Driving with Winter Tires In Summer: Top Reasons to Reconsider

Driving with Winter Tires In Summer: Top Reasons to Reconsider

March 30, 2023

Many people consider leaving their winter tires on during summer to save time and avoid the hassle and expenses of changing them. However, driving on winter tires in summer can have adverse effects.

In this article, we will discuss why it's not advisable to use winter tires in summer and provide some tips to make switching between winter and summer tires easier.

Snow tires and higher temperatures (above 7°C)

Winter tires are designed to perform better in colder temperatures, with softer rubber that provides better traction and handling below 7°C. However, using winter tires in summer can lead to a shorter lifespan, as higher pavement temperatures and friction can wear down the soft rubber more quickly. This can reduce the lifespan of all four winter tires by up to 60%, meaning that they may need to be replaced after just a few years, resulting in double the cost compared to switching to all-season tires when appropriate.

Winter tires reduce fuel economy in the summer

Winter tires are designed to be pliable and adapt to changing conditions, which can lead to increased rolling resistance as they warm up in summer. This resistance creates additional drag during tire rotation, resulting in higher fuel consumption to maintain cruising speed. As a result, fuel economy is reduced, leading to higher costs at the gas pump.

Winter tires affect handling and safety during the summer

Picture yourself driving down a highway in July, and suddenly an object (or animal) jumps out in front of you. In such a scenario, which tire type do you think would be more helpful in avoiding the object? Winter tires, with their softer treads, may increase braking time or cause the vehicle to deviate from the steering wheel commands you provide.

On the other hand, summer tires have better grip on the road, allowing for more responsive steering and directing your vehicle where you want it to go. Additionally, they significantly reduce braking distance, making them a better option for summer driving.

When should you remove winter tires?

In Quebec and British Columbia, winter tires are mandatory for safe driving during the colder months. In Quebec, drivers are required to use them from December 1 to March 15, regardless of their location within the province. In British Columbia, it varies depending on certain highways, from October 1 to March 31 or April 30. However, it is generally safer to remove them when temperatures consistently stay above 7°C to avoid faster wear and tear of the soft rubber.

Despite the spring weather, when morning and evening temperatures dip below 7°C, rising to 10°C to 12°C during the day, some drivers choose to keep winter tires on to minimize wear and tear. However, it's important to note that using winter tires in summer, when temperatures exceed 15°C to 20°C, can significantly increase the rate of wear and tear on the soft rubber.

Here’s our comprehensive guide on when to remove winter tires (by province).

Summer tires provide optimal performance during warmer months

Summer tires are designed with treads and materials that provide optimal performance on warm roads, unlike winter tires in summer. They are less pliable than their winter counterparts and perform better at higher temperatures. The tread patterns of summer tires effectively whisk away rain and provide superior grip on dry, warm roads. In contrast, winter tires become too soft and reduce handling during summer months.

Moreover, driving with summer tires during summer weather is way more enjoyable as they promote the proper feel and response of your vehicle.

3 money-saving tips for owning and maintaining winter and summer tires

  1. When considering tire mounting deals from auto shops and dealerships, be careful. If you have a separate set of rimmed snow tires, you may possess the necessary skills and tools to change them out yourself when temperatures are suitable, as opposed to using winter tires in summer.

  2. Springtime can present a perfect opportunity to purchase a set of snow tires and rims, as dealerships may offer excellent deals. Additionally, you can search for new or used sets on local online marketplaces.|

  3. By switching out your summer and winter tires at the proper time and practicing good driving habits, you can extend the life of your snow tires and save money in the long run. Instead of replacing them after just two or three seasons, imagine owning a capable set of snow tires for five or six seasons. This reduces the frequency and inconvenience of purchasing and installing new tires.

Overall, it is not advisable nor economical to ride on winter tires in summer months. However, with proper planning, you can make the switch between summer and winter tires a simpler project and gain peace of mind driving throughout the year.


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