This page includes information on:

1. Understanding tyres   2. Managing your tyres   3. Tips for commercial vehicle tyres   4. Tyre pattern types

 
 
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1. UNDERSTANDING TYRES
 

The anatomy of a tyre

Tyres are made of complex materials, including rubber and silicon, reinforced with layers of nylon, polyester, and/or steel cord belts. The tread is the critical part that grips the road. Tyre treads come in different patterns, made up in combinations of ribs, blocks, lugs and other elements.

 

Lugs

 Lugs – example shown on the Birla Ultra Drive Platina

Lugs – example shown on the Birla Ultra Drive Platina

This is the main element of the tread, the voids which run laterally across the tyre in from the shoulder. Their purpose is to improve traction, and also help to channel water from under the tyre.  Lug pattern tyres - which are predominantly lugs, give very good traction so are used for off road vehicles and for the drive wheels of trucks and buses.

 

Ribs

 Ribs – example shown on the Birla Ultra Miler Platina

Ribs – example shown on the Birla Ultra Miler Platina

These are circumferential ribs or contact bars that run around the circumference of the tyre tread, with grooves between them. They help to improve the steering and braking effectiveness. Rib pattern tyres have good directional stability so are used for the steering wheels of trucks and buses.

 

Blocks

 Blocks – example shown on the Birla A541 Robus

Blocks – example shown on the Birla A541 Robus

These are formed where the lugs cross the grooves. Block pattern tyres have good traction and water dispersal, so are used for winter tyres and for off-road vehicles.

 

Sipes

 Sipes – example shown on the Birla R81+

Sipes – example shown on the Birla R81+

Other void elements in the tyre pattern include sipes and dimples. Sipes are the narrow voids and passageways on the tyre lugs, usually around 0.3-1.5 mm deep. They help to improve the tyre’s traction on wet surfaces and snow. They also assist in channelling water away from underneath the tyre, which helps build resistance to hydroplaning. Dimples are small voids sometimes found on the lugs to improve grip and tyre cooling.  A larger number of voids can diminish a tyre’s grip on dry surfaces, yet offers better performance on wet surfaces. As a result, the number of voids depends on the tyre’s purpose, as specific wet or snow tyres  may feature more tread voids.

A fuller description of the different tyre pattern types can be found below in section 4.

 
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2. MANAGING YOUR TYRES
 

Checking correct inflation

Check tyre pressures regularly. Maintenance of proper tyre pressure is important for safety and to achieve optimum mileage. Uneven, over or under-inflation will lead to less grip - and therefore poorer braking and cornering - as well as premature tyre ageing and poor fuel consumption. 

Tyre pressures should match the manufacturers recommendations for your vehicle, which can be found on your vehicle, and in the handbook, They need to also match the amount of load your vehicle is carrying.

 

Maintaining your tyres

You can ensure top mileage, safe performance and optimum handling of your tyres by adopting a few simple habits. Here are three simple rules to get the most out of your Birla tyres. 

  1. Rotate your tyres. 

    Do this every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres between the front and rear axles to ensure all tyres wear out evenly. 
  2. Cultivate good driving habits.

    Excessive speeding, braking and sideslips will reduce the lifespan of your tyres and compromise safety. 
  3. Ensure proper wheel alignment and balancing.

    A vehicle is properly aligned when its steering and suspension components are running straight and true. Get a professional at a Birla Tyre dealer to check your vehicle when there is excessive vehicle vibration or side pulling.

 

Checking tread depth - seeing when to replace your tyres

To ensure the safety, performance and efficiency of your vehicle, it is important to know when to replace your tyres. Here are 2 easy ways to find out whether your vehicle's tyres have worn out and need changing. 

  1. Locate tread wear indicators

    These are raised bars made of hard rubber lying across two parallel treads. They are difficult to spot on new tyres, but as the tread wears down, tread wear indicators become more visible. Once these bars become flush with the treads, it indicates that your tyre has worn out and needs replacing. 
  2. Measure tread depth

    Place a ruler within one of the tread grooves of your tyre. It should read more than 1.6mm. If the reading is 1.6mm or below, your tyre should be replaced. Repeat this step in several places around the tyre to ensure accuracy.

Worn tyres lead to accidents - they will not brake as fast, and risk losing grip and slipping out-of-control on corners, particularly if taken too fast or too sharply. For the sake of you own safety - and the safety of your passengers - replace your tyres as soon as you find they have worn out at a Birla Tyre dealer.

 

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3. TIPS FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE TYRES
 


The right tyres for the right axles

Choosing the right tyres – rib tyres for steer axles and lug or blocker hybrid tyres for drive axles -  is important, and when you rotate your tyres, you need to make sure that you still have the right sort of tyre for each axle.


Choosing bias versus radial tyres

Choosing the right tyres for your vehicle is not difficult. Here are some key considerations to get the most suitable Birla tyre for your vehicle. 

  • Bias tyres have thicker and stronger sidewalls than radial tyres, so are better and safer for mining, off-road and poor surface roads.
  • The threads of bias truck tyres are designed to self-clean and release foreign objects such as mud to maintain traction. Its rubber compounds are also softer to produce better grip and sidewalls reinforced to prevent damage. Hence, bias truck tyres provide unrivalled performance in harsh off-road situations such as farming and mining.
  • Radial tyres are more suited for paved roads and highways where their versatility produces better road handling at high speeds. Their longevity, handling and smooth ride characteristics make radial tyres suitable for driving SCVs and LCVs in cities when there are good quality smooth roads.
  • Although it is generally true that a larger tyre results in better traction, there are better ways to improve traction than increasing tyre size. Installing a traction differential (locker) with stock truck tyres or a winch is a more efficient way to improve traction.  Keep in mind that installing larger tyres will require you to make changes to your vehicle such as increasing its suspension or modifying its gear ratio.

Retreadability

For a fleet owner/manager, you will get more value from the tyres you buy if they can be safely and reliably be retreaded. 

Birla Tyres' truck and bus bias tyres are generally designed for retreadability, to help you get the best value for your fleet.

BT Products are specially designed with advance technology for optimum mileage with multiple retreads which will give value for money


Tyre rotation

Do this every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres between the front and rear axles to ensure all tyres wear out evenly. Here is a tyre rotation guide for different vehicle configurations.

 

Suggested tyre rotation for 4x2 vehicles

 Direction of rotation is the same, keep tyres on the same axle

Direction of rotation is the same, keep tyres on the same axle

 

Suggested tyre rotation for 6x2 vehicles

 Direction of rotation is the same but the wheel position is changed, if the tyres are not fitted on the same day on rear axles

Direction of rotation is the same but the wheel position is changed, if the tyres are not fitted on the same day on rear axles


Suggested tyre rotation for 6x4 vehicles

 Direction of rotation is the same but the wheel position is changed

Direction of rotation is the same but the wheel position is changed


Suggested tyre rotation for 8x4 vehicles

 Direction of rotation is the same but wheel position is changed

Direction of rotation is the same but wheel position is changed

 
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4. TYRE PATTERN TYPES

The mixture of these pattern elements gives the pattern type. Different pattern types are better for different types of use.


Rib pattern

Rib patterns have ribs running around the circumference of tyre, with grooves in straight lines or parallel S-shaped voids along the axis.

 Example of a rib pattern – the Ultra Miler Platina

Example of a rib pattern – the Ultra Miler Platina

Uses: These tyres are generally designed for use on hard road surfaces, such as tarmac and concrete. Because they have good directional stability they are often fitted to the steering wheels of trucks and buses.

Advantages: 

  • Good directional stability and steering control
  • Lower rolling resistance, so greater fuel efficiency
  • Suitable for sustaining high speeds

Considerations: 

  • Less grip than lug pattern when accelerating or braking on wet roads, so less good as drive tyres.

Lug pattern

This pattern refers to a series of grooves which are perpendicular to the tyre’s circumference.

 Example of a lug pattern – the Ultra Drive Platina

Example of a lug pattern – the Ultra Drive Platina

Uses: Lug tyres have high traction so are used for drive axles of commercial vehicles and for 4x4 vehicles designed for dirt roads.

Advantages: 

  • Improved traction
  • Excellent grip when braking and accelerating

Considerations: 

  • Greater noise at high speeds
  • Not as fuel efficient for high speed driving due to additional rolling resistance

Mixed, rib-lug pattern


A mixed shape pattern combines lug and rib features, so may have combinations of S-shaped voids along the axis, as well as perpendicular grooves.

 Example of a mixed rib/lug pattern – the Ultra Multi Platina

Example of a mixed rib/lug pattern – the Ultra Multi Platina

Uses: These tyres are good for both paved and dirt roads and can be found on a variety of trucks and buses, and some can be used in all positions, including drive and steer axles.

Advantages:

  • The central rib provides good directional control
  • The shoulder lugs offer good braking & driving power
  • The mixed shape offers a more balanced performance, so can be used in all positions

Considerations:

  • Not as good in specific drive or steer roles as pure rib or lug patterns.

Block pattern

A block shape pattern refers to designs with independent blocks along the tread, separated by a series of interconnected grooves.

 Example of a block pattern – the D361 Robus

Example of a block pattern – the D361 Robus

Uses:  The main benefit to these tyres is there ability to perform well on mud and snow. This makes them highly useful as off-road, or winter tyres, as well as all-season tyres for passenger cars.

Advantages: 

  • Good steering and stability on wet, muddy and snow-covered roads
  • Good water dispersal properties thanks to the numerous grooves

Considerations: 

  • Low durability, depending on the size of the tread blocks

Directional pattern

Directional treads are often used for 2-wheeler and for passenger car tyres. They have a series of lateral grooves positioned at the same angle on both sides of the tyre. This creates a ‘direction’  as - correctly fitted - all grooves point forward.

 Example of a directional pattern – the F81+

Example of a directional pattern – the F81+

Use:
Directional tyres are most commonly found on 2-wheelers and high speed passenger cars.

Advantages: 

  • Very good traction and braking
  • Good water dispersal for stability on wet roads
  • A good choice for fast driving styles

Considerations: 

  • Due to their directional nature, these tyres need to be installed with the correct orientation.

The different tyre patterns are each designed to give optimum performance for different types of vehicles in different types of conditions. Birla Tyres produces a broad range of tyres, so there is an optimum tyre for everyone. If you are not sure which is the best for your vehicle, consult the experts - go to a Birla Tyre dealer.