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Should I Use Winter Tires in the Summer?

Should I Use Winter Tires in the Summer?

Investing in winter tires is a wise choice for driving in harsh winter conditions. They give you better traction and braking, better control, and improved road safety in winter conditions.

Do I need to remove them, or can I keep them on my car all year?

Using winter tires in summer decreases their life span

Using winter tires during the summer season can significantly decrease their lifespan by up to 60%.

If used only during the winter, they can last for multiple seasons. Continuous year-round use will mean replacing them more often.

Consider the risks

Using winter tires in summer brings certain risks that should be taken into consideration.

Driving with winter tires in the summer can lead to problems with your wheels, tire tread pattern, and can take you longer to stop.

Using winter tires in the summer can also have financial implications. Switching to appropriate tires for the season can potentially help you save money on your car insurance.

Winter tires are designed for winter

Winter tires are specifically engineered to deliver the best performance in cold temperatures. Their rubber compound is less efficient at dissipating heat, making them more susceptible to over-inflation and blowouts when used in hot weather.

Using winter tires in the summer can also take longer for you to brake. On dry pavement, braking distances can be prolonged by at least 10%, while on wet surfaces, they can increase by up to 26%.

For example, driving at 90km/h on dry pavement with winter tires can lengthen the braking distance by approximately 19%, and on wet pavement, it can be increased by 42%.

The softer rubber compound in winter tires causes them to change shape more easily, leading to increased rolling resistance and higher fuel consumption when used in summer.

Differences between winter and summer tires

Winter and summer tires differ primarily in their tread patterns and rubber composition.

Winter tires feature a deeper tread pattern with thinner cuts (sipes) compared to the larger treads found in summer tires. The tread patterns feature thin cuts (sipes) that help clear away excess slush, while the rubber composition is designed to provide optimal grip on cold and dry pavement.

Summer or all-season tires, on the other hand, are designed to perform best in temperatures above 7°C. They are made from a softer rubber and equipped with larger tread blocks to maximize contact with the road. Summer tires provide superior grip in warm weather and deliver better handling and braking performance in both wet and dry conditions.

Three reasons not to use winter tires in summer

1. Faster wear and tear

Winter tires are designed to excel in cold weather conditions, but their soft rubber composition is not well-suited for warm and hot road surfaces. As a result, using winter tires in the summer can lead to accelerated wear and tear.

2. Poor performance on dry pavement

Winter tires are made for traction and control on icy and snowy surfaces. Using winter tires in the summer can result in reduced grip and handling capabilities, compromising your car’s performance and safety on dry roads.

Summer tires, with their harder compound and specific tread patterns, are designed to provide superior performance in warm weather conditions.

3. Poor fuel economy

Winter tires have a softer rubber compound that generates more rolling resistance when used in summer. This increased resistance can negatively impact your car’s fuel efficiency, leading to higher fuel consumption.

Summer tires offer better rolling efficiency and can contribute to improved fuel economy.