For many drivers, the summer months are a great opportunity to enjoy driving, but many often wonder when to switch change from winter tyres to summer tyres? After all, tyres for winter and summer are designed with different conditions in mind, so you need to understand these factors so you know when to change tyre options.
To help you, we’ve compiled a guide of important information that can help determine when to switch to summer tyres.
What is the difference between winter and summer tyres?
The main difference between summer and winter tyres is the composition of the rubber compounds used in the tyre construction process. The compounds used in summer tyres, for instance, are designed for use above 7°C. Below this temperature, summer tyres rapidly harden and their driving properties quickly deteriorate.
For winter tyres, on the other hand, this situation is reversed. These tyres are designed to be used in temperatures below 7°C and their various properties, naturally, deteriorate at temperatures above this. This is because the tyre heats up too quickly, causing a faster rate of wear.
With this in mind, are winter tyres safe in summer? Aside from the difference in driving properties, drivers should note that the rubber compound used in winter products is less effective at braking when driving in summer conditions.
Likewise, summer and winter tyres often have different treads. Winter products feature more sipes - small slits in the tread - and tend to be deeper than summer tyres. This feature ensures strong grip in harsh conditions, but are much less effective in warm, dry climates. For these reasons, using winter tyres in summer conditions is not advised.
There is more than one difference between summer and winter tyres, which is why these products are only suitable for their respective seasons.
What should I pay attention to before I replace tyres?
If you want to know when to change from winter tyres to summer tyres, there are numerous things you can do. First, however, you should observe the condition of your tyres. This way, you can identify if it’s time to replace tyres before you fit them to your vehicle.
While the legal tyre tread minimum in the UK is 1.6 mm, summer tyres generally lose many of their properties once the tread is past 3 mm. This includes traction and its performance on wet surfaces. You should also check the tyre for damage to both the sidewalls and the tread itself.
The tread depth on a summer tyre should be greater than 3 mm. The photograph shows a tyre at the legal minimum depth of 1.6 mm, which ought to be replaced.
If you’re wondering when to replace tyre models, these are the factors that are the most important. Of course, if you have any doubts, you can consult your tyre service personnel or other experts for a professional opinion.
Furthermore, if you typically store tyres in a garage, remember to have them balanced. Poorly balanced tyres will have an adverse effect on the vehicle’s suspension system, causing sideways driving and uneven wear on the tyres themselves. This will, ultimately, make it necessary to replace your tyres more often, so balancing them now will save you both time and money in the long run.
It is always best to check the tread depth before you replace tyres.
Lastly, you should make sure to note the tyre pressure. Tyres lose their pressure though both a natural ‘breathing’ process in the rubber itself, as well as via leakage in the valve. If the pressure is lower than the recommended values given by the manufacturer, there will be a deterioration in the tyre’s traction and braking properties. Its rolling resistance will also increase, leading to higher fuel consumption, and the vehicle will reaction more slowly and inefficiently when turning.
When should i change my winter tyres to summer tyres?
Summer tyres should be fitted when the average 24-hour temperature rises above 7°C. This, of course, is a general principle for drivers want to change tyre. It is hard to determine a specific date, as the weather in late winter, as well as early spring, can be very variable. Depending on your local weather climate, you could replace tyres at the start of March, or perhaps the end of April.
You should wait until the temperature is consistently above 7°C before you change tyre options
Similarly, we also do not recommend switching to summer tyres just because the weather has risen above 7°C for a couple of days. It is more sensible to wait until the weather stabilises - at least for a week or two - before replacing tyres for summer products. This reduces the likelihood of compromising your safety on the road and ensures you don’t swap out your tyres due to an unusual spike in the temperature.
Ultimately, it is hard to recommend one specific tyre to all drivers, as you still need to consider your own personal driving environment. However, if you are looking for high-quality summer tyres at an affordable price, Zeetex tyres are very popular with many motorists.
These economy tyres represent a brand that is developing rapidly and offers quality bordering on that of the premium segment of the market. These tyres are safe and offer excellent driving comfort.
We particularly recommend the Zeetex ZT1000, which is an asymmetric tyre, and the Zeetex HP102+, which is a directional tyre.
Furthermore, if you can check out these summer tyre reviews to help find the best product for you!