An integral part of a tyre’s tread pattern, grooves enable the channelling of water away from the contact patch between the tyre and road surface, therefore improving roadholding in wet conditions.
There are two basic types of tread groove, lateral and circumferential. Lateral grooves are responsible for moving water away to the shoulders of the tyre while circumferential grooves move water to the rear of the tyre.
In recent times manufacturers have developed tread patterns with grooves arranged in a chevron pattern at sharp angles to the centre line of the tyre. These slanted grooves, which are a key component of the wet weather tyres fitted to racing cars, give excellent performance and grip on wet road surfaces.
Above photographs show a small selection of the slanted groove patterns available on some modern tyres
In the base of the tread groove are tread wear indicators which, as their name suggests, show when a tyre has worn tread and requires replacing.