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When do you need summer tires, winter tires, or all-season tires?

Summer tires, winter tires, or all-season tires?

Matching the right tires to the right season

Fast facts: Seasonal tire checklist

  • When the seasonal temperature falls below 7 °C (46 °F), it's time to switch to winter tires.
  • Winter tires perform well in all cold weather conditions, ranging from snow and ice to wet and cold dry roads.
  • When seasonal temperatures climb above 7 °C (46 °F), fit your wheels with summer tires.
  • Summer tires deliver high grip levels on wet and dry roads, high stability in curves, and optimal mileage performance at warm temperatures.
  • All-season tires offer decent handling in a variety of driving conditions throughout the year, but with some compromises in straddling both summer and winter capabilities.

The weather changes throughout the year, which affects driving conditions on the road. Your vehicle will benefit from having tires fitted to the wheels that are seasonally appropriate. In some countries, it's even a legal requirement. In this section, we will discuss the differences between three tire categories; summer tires, winter tires, or all-season tires. 

Continental strongly recommends matching the right tires to the right season. That means driving with summer tires in the warmer time of the year and with winter tires during the cold period. This ensures that driving safety and performance are maximized all year round.

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When do you need summer tires?

During the warmer season, where temperatures climb above 7 °C, we strongly recommend that you fit your wheels with summer tires. Only summer tires can guarantee high grip levels on wet and dry roads through their dedicated tread patterns and tread compounds. Summer tires also provide high stability in curves and optimal mileage performance at summer temperatures.

When do you need winter tires?

When the temperature falls below 7 °C (46 °F), it's time to switch to winter tires. These tires perform well in all winter conditions, ranging from snow and ice to wet and cold dry roads. They provide enhanced braking performance in snowy and icy conditions and feature an aggressive tread pattern, clearing away slush and digging into snow for greater traction.

Another reason they're so effective is that they are made of a custom rubber compound that stays soft and flexible at low temperatures for better vehicle control. But it’s not advisable to use winter tires in warm weather; this softer compound will wear out faster on dry tarmac and need replacing sooner.

When do you need all-season tires?

First things first, you should know that all-season tires won't provide optimal performance under all driving conditions. It is always a compromise.

That said, the tread on an all-season tire is typically more durable and lasts longer than tires designed for the winter season. And all-season tires can boast lower rolling resistance, which saves energy and results in better fuel efficiency. Finally, for daily use, motorists may find an all-season tire will be more comfortable and quieter.

But while all-season tires offer decent handling in a variety of driving conditions, there are inevitable compromises in managing both summer and winter capabilities. They can certainly provide some grip in wet and snowy conditions. But winter tires provide the best safety and performance on roads with heavy snowfall and ice.

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