Performance Tire Siping

What Is Siping and How Is It Done?

Siping is the process of cutting thin slits across the surface of a tire to improve traction for driving in snowy, wet or icy conditions. Siping can also help manage tire heat when the road is overly hot.

Siping is done by placing your tires (new or used) on a specially designed machine that rotates your tires while making small, nearly invisible 90-degree cuts in your tread. It’s actually easier to tell if a tire is siped by the improvement in vehicle handling than by visual inspection.

Independent studies have found that siped tires help you stop your vehicle sooner. Find out how siping will improve your traction in the video, “Get better traction with tire siping” or read on below.

How tire siping works

Should I Get My Tires Siped?

Tire siping improves traction and braking, makes for a smoother ride, and prolongs tire life. Siping won’t reduce tire performance in any way. The tire tread retains its toughness due to the patented spiral cutting process. This leaves uncut areas known as tie bars intact, keeping your tread strong.

Better Traction

The surface of your tire is made up of many smaller surfaces called tread blocks. These surfaces are especially important when it comes to icy or wet road conditions. Tread blocks get their gripping power from the numerous sharp surrounding edges. Siping provides even more of these gripping edges.

Tire surface comparison

Improved Braking

Research has shown the most effective braking power occurs immediately prior to losing traction. Siping extends the window allowed for maximum braking power, by giving the existing tread a helping hand.

Tire gripping edges comparison

Smoother Ride

Your tires have to absorb impacts from the road’s surface. When that surface is more coarse or rough, your tires have even more work to do. Siping gives your tires micro-flexibility, resulting in a smoother ride. This, in turn, reduces the wear on your tire’s carcass (the tread, bead, sidewall, shoulder, and ply) and lengthens tire life.

Tire surface flexibility comparison

Longer Tire Life

Heat generation is a common cause of rapid tire wear and even tire failure. While this heat is a natural result of friction, too much can be a negative.

Siping reduces friction heat and its effect on your tire by allowing the tire to cool. The sipes act by isolating heat into small “corrals” and allowing air to pass between them, thereby dispersing the heat and naturally cooling the tire.

Tire thermal image comparison

Why Don’t My Tires Come Siped From the Manufacturer?

First, the siping process we use would be too expensive and time-consuming for manufacturers. Plus, typical factory siping leaves small, vacant gaps in the tire tread. The Les Schwab siping process creates gripping edges without gaps and without removing any rubber, allowing the individual sipes to support each other.

Learn More