Tread design and hardness has a major effect on how a car handles and rides under various conditions.
Building a general-purpose passenger car tire requires a lot of compromises: The surface compound has to stretch enough to grip the road, but also resist friction so it last for thousands of miles. It also can't be too smooth, or it won't be able to bite into slick surfaces for winter driving. It also must let go of the road easily so it's easy to for the car to spin, improving gas mileage. The grooves have to be able to channel water and snow away from the tire so the surface can keep in contact with the road.
You may not be driving in all of these conditions, so you may want a more specific tire that fits your needs. A snow tire has deep grooves and a very hard tread to help it bite in to slick roads, but this compromises handling. A summer performance tire will have small grooves and soft tread for grip, but it can't move rain or snow away from its surface, reducing grip in poor conditions. An all-season performance tire will often have the same grooves as a regular car tire combined with the summer tire's rubber. This still offers decent grip, but it will wear down faster than the regular tire. An off-road tire has a large, blocky tread to grab onto rocks and rough surfaces, but this can be very noisy on asphalt. Rain tires have large, curved grooves to move water away from the tread surface, but this limits contact with the road, reducing grip.
And so on...
Take into consideration that manufactures will have differing approaches to these problems, and you have a lot of possible tread patterns.
Posted 3405 day ago