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What is the Difference Between Summer and Winter Tyres

A tyre is a tyre – or is it? As is so often the case, there is more to them than meets the eye. What they all have in common is that they are black, round, and have grooves. Of course, that is by no means all. Summer and winter tyres both have special features that make them easy to distinguish and which indicate why they are ideally suited for a particular season. During the other seasons, however, they could become a safety hazard.

Broadly speaking, there are two main differences between summer and winter tyres. You will see these by looking at the different treads. In contrast to summer tyres for car, winter tyres have so-called sipes. This refers to very fine, mostly zigzag-shaped grooves on the tread blocks. These interlock with ice and snow in winter weather and therefore provide considerable protection against sliding.

Not visible, but just as important, is the softer rubber compound of the winter tyres. This means that the tyres maintain enough grip even at low temperatures, whereas in the summer heat they lead to more abrasion and a significantly longer braking distance. If you are thinking ahead, you can buy winter tyres now and get ready for the colder season in advance.

Summer vs. Winter tyres

Summer vs. Winter tyres

Summer Winter
hard rubber compound soft rubber compound
withstand extreme summer temperatures sipes on the entire tread
no sipes (treads within treads) usually deeper tread grooves
coarse tread grooves optimum grip on ice and snow
better water drainage  faster abrasion and longer braking distance
usually less driving noise situational winter tyre use:
ational winter tyre use: symbols are mandatory not permitted M+S/3PMSF
summer temperature range: conditions above 7° C   in snow (slush) and icy

In addition to summer and winter tyres, all-weather tyres have become increasingly popular in recent years. They are designed so that they can be driven in all seasons. They provide grip in summer temperatures, as well as in snow and slush, and also keep you from having to change wheels in spring and autumn. Nevertheless, tyre manufacturers warn against the ill-considered use of all-weather tyres. Due to their composition, all-weather tyres are not an optimal compromise between summer and winter tyres, which are designed for the specific seasons.

All-weather tyres

  • rather soft rubber compound
  • sipes mostly on centre tread only
  • tread more like winter tyres
  • mandatory: M+S/3PMSF symbol (for winter suitability)
  • situational winter tyre use: all-weather tyres with 3PMSF symbol permitted
  • not suitable for extreme weather conditions

Can you mix summer and winter tyres?

The opinions on this vary widely, depending on the driver and which country they are living in.
Most experts agree that just to be on the safe side, you should change all four tyres for each appropriate season and not combine summer/winter or all-season car tyres.

Can you mix summer and winter tyres?

It is important that you consider when and where you will be using your vehicle in order to keep yourself and your passengers safe on the road. Be sure to do your homework and find out which tyres are best for you before you buy cheap car tyres online. Check the tyre and car manufacturer’s recommendations and precautions before you make your purchase.

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