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Summer tires in winter

Summer tires in winter

The dangers of using summer tires in the winter

The seasons are changing, and winter is on the horizon. It's getting cold, and perhaps there's a bit of snow or ice on the road. You know you should, but changing the tires on your car can be a hassle. You're wondering whether you can leave the summer tires on your vehicle. The short answer is no. Using summer tires in winter conditions is dangerous and risks damaging your tires.

Local weather conditions are a huge deciding factor for the choice of your tires. If it’s dry all year long and doesn’t dip below freezing, you may get away with summer tires in the mild winter. Be aware that it must also remain warm. Summer tires will get damaged in the cold. With only occasional bouts of freezing temperatures, all-season tires could be a option for mild winter conditions.

We recommend against using summer tires if there’s any snow, it’s icy, or the temperature is frequently freezing. Winter is the time to fit your car with winter or at least all-season tires.

Loss of traction and poor grip

Summer tires have lower rolling resistance than winter tires; this improves efficiency and handling while also reducing noise levels. The tread on these performance tires, however, performs poorly on ice and snow.

In winter weather, summer tires have poor acceleration. Winter tires or snow tires will outperform them on snowy roads. Summer tires have low rolling resistance, resulting in long brake distances on ice or snow. A winter tire has deep tread, with sipes that dig into snow and grip onto ice, providing shorter braking times. By contrast, the compound of winter tires is much softer and less vulnerable to cold temperatures.

The rubber compound on summer tires is designed for warm weather. As the temperature drops, the rubber stiffens. Even if there is no snow or ice, the tire loses traction.

All-season tires by Continental, on the other hand, are equipped with tread and sipes similar to winter tires, so they are able to withstand mild wintry conditions. However, always remember that winter tires are specifically tailored to the relevant conditions.

Risk of damage due to cold temperatures

Even on dry roads without ice and snow, winter brings colder temperatures. Summer tires are not built for cold weather. The tire tread will stiffen. In addition to reducing traction, this poses a risk to the tire itself.

The tire loses its elasticity and may crack. There's a risk of chipping of the overly stiff thread block. Chipped and cracked tires are not safe to drive on and must be replaced.

All-season tires as an alternative

Although all-season tires are not suitable for extreme winter conditions, they can be a good choice for drivers, living in mild winter conditions.The all-season tire offers good handling and features good braking performance on dry and wet surfaces. In addition, drivers can save money and time, and reduce the effort required for seasonal tire changes.

If you are unsure about the right tire choice, please contact your local dealer for personal advice. 

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