on the road, different designs are better suited for specific driving conditions. Understanding the differences between the various types of tire treads can help you choose the one that best fits your car's needs.
Directional tires have a single continuous groove that runs in a V shaped pattern around the entire tire. Their shape makes them ideal at preventing vehicles from hydroplaning while driving at high speeds, which makes them ideal for wet conditions and high performance vehicles which frequently travel at high speeds. However, because of their directional design, they can only be rotated from front to back and vice versa, and cannot switch sides of the vehicle. When compared to their counterparts, these types of tires tend to be quite loud while driving.
Tires with symmetrical treads are the most common type of tire on the market, because they provide the highest degree of durability to a tire, and are also fairly quiet. Like the name suggests, symmetrical treads have the same pattern across the entire surface of the tire. Besides quiet operation and a slower wear, symmetrical tread tires can also be rotated to any wheel on a vehicle, which can help prolong the life of a single set of tires even further.
Asymmetrical treads combine a number of different tread patterns in order to provide maximum grip with the road in both wet and dry conditions. Asymmetrical tires can vary widely in design, which means that specific types of tread exist for specific driving conditions. Most commonly, the inner tread will be designed to handle wet conditions, while the outer tread is made to respond well in drive conditions, providing a nice mixture of control and responsiveness. Like directional tires, asymmetrical tires can only be rotated front to back and vice versa, because each side of the tire is designed to be on the outside or inside of the vehicle, depending on the specific tread.
Less common and usually more expensive as a result, directional/asymmetrical tires combine the directional tread in the middle of the tire with an asymmetrical design on the outside. This provides stability at high speeds and helps prevent your vehicle from hydroplaning, while still maintaining a certain degree of responsiveness and control in dry conditions.
For further assistance, contact a local tire outlet, such as Lee Tire.