Wednesday, February 19, 2020
News Three Things That Happen When Using Winter Tires in Summer

Three Things That Happen When Using Winter Tires in Summer

This is what will happen if you decide to keep your winter tires in summer.


Is using winter tires in summer really that bad? Most will tell you its horrible, that it’s the worst thing you can ever do and that you’re putting not only yourself in danger but also every other car and person on the road.

The truth is, it may not be the smartest thing you’ve ever done, but it’s also not as bad as, say, using summer tires in winter if that makes any sense. Obviously, winter tires were not designed to be used when its mild or hot outside. And in a perfect world, we want to use something that was designed to be used how we are using it.

But, I remember being in college, broke as a bag of rocks, and needing a new set of rubbers for my red 2000 Honda Civic DX Hatchback. I barely had enough money to fill the tank once a month, let alone spend $500 on summer tires. And so when April came around, I kept my Costco winter tires on the car and decided I would just have to live with the consequences.

By the time fall came around, I had saved enough money for a new set of winter tires because the ones I had kept all summer were done for… But that was it. Ok, maybe once or twice I slowed down big time in heavy rain because I could feel the tires losing their grip, but that was during a storm. Regular rain had little impact.

So what really happens to winter tires in summer? Can they explode because of the heat? Will they hydroplane like crazy? Let’s take a closer look at the three things you will experience when using winter tires in summer.

Do You Need Winter Tires If You Have AWD?

Increased Tire Wear

Tire compounds are designed for certain temperatures. Winter tires are designed for use in cold weather, not warm temperatures. And so, we don’t recommend you keep your winter tires on all year if you can afford summer tires. Keeping your winter set on 365 days a year will likely take away one winter use from your set.

Your winter tires will get softer in summer and will wear more quickly, but they won’t explode. Whoever came up with that idea was just trying to scare you.


Longer Braking Distances and Less Agility

Winter tires have longer braking distances in summer than proper summer tires or even all-season rubbers. You will also notice that your vehicle doesn’t handle as well if you compare with summer tires.

This is all true, but here’s the thing. To really notice a major difference in braking and handling, you have to drive faster than you probably do on average. Only when pushing your car and your tires will you notice a real difference between summer tires in summer and winter tires in summer. If you just drive casually, you probably won’t notice anything different.


More Hydroplaning

This is the thing you have to be careful about. Winter tires aren’t designed to evacuate water as easily and quickly as summer tires. If it’s raining outside, you will want to be very careful if you keep your winter tires on in summer. Same goes for large puddles. You really have to keep an eye out for instances of hydroplaning.


Final Thoughts On Winter Tires in Summer

It’s not ideal to keep your winter tires on in summer, no question about it. But as stated previously, it’s not as bad as using summer tires in winter. That’s a major no-no.

If you can afford all-season tires or summer tires, then you should put them in your vehicle some time in April. If you can’t, then just make sure your tires are inflated properly and still have the recommended tread depth. Be careful when it rains, and just make sure you account for longer braking distances.

 

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Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur
Charles Jolicoeur was studying to be a CPA when he decided to drop everything and launch a car website in 2012. Don't ask. The journey has been an interesting one, but today he has co-founded and manages 8 websites including EcoloAuto.com and MotorIllustrated.com as General Manager of NetMedia360. He also sits on the board of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada. Send me an email

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