The tread of a tire or caterpillar track refers to the rubber on its circumference that makes contact with the road. As tires are used, the tread is worn down limiting their effectiveness in providing traction. A worn tire tread can be replaced using a process known as retreading. The word tread is often used incorrectly to refer to the pattern of grooves cut into the rubber. Those grooves are correctly called the tread pattern, or simply pattern.
The grooves in the rubber are designed to allow water to be expelled from beneath the tire and prevent hydroplaning. The proportion of rubber to air space on the road surface directly affects its traction. Generally there is a tradeoff of tread friction capability; deeper patterns often enhance safety, but simpler designs are less costly to produce and actually may afford some roadway noise mitigation. Tires intended for dry weather use will be designed with minimal pattern to increase the contact patch. Tires w