How Tread Design Affects Noise Levels: Adjust Which Parts?

The difference between the quietest and loudest tires often comes down to their parts’ shapes, which makes you wonder how tread design affects noise levels. Discover them now!


Wheel noise can be handled or reduced by its construction. From increasing the durability of materials to changing the patterns on the tires, companies can offer a variety of tires to suit the sound reduction needs of each vehicle.

This article will make clear how tread design affects noise levels from each of its factors and their effect on the whole. Keep reading before you make any tire purchase!

What Is A Tire’s Tread?

The design of the tread components affects the noise level of the tire sound 

The tread is the part of the tire in direct contact with the road surface, with each section about 4×6 inches, known as the contact patch or footprint. Tread plays an important role in helping to increase friction, traction, and traction for the vehicle. With the four virtual elements:

  • Grooves are deep channels that run around the tire, forming grooves and dividing ribs, allowing water to drain quickly.
  • Ribs, the raised part of the tire, is made up of treads divided by grooves.
  • Tread blocks are rubber bands that protrude into contact with the road surface with diagonal slots supporting the ability to evacuate water.
  • Sipes are small slots molded into spiked blocks, often in a zigzag shape, to enhance traction and balance temperature.

Based on these four factors, manufacturers will arrange many different tread patterns to improve the tire’s performance by increasing traction, friction, limiting wear, and handling noise.

How Tread Design Affects Noise Levels

Wear Patterns

When a tire is worn, it can affect the balance and create vibrations, noise, and dislocated joints. It may increase the surface contact areas, but the accompanying friction is not customizable, resulting in reduced traction, performance, and fuel consumption.

To minimize this, manufacturers use compound rubber for good elasticity, combined with various patterns, which increase the ability to absorb and disperse forces. In addition, you also need to remember to rotate the tires periodically every 5000 – 8000 miles and maintain the specified pressure.

Tire wear can cause an overall imbalance due to sudden braking or a heavy load that tilts to one side

If one side of the ribs is subjected to a heavy burden for a long time, especially when braking sharply, it will cause wear out on that side. It would be best to have a new tire when the tread depth is less than 2/32 inch, which ensures safety, increases performance and reduces noise.

Void Ratios

The void ratio, also known as the “wet-dry” ratio, is the open space in the trench used for drainage, fenders, and snow removal. If this number is low, the contact patch area is large, the drainage capacity is low, and vice versa. For example, travel tires will have a 60/40 contact patch and void ratio.

In terms of noise, they also produce certain sounds because the gaps are exposed to the air pressure, which is compressed by the contact surface and creates a “boom.” Fortunately, manufacturers quickly discovered this shortcoming and changed the design with many different sizes on the same tire.

Instead of the same size, they create blocks of large, small, and extremely small spikes. The tendons were also diverged following the size and configuration of the spiny masses. In this way, they indirectly interfere with or eliminate the noise with white noises – pleasant sounds that help people calm down.

Moreover, they also balance the sound frequencies around your car, such as the steering wheel, roof, windshield, rearview mirror, etc., by mutual resonance to cancel themselves out or increase to a frequency humans can comfortably hear.

Zigzag Sipes

Sipes are small grooves that are cut across the larger components of the tread. They act as “suction cups” to break up the membrane and tension of water on the surface and store water and air. Then, centrifugal force when the wheel rolls will push the water out, drying it. The same way it works with snow or mud.

Manufacturers often favor sipes zigzag designs or different depths, which support faster water and air drainage. As a result, the hissing sounds you can hear will also be eliminated. Furthermore, they also assist in absorbing impacts on different road surfaces, reducing vibration and improving quiet tire ride, including roughness.

The zigzag grooves help drain the tires, limiting the squealing noises when in contact with the surface and the air

In addition, tread patterns are designed in a variety of ways, but to see the most obvious difference, you can refer to three typical tires such as:

Type or tiresTread patterns
WinterHard with plenty of space to increase traction and remove snow
SummerStiffer with many drainsHigh wet and dry grip performance, even in deep water
All-seasonBe directional with relatively straight and smooth, allowing traction at high or low temperatures


By understanding how tread design affects noise levels, manufacturers can offer a wide range of tires to suit different roads, weather, and vehicle types to minimize noise as much as possible. At the same time, they also give the necessary recommendations and parameters to achieve the most stable slick operation.

In addition, drivers need to pay attention to regular tire checks and maintenance to ensure safety and improve journey performance!