Used up winter tyre does not become an all-season one

Can you drive on winter tyres in the summer?
Some drivers are tempted by the idea of not changing winter tyres for the summer type – the deceptive saving of time and money makes them forget about safety. Such a decision can have tragic consequences – the braking distance from 100 km/h on winter tyres can be up to 16 meters longer in comparison with the braking distance of summer tyres[1]. If someone is fine with having worse grip in the winter and summer in exchange for not having to change tyres, they should invest in all-season tyres with winter homologation – their construction is a compromise between summer and winter tyres. A winter tyre with half the tread depth becomes neither a summer nor an all-season tyre! The special design of tread and rubber compound used in the winter production remain the same!

Winter tyres have a softer rubber compound, so that at lower temperatures they do not become as hard as plastic and remain elastic. This feature, which in winter is an advantage, becomes a big disadvantage in the summer when the temperatures of roads reach 50-60ºC and more. Then the grip of winter tyres decreases drastically. Winter tyres are not adapted to summer weather conditions!

The use of winter tyres in the summer is also completely unjustified from an economic point of view. Winter tyres in the summer wear out very quickly and deteriorate. Under such conditions, typical winter tyres also increase fuel consumption.

Due to the more frequently occurring favourable weather conditions, drivers drive faster in the summer. Winter tyres wear much faster on hot and dry asphalt – especially at high speeds. Summer tyres already at the stage of their design are properly reinforced to be able to withstand higher temperatures. Using winter tyres in summer is therefore only apparent saving on which the driver is betting their whole life – says Piotr Sarnecki, general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PTIA).

While driving on winter tyres in the summer conditions the braking distance increases, the car loses controllability while cornering and the comfort of driving reduces. The braking distance of a car on winter tyres when braking from 100 km/h to a full stop can be up to 16 m longer than on summer tyres! That is four lengths of an average car. It is not difficult to guess that summer tyres would stop the car in front of an obstacle, which the car on winter tyres would hit with all its momentum. What if the obstacle is a pedestrian or a wild animal?

If somebody wants to drive only on one set of tyres and mainly around the city, then good all-season tyres with winter homologation – which combine the properties of summer and winter tyres – are a safe choice. However, it should be remembered that all-season tyres will always perform worse when compared to those dedicated to a given season. Even the best all-season tyres in the summer will not be as good as the best summer ones, and in winter as good as the best winter ones. Let’s remember that our health and life as well as the health and lives of our loved ones and other road users are invaluablePiotr Sarnecki adds.

[1] Source: ADAC

Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association