Understanding Tyre Tread Patterns & Ways to check Tyre Tread Depth

Tyre Tread

Why do Vehicle tyres have tread on them?

Tyre tread helps in providing the needed traction for a vehicle. In normal, dry condition, it’s presence on a tyre may not be of much consequence but in a wet or snowy environment, treads can help in gripping the surface more firmly as the water under it can make its way easily.

Rubber linings will be helpful to ensure that any accumulated water has a path for escaping thereby helping to create the necessary drag.

Problems related to hydroplaning can be eliminated and a safe and easy control of the vehicle can be ensured. This will help in ensuring a convenient and comfortable ride.

What are the different Tyre tread patterns?

The different types of Tyre tread patterns are as follows,

  • Rib Pattern – These have parallel S-shaped free spaces all along the axis. It helps in providing superb stability and minimum resistance.
  • Lug Shape – It has a series of grooves that run perpendicular to the tyre’s circumference and helps in providing excellent traction, accelerating convenience.
  • Mixed, Rib-Lug Shape – This tyre tread pattern combines perpendicular grooves with S-shaped free spaces on the axis for better control and braking power.
  • Block Shape – This pattern can be found on wet and all-season tyres because they have independent blocks separated by many interconnected grooves.
  • Symmetrical pattern – It has the same design throughout its body on all sides. It is a long-lasting and quiet option and can be rotated in various ways.
  • Asymmetrical pattern – In it, there can be bigger blocks on the outer surface and smaller blocks inwards for providing turning convenience and enough cornering options. Care should be taken to position it correctly in a vehicle.
  • Directional pattern – These are made in such a way that there is maximum water displacement. They have to be fitted in a specific direction only and that is generally marked with arrows on the sidewall.

What is the Tread depth of a new tyre?

A new tyre usually has a tread depth of about 8 mm in the central area. However, this is only a conservative estimate and the real depth may be more, depending upon the purpose.

The statutory legal requirement is 1.6 mm although there is hardly any tough legislation to see through it. However, to be on the safer side, it is always a wise idea to check them periodically.

It is also a good practice to replace them once they reach 2 mm because, beyond that, they may be endangering one’s lives as traction and vehicle control may not be as good.

How do I check my tyre tread?

Tyre tread can be checked by using the following three methods.

  1. The 20 paise Test – A 20 paise coin can be inserted into the groove and if the outer edge completely sits inside it, one can be sure of having a healthy tyre that confirms to 1.6 mm or more available depth. If the coin edge is visible, there can be trouble and it should be further checked by a professional.
  2. Using a tyre Tread Depth Gauge – A depth gauge is an equipment that can help in providing the correct depth. Holding it atop the rubber will give a reading that is the available depth and there is no discrepancy after the reading.
  3. Using tyre Tread Wear Indicators – These indicators are there in most commercially available tyres. Only care has to be taken to periodically monitor them. If they are unavailable over a period of time, then it means the time has come for tyre replacement.

What Tread depth to replace tyres?

As far as a legal requirement is concerned, the tyre tread depth is 1.6 mm but it is always safe to replace a tyre as soon as the depth reaches 2 mm.

Now, that is a lot of space that one can have considering the fact that a new one has 8 mm depth at the beginning.

The 2 mm limit has no official backing but then it has been quoted multiple times by many industry insiders and vehicle experts and other organizations.

Driving on worn out tyres can be risky as well as expensive. Hence, it is always a good idea to monitor them and replace by buying new tyre when needed.

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