You may not even realise that your tyres aren’t equipped to handle the current climate. Whether you select summer, winter, or all season tyres, the choice you make can have a big impact on your vehicle’s performance. 

Do you know the difference between summer, winter, and all season tyres? Read on to learn more, and make an informed decision about which tyres to choose for your vehicle. 

 

Summer Tyres

When you first buy your car from a manufacturer, chances are it will be fitted with summer tyres. These are tyres designed with a shallow tread, which work well on both dry and wet surfaces.  Summer tyres have better handling than winter tyres, as well as greater braking stability and shorter braking distances. Summer tyres are also able to drive at a higher speed than winter tyres, have more contact with the road surface, and are fuel-efficient.

Whilst summer tyres are great for the warmer months, driving on summer tyres in winter is a bad idea for a few reasons:

  •         The tread on summer tyres copes poorly with snow and ice
  •         Summer tyres have lower acceleration in winter
  •         Summer tyres have longer braking distances on snow and ice

Using summer tyres in colder months of the year can damage them, as summer tyres are designed to function best in temperatures 7°C and above. Made from a tough rubber compound, when the temperature falls, summer tyres have a tendency to harden, and you will notice a difference in your car’s performance. It is always best to switch to winter tyres for the colder months, to maintain control of your vehicle.

 

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Winter Tyres

As the temperature begins to journey below 7°C, you should think about replacing your summer tyres with winter tyres. In contrast to the hard rubber compound of summer tyres, winter tyres are made from a different form of rubber compound which has more elasticity, which helps them to grip the road even in colder temperatures. Comprised of a deeper tyre tread and sipes melded to the tread blocks which help them to compact the snow that your car drives over, winter tyres can maintain traction with the ground, even as they drive over icy terrain. This tread depth can also help to prevent aquaplaning, which can be extremely dangerous for drivers.

As a side note, please bear in mind that the legal requirement for tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the middle three-quarters of the tyre. No matter which tyres you choose, by law, this is the standard of tread depth you must adhere to. 

Like summer tyres in winter, there are a few key reasons not to drive on winter tyres in the summer months:

  •         Winter tyres can become too soft in summer months
  •         You will have less control over braking
  •         Reduced traction when accelerating
  •         Winter tyres wear faster in rainy weather
  •         Extended stopping distances

As you can imagine, driving winter tyres in summer can prove dangerous for you and your vehicle, so it is always best to change with the seasons.

 

All Season Tyres

All season tyres are designed to be used - you guessed it - all year round. Whilst they may not operate just as well as summer tyres would in summer, or winter tyres would in winter, they are a good alternative for those of us who don’t want the hassle of switching tyres twice a year. Their design combines the deep tread of a winter tyre (on its inside half), with the shallow tread of a summer tyre (on its outside half). The tread shouldn’t wear away as quickly as the shallow tread depth of a summer tyre, and all season tyres should cope fairly well with heavy rain.

The weather can change on a whim here in the UK, and all season tyres are a good choice if you want to feel safe and maintain tyre performance throughout the year. However, if you live in an area that is prone to icy weather conditions, then switching to winter tyres in the colder months would be the smart choice.

All season tyres can cope with some amount of snow, but they are not designed to be driven in the same conditions that winter tyres are built to withstand. This is because the more marginal tread pattern of the ‘summer half’ of all season tyres cannot compact snow in the same way that the deep tread of the ‘winter half’ can.

Whether you choose summer, winter, or all season tyres, just remember that your tyres should be suited to the current climate. You don’t want to risk a tyre blowout or loss of control over your vehicle as your tyres struggle to adjust to the elements.

Considering changing your tyres? You can buy new tyres easily through BookMyGarage and get your car up and running in no time. Prioritise the health of your tyres, and you could save yourself from any additional damage that an unexpected tyre blowout can cause. 

 

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