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What’s the Difference Between Summer Tyres and Winter Tyres?

Tyres are one of the most important safety aspects of a vehicle. They are the only contact your car has with the road, so choosing the right type of tyre for the conditions is essential. You may or may not have heard of the three main types of tyres – summer, winter, and all-season, but what is the difference and do you really need all of them?

Here at Ken’s Autos, we are an experienced garage in the Croydon area. We have used our expertise to run you through summer tyres, winter tyres, and all-season tyres in our latest blog post below.

All-Season Tyres

An image of an all-season tyre

Perhaps the type we are most familiar with in England, all-season tyres are designed to take key elements from summer and winter tyres to make them effective throughout the year – so long as the weather is moderate.

All-season tyres have grooves that are in-between summer and winter tyres in terms of depth, which allows them to grip in the rain and light winter weather while not sacrificing too much handling and traction in the warmer weather.

Naturally, all-season tyres are not as good in extreme weather as the specialised tyres, but they do a good job at meeting in the middle and being an all-rounder for climates such as the UK. They also have longer tread life, which makes them a financially-sensible option.

Summer Tyres

An image of a summer tyre

As the name suggests, summer tyres are specifically designed for driving in the summer – or in warmer climates altogether. They are made from a harder compound than winter tyres that softens in mild temperatures to adapt to dry and wet conditions.

They are still geared to be able to deal with most weather conditions, so long as it’s warmer than 7 degrees, as they have features such as tread bars to help defend against aquaplaning.

Summer tyres have a simpler tread pattern than all-season and winter tyres both as this helps to increase the contact patch – or the ‘footprint – of the tyre. This allows for improved handling. The friction between summer tyres and the road is also lower, which makes them more fuel efficient.

Winter Tyres

An image of a winter tyre

As is true with summer tyres, winter tyres are more common in countries with extreme climates and not seen very often in England and the UK. The main difference winter tyres have against summer and all-season tyres is that they have deeper grooves with more complex tread patterns. There are wider grooves, with larger channels for snow and water to travel through.

The compound of winter tyres has a higher percentage of natural rubber and silica, which means they don’t harden as much and can remain soft and pliable to ‘stick’ to the snow. This is one of their most important features as this – paired with the characteristics of their tread pattern – allows the snow to gather on the tyres. This might sound counterintuitive, but it’s done on purpose as snow grips to itself extremely well.

The ‘rule of sevens’ applies with winter tyres as well as they are most effective in temperatures below 7 degrees.

Personal Preference or Climate Requirements

An image of a studded tyre

There is no question that all three sets of tyres have strong benefits, as well as some drawbacks. The main question to ask yourself in regards to which tyres you should purchase is the climate you live in. If you’re a resident of somewhere such as Sweden, which has warm summers and very cold winters, it’s a great idea to purchase winter and summer tyres – many people even opt for studded-tyres in certain regions.

In the UK, however, all-season tyres are the most common for a reason: they’re suitable for all year and can generally suffice. If you are looking for improved handling and performance, however, purchasing summer and winter tyres when applicable can be very beneficial.

Ken’s Autos

Ken’s Autos are a team of expert mechanics with multiple garages in the Croydon area. We have many years of experience, so you know you are receiving a service you can trust.

Contact us by calling 0208 763 0102 or 01883 622 069, or filling out our simple contact form to find our what we can do for you.