The general rule of thumb is that when the average seasonal temperature rises about 7 degrees Celsius, it is time to have your summer tyres fitted. There is no specific date when this happens in temperate countries but the right time is usually around the end of March or early April. As summer tyres lose their traction at lower temperatures, however, it makes sense to ensure that the weather is stable before making the switch.
There are many reasons to replace your winter tyres with summer ones, the most important of which is ensuring optimal driving performance for summer weather conditions.
Summer tyres vs Winter tyres
Specifically designed to handle higher seasonal temperatures and to grip well on dry and wet roads, summer tyres equate to more accurate steering, effective braking, greater fuel efficiency and an overall smoother driving experience during the summer months.
Winter tyres, on the other hand, are made of compounds that enhance tyre performance at colder temperatures. When conditions rise above 7 degrees Celsius, Winter tyres begin to deteriorate and are much less effective regardless of whether the road surface is dry or wet. The greater number of small slits or ‘sipes’ in the threads of Winter tyres improve their grip on the season’s cold and icy roads. They have the opposite effect in the summer, however, making it a sensible choice to change your tyres when the seasons change.
The all-season tyre
There is a universal tyre that combines both the characteristics of winter and summer tyres called the all-season tyre. Designed for acceptable performance under both seasonal conditions, many tyre specialists argue that the compromise makes all-season tyres less effective than season-specific tyres. Tests have in fact proven that specialised summer tyres perform better and are more durable than their all-season alternative. The combined thread types and rubber compounds in all-season tyres have been found to wear more easily and consume more fuel during the summer months. Excelling in performance tests for both braking and handling, summer tyres have been found to almost always outperform all-season tyres unless they are cheaply sourced.
One of the advantages of using all-season tyres, however, is that you are always prepared for unpredictable weather like a cold snap in late Spring or the onset of sudden Winter conditions in early Autumn.
Choosing summer tyres
How often you use your car and where you drive are two of the biggest influences on the choice of whether to use Summer tyres or invest in one that you will use all year round like the all-season tyre. If you drive more than 5000 kilometres a year under mixed conditions, travelling through both cities and motorways, you will want the durability and stability of summer tyres. The age of your car matters too and specialised summer tyres have been designed for the performance requirements of the modern car. For those, who want to ensure maximum safety and the most efficient use of fuel, having your car fitted with summer tyres from Spring to Autumn comes with the added benefit of comfortable noise-free driving.