Winter Tyres vs Summer Tyres

What’s the Difference Between Summer and Winter Tyres?

Summer and winter tyres are created with different types of rubber compounds that enhance the way a tyre performs in different seasons to deal with weather conditions.

Summer tyres are designed to be used in milder summer conditions to provide optimal performance in temperatures of 7°c and above. The softer rubber compound in summer tyres allows for responsive performance handling, traction, acceleration and braking on both wet and dry road surfaces. To help with performance and noise, the tread on a summer tyre is also designed to provide the least amount of rolling resistance which helps the vehicle to accelerate.

Winter tyres are recommended for use in conditions below 7°c to deal with freezing temperatures, rain, snow and ice. The purpose of the rubber compound in these tyres ensures the tread remains soft in freezing conditions, allowing it to grip the road better than a summer tyre that will harden below 7°c. The tread pattern on winter tyres also feature a much more aggressive pattern containing small sipes that allow the tyre to grip and gain traction on snow, whilst also being valuable for dispersing surface water and rain. All of this means the tyre maintains contact with the road surface to be able to offer optimum levels of grip and braking.

Summer Tyres in Winter

In very mild winter conditions where the temperature does not fall below 7°c or freezing very often, summer tyres may be fine to use during the winter months, with an all season tyre being a much more suitable option for this climate. For winters that feature frequent freezing temperatures, rain, ice and snow, it is strongly recommended to use winter tyres.

Summer tyres do not tend to perform well in winter climates because their tread pattern is designed to provide low rolling resistance for dry performance. This does not contribute to providing high levels of grip and traction on snow or ice like the deep grooves and tread of a winter tyre – which also help to provide much shorter braking distances. The compound in these tyres is also more susceptible to damage in freezing conditions as the rubber will see a slight hardening which results in less grip on the road surface. All of this increases the risk of slippage, longer braking distances and reduced handling response compared to a winter tyre designed for the conditions. 

Winter Tyres in Summer

Whilst winter tyres can be used in the summer season, it is not recommended to do so. A winter tyre will not provide the same levels of responsiveness, braking and handling in temperatures above 7°c that a summer tyre can offer.

The rubber compound for a winter tyre is softer and not designed to provide the same level of performance in summer temperatures, hence, will generally also wear much quicker in warmer conditions. 

Winter Tyres vs Summer Tyres - Braking Distances

By using tyres designed for seasonal conditions, the performance, braking and handling of your vehicle can be greatly improved. The infographic below shows the stopping distances of summer and winter tyres in a range of conditions:

Braking distance of summer and winter tyres in different temperatures and weather conditions

UltraGrip Performance+ Winter Tyre

Winter Tyre Focus: UltraGrip Performance+

Wet and dry winter performance.

Popular choice for: Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf, Audi A4

Available in sizes: 15” – 22”

Short Braking Distances on Wet & Dry Roads

Braking forces are easily transmitted into grip. New traction resin improves de and reformation capabilities of the tyre. 

Improved Grip on Snow & Ice

New compound mixture promotes improved rubber elasticity at low temperatures.

EfficientGrip Performance 2 Tyre Shot with 2021 Auto Express Product Award Win badge

Summer Tyre Focus: EfficientGrip Performance 2

50% more mileage than the predecessor*.

Popular choice for: Ford Focus, BMW 1 Series, Peugeot 308

Available in sizes 15" - 19"

Mileage Plus Technology

High tread elasticity and flexibility result in fewer fractures caused by rough road conditions (over a wide range of temperatures). 

Wet Braking Technology

Lower compound stiffness facilitates block bending and wiping out of water. Longer and increased number of gripping edges facilitates water evacuation.

Dry Stability Technology

Larger ribs at the centre of the tread ensure higher stiffness.

What About All Season Tyres?

An all season tyre is designed to encompass the technology and features of a summer and winter tyre to create a tyre that developed to adapt to sunshine, showers and snow. All season or all weather tyres help to provide optimum performance and aid safety throughout the year without the need to change your tyres when the seasons change. They are an outstanding choice for UK drivers who will see large amounts of rain and sunny spells throughout the year and milder winters with some ice/snow.

NEW: Vector 4Seasons Gen-3

More test wins than any other brand tested.

Popular choice for: Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia, Nissan Qashqai, Vauxhall Astra

Available in sizes: 14" - 20"

Snow Grip Technology Icon

Better grip on snow through large amount of sipes at the centre of the tread. The sipes influence each other at their intersection, stimulating their opening for better grip.

Dry Handling Icon

Shorter dry braking & Improved dry handling. Reduced deformation of the tyre during heavy manoeuvres through strong crown & shoulder blocks.

Aqua Control Icon

Lifetime Aquaplaning Resistance. Over time grooves evolve to continuously ensure water dispersion.

The Goodyear Vector 4Seasons Gen-3 tyre won the Tyre Reviews All Season 2020 Tyre Test

*Internal test. Compared to predecessor EfficientGrip Performance. Tyre size tested: 205/55R16 91V; Test car: VW Golf 7; Test location: open roads in Luxembourg and France.

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