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What is the Difference Between Summer and Winter Tyres?

summer tyres vs winter tyres comparison

Summer tyres

Summer tyres perform best in temperatures above 7°C, typically in the warmer months between late March to September. Contrary to popular belief, summer tyres are designed to perform in the wet and dry heat of summer. The rubber compound used stiffens as temperatures drop which means the tyre reacts to the environmental conditions that are common at this time of year.

The supple composition also helps reduce roads noise for those long motorway journeys. The treads of the tyre have fewer grooves, but they are deep to reduce the chances of aquaplaning. Some British drivers are fine using them the mild, wet winters of the south of England. However, elsewhere changing tyres to match the seasons is the best option.

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are optimised to work best when outside temperatures are under 7°C. Unlike standard tyres, which are good all-rounders and work in a majority of weather conditions, winter-specific tyres use compounds that incorporate more natural rubber. This means that they do not harden in colder conditions. Their pliability in the cold allows winter tyres to grip the road better in snow, slush and ice.

Their noticeably better performance will show when cornering and in their improved stopping distances. Winter tyres are therefore safer in the colder months when road conditions are poor. As well as the rubber compounds used in winter tyres, you’ll notice the tread patterns differ and are more aggressive than typical tyres. This design feature makes for better snow and slush clearing capabilities.

Many suppliers suggest having a spare set of affordable steel wheels for winter on which to fit your winter tyres. It is then a simple job of swapping the wheels when the weather turns cold, rather than removing and fitting different tyres each season. It’s an indispensable convenience, especially for those in rural areas.

Can You Use Winter Tyres All Year Round?

Tyre fitters are commonly asked why motorists shouldn’t use winter tyres all year round? The answer to this is simple. The soft tread that adds extra grip in winter will wear down quickly on a warm and dry road surface. Worn tyres will increase stopping distance and detract from the tyre’s cornering capabilities. The tyres will then not work as well during the winter and will be expensive to replace.

Suppliers of Winter-Specific Tyres

Dedicated tyre suppliers offer a range of winter specific tyres to fit your car. Trusted brands of winter tyre include:

For peace of mind this winter, contact Tyres Northampton for a tyre safety check or a fully comprehensive winter tyre fitting service.

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