what is tire tread

What Is Tire Tread: Quality and Tire Tread Depth Guide 2023

Top Tire Reviews is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission from Amazon at no added cost to you.

Tire tread is of many different types, and its ability to grip the road or the noise level is also different. Now we will discuss the essential things one needs to know about tire treads.

Tire tread is an essential development in the tire world. 

The tire tread is that part that meets the road or surface. There are several elements of tire tread, including tread blocks or tread lugs, tread grooves, voids, wear bars, and any extra features such as rain grooves. The areas between the tread blocks are referred to as tread voids or grooves. 

What is Tire Tread?

tire tread depth

Tread is that part of the tire that is in contact with the road’s surface. When we look at different tires in the market, we will notice a great deal of variety and diversity in their tread patterns.

Why are they so different? Just like we see in a detective novel, we can identify a tire by how it leaves on the road. Its tread pattern is a unique design that enhances the capability of a vehicle with grip and handling for specific driving.

When buying new tires, try avoiding mixing different types, sizes, or brands of tires on a single vehicle or side. Buy ones with a similar design to maintain optimal performance characteristics.

Another thing that must be kept in mind when replacing tires is that replacing a pair of tires is safer than replacing just a single tire. The newest tires should be fit on the rear axle, and partially worn tires to the front axle.

Drivers are suggested to ensure that the replacement tire bought later must have the same tire tread pattern as the other tire on the same axle present. Mixing the patterns once will impart a bad design with the handling characteristics of the car, and it could even be dangerous in the end.

They permit the water to escape when roadways are wet and dirty. Tires with higher tread-to-void ratios provide better wet traction and braking ability.

Types of Tire Tread

Rib Shape

These treads have grooves running along with the tread, called spikes. There is small resistance, stability, and reasonable steering control due to sizable horizontal traction, which is suitable for high-speed vehicles.

Lug Shape

These treads have trenches that run across the surface and are commonly known as transverse spikes. They have good steering, strong braking ability, and excellent grip, often used for truck and off-road vehicles.

Block Shape

They have many treads of blocks with many interlocking grooves that are ideal for driving on snowy and wet roads thanks to their stability, driving ability, and optimal drainage system.

Being smaller and closer to each other, they wear faster than the different types.


Most of the sporty and high-performance cars feature tires with this pattern. They involve different patterns to provide excellent performance and grip on wet and dry surfaces.

The middle region of the tires is designed to provide grip on wet and slippery surfaces. On the other hand, the outer part features large blocks, which help provide grip on dry surfaces.


As the name suggests, these offer the best asymmetrical tires and feature the arrow-shaped pattern of directional tires, which helps minimize aquaplaning. Moreover, they also provide the same level of dry grip as asymmetrical tires. These are difficult to locate, which is their disadvantage, and can be very costly at the same time.

Why is Tire Tread Important?

tire tread

The tread is something that most people don’t take seriously. There is a general idea that there are different tread patterns and depths, but they may not fully understand the tire tread’s function.

 Understanding the importance of treads and their different patterns will help people drive safely and comfortably.

When we drive on tires, then the tread starts to wear away. Tread depth should not get below the recommended minimum level. Otherwise, we won’t be able to maintain effective road contact and handle it well.¬†

Once the tread depth gets below the critical level, there might be driving with no tread. We begin to notice that our car does not stop properly when brakes are applied, especially when the road is wet.

Monitoring the depth of tires is as vital as having the correct tread pattern for particular road conditions. We must stop for an inspection if we are unsure about the right tread pattern.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a tread on a tire?

The tire’s tread, which contacts the ground, is made of rubber. The tread will deteriorate while you’re driving. The typical tread depth on new tires is 8 to 9 millimeters (10/32 to 11/32 inches). There is no traction in a tire with a tread depth of fewer than 1.6 millimeters (2/32 inches). Vehicle handling and stopping distance are compromised.

What is a good tire tread depth?

In 32nds of an inch, the tire tread depth gauge measures. A good tire should have a tread depth of 6/32 or more. You should start considering changing your tires and obtaining new ones if the depth reaches 4/32. You should immediately change your tires if they are 2/32 or less.

What is terrible tread on a tire?

Most industry professionals advise getting ready to replace your tires whenever the tread has worn down to less than 1/8th of an inch of rubber. Most states demand that you replace your tires immediately if they are worn down to 1/16th of an inch.

How do I know if my tires are worn out?

Using a penny to gauge tire wear is the simplest method. Insert an upside-down coin between each tire tread. The treads are worn, and the tires need to be replaced if you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head. Using a tread depth gauge is a quick and straightforward way to monitor the wear on your tires.

You can read about the penny test in detail here.

Final Words

One thing buyers do not give much thought about is a tire. Tires must be among the first things on our minds when purchasing a car. While tires are often overlooked, they are our vehicles’ most crucial component. After all, tires are what allow you and your vehicle to roll down the road.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

+ posts

Terry is an Automotive Enthusiast and the face behind TopTireReviews. He's an avid reader, mechanic and loves writing blogs about car guides. You can find him on Linkedin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top