Summer Tyres Vs. Winter Tyres – The reasons to switch

When it comes to the rubber that meets the road your vehicle drives on, it need not be a case of one shoe fits all. There is a variety of driving conditions tyres have to contend with – the terrain, the type of automobile and even the season of use. In fact, the weather dependent criterion is a more specialized case but not less critical for those it can impact.

Summer Tyres Vs. Winter Tyres

Broadly, the driving condition where seasonality plays a role is restricted to two. One is summer, which is the regular one that concerns most everyone in Australia. The second is the winter, where the temperature can dip below 5-7 degrees Celsius all the way to under zero. But is it beneficial to have two sets of tyres throughout the year, a set for summer and a specialist set for winter?

Summer tyres – designed for regular conditions of over 7 degrees Celsius. But, in winter conditions and, especially in snow, they can be grossly inadequate due to the following reasons:

  • Lack of sufficient grip while taking on terrain with snow or even moisture on account of ice
  • Braking can be a nightmare. Tendency of the vehicle to continue on or even skid when the brakes are applied.
  • Should we have to do an emergency manoeuvre the car with summer tyres is very slow to react. In fact, at even moderate speeds, a change of direction would result in the vehicle carrying on in a straighter direction before turning.

Winter tyres – made of rubber that stays soft at lower temperatures, tread patterns are more complex. Given the specialized requirement for which it is designed and manufactured, it benefits from the following strengths:

  • Better grip, car behaves much better and goes where the driver steers it towards
  • The braking is much more predictable, with shorter stopping distances.
  • In unexpected road conditions, should you have to turn to avoid a vehicle up front, it is reassuring to have the winter tyres negotiating the change of direction promptly and confidently.

Summer Tyres Vs. Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are even preferred by drivers in such climes as they perform much better in winter but also are not too far behind when they are used in summers as well. In fact, it has been seen that there is not more than 10% drop in performance levels for winter tyres as against summer tyres when used in hotter conditions.But summer tyres perform much worse off – even a 50% drop in grip – when they are used in comparison to winter tyres in colder conditions. Most of the winter accidents are a result of skidding due to a loss of tyre traction.

Driving is all about making a safe choice and the right tyres. The reasons to switch between summer and winter tyres need to be taken seriously before making a decision. Nevertheless, it is advisable to use winter tyres when the average temperature is regularly below 7 degrees Celsius.


Lizzie Robinson has been writing professionally since 2011, when she discovered a love of cars. She has an interest in writing about cars and other vehicles, especially since her father spent his life working in the auto trade.

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