Winter tyres in summer

Swapping tyres every six months or so can be costly but, in many countries, it’s compulsory. So why do it? Why not drive on winter tyres in summer or summer tyres in winter?


The simple fact is that their designs and compound are completely different and, as much as winter tyres are unsuitable in warmer weather, summer tyres can compromise safety in very low temperatures.

What’s wrong with winter tyres in summer?

Winter tyres are designed to stay supple in temperatures below +7 degrees C. Their deep tread patterns are optimised for snow and slush and their tread blocks are created for added traction in wet, wintery conditions. They’re unbeatable in cold temperatures. Read our article ‘What are winter tyres?’ for more detail.

However, when temperatures rise above +7 degrees C, summer tyres are a much more suitable option. Summer tyres have less natural rubber in their compounds and this makes them softer and stickier which is better for gripping wet and dry roads in milder temperatures.

The higher rolling resistance that winter tyres offer in icy conditions can have a detrimental effect in warmer weather, leading to greater wear and tear. In contrast, summer tyres’ lower rolling resistance has a positive effect on fuel economy.

Finally, summer tyres have shorter stopping distances in warmer temperatures while winter tyres have shorter stopping distances in colder weather. This is important to bear in mind if you’re using your winter tyres in milder temperatures or your summer tyres in colder temperatures. Neither will brake as efficiently as tyres manufacturered specifically for those temperatures.

Uniroyal. A brand of Continental.

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