It’s the time of year where many drivers are wondering if they can use their winter tires in summer.
Maybe you can’t afford a new set of summer tires right now. Maybe your winter tires are worn and you know you won’t be using them next year, so you decide to save some tread on your set of summers. Maybe you just don’t see the difference between summer, all-season, and winter tires in summer.
Regardless of why you decide to keep your winter tires on when spring rolls around, just know that it’s not as dangerous as, say, using summer tires in winter. That’s a big no no.
Using winter tires in summer, on the other hand, is not ideal but it’s not as crazy as many portray it to be. We are just being real here.
It would be very easy to tell you about how winter tires on summer roads will dramatically increase braking distances, reduce grip on wet roads to zero, and make so much noise you won’t be able to have a conversation.
The reality is that your car will take longer to come to a complete stop, you will want to be very careful when the road is wet and your tires will be louder. The tread will be a lot more pliable which means it will squish when you make any sort of hard turn or change of direction. But it’s never to the point of winter tires not being usable in summer.
You will want to slow down when it rains because your winter tires won’t evacuate water as well. The biggest problem, however, is the soft rubber. This makes the car brake further, less agile, and less stable. And you will feel it.
How do I know this? Because I’ve been a broke student who could barely find 20$, let alone 400$ for a set of summer tires for his 2000 Civic 15 years ago. When I first started this whole crazy adventure that would become MotorIllustrated 8 years ago, major decisions included eating ramen or Kraft dinner. Summer tires were not an option, and I’m supposed to know everything there is to know about cars.
I drove on winter tires in summer because I couldn’t afford summer tires. And I survived. If I could have afforded a new set, I would have definitely bought one, but that wasn’t possible at the time.
So here’s my advice for you. If you can buy summer tires, do it. If you have to choose between new summer tires now or new winter tires next fall, the winters are way more important. Just take it easy when the weather gets warmer.