Tread Blocks

Why are my tread blocks different sizes?

Have you ever taken a look at the tread blocks on your tires. They are the blocks of rubber separated by a groove which is designed to remove water and snow from under the tire.

If you haven’t yet looked, take a look. If you have, take a look again because what you will notice if you rotate the tire is that those tread blocks are very likely different sizes.

So why is that?

Harmonic resonance is the plague of tire manufacturers. It is the ability for the tire to create a “rhythm” of vibration consistently that results in a hum or buzz to us as drivers or passengers.

The overall problem is what tire manufacturers refer to as the “standing wave”. It is a wave in the sidewall that we want to keep static rather than have it move and create essentially a number of waves moving around the tire. If we can keep the standing wave “static” we can reduce the harmonic resonance of the tire and have a quieter, more comfortable ride.

So maybe designing a tire tread is not as simple as jumping on a computer and repeating a series of identical tread blocks – who would have thought?

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