Car forum haunters sometimes tell stories how they used winter or snow tires in summer. They usually say that winter tires can give you better comfort in summer and loss in performance is not that critical. Because of that many drivers are often reluctant to change tires for different seasons and prefer to use one tire set for all weather and road conditions.
On the other hand, all tire experts and manufacturers share the same opinion: summer tires are for summer and winter tires are for winter. Full stop! All season tires can be considered to be a reasonable choice only as a third tire set – for spring and autumn.
Winter tire performance in summer
What risks are you running when using winter tires in summer? The main goal of all tire manufacturers is to ensure safety for you and your car on all surfaces and at different weather conditions. Reduced safety is a result of many factors. Tire experts enumerate the following drawbacks of snow tires at higher temperatures:
- Worse grip, traction and braking. Snow tires have numerous sipes on their treads that help them bite into the snow and clutch to icy road. In summer they do the opposite job. Winter tire has softer compound, so at high temperature in summer it “melts” provoking full-lock skidding. Tests show that the difference in braking from 60 mph to 3 mph is 18%. This is enough to make you ram into the car in front of you at the traffic lights.
- Lower aquaplaning resistance. Winter tires have tread pattern not suitable for quick driving and removing big mass of water from contact spot.
- Poorer road holding. Summer tires have sturdier sidewalls and hold the road better.
- Bigger fuel consumption. Because of soft material winter tires have less rolling resistance that results in more fuel expenses.
The only “advantage” of snow tires is a smoother ride. Is it enough to use winter tires in summer? Certainly, it is not. What can you do if you still use them? Here is the main recommendation.
Winter tires in summer – drive very carefully!
The tips for drivers who use inappropriate tires, no matter of what kind, are usually similar. First of all, you should avoid speeding up too much, especially on turns. In the city you’d better keep a safe distance with the next car, because your stopping distance will be longer. Driving in the rain requires even more attention.
A doubtful economy
It is important to consider that using winter tires in summer can bring even more expenses. Why? Because of increased wear your tires are not likely to survive until next winter, and you will have to buy a new set. That’s why you don’t even save on safety, you only lose. Experienced drivers recommend changing tires as soon as warm weather sets in. Following this recommendation you will protect yourself form road accidents and extend the wear life of your tires.