Summer, winter and all-season tyres: what’s the difference?

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As we cling on to the last of the summer months, you might still be wondering what’s the difference between a summer and winter tyre? Aren’t there just all-season tyres you could use the whole year round?

Wesley Young, from new online car buying service, takes a look at the real differences between summer, winter and all-season tyres, helping you decide exactly which tyres are right for you. Here is his report:

Summer tyres
Despite its ambiguous name, summer tyres are broadly-speaking the best type of tyre for British roads and weather conditions.

In fact, in spring, summer, autumn and above freezing winter conditions, a summer tyre will see you right.

What you get is good grip and handling on both wet and dry roads. The soft rubber tread pattern is designed in such a way to ensure your car sticks to the ground in temperatures above 7oc.

Choose a summer tyre if:
• You want improved handling and performance during mild and warmer months
• You already have a set of winter tyres for colder months
• You experience temperatures above 7oc for a good chunk of the year

Winter tyres
In some European countries, it is the law to mount winter tyres. Here in the UK, where our winters can vary from mild to extreme, a tyre designed specifically to deal with the pressures of the colder weather are worth considering.

A winter tyre offers you increased traction and control on especially cold days. As the barometer drops below 7oc, your winter tyre’s performance improves.

For example, Goodyear tyres are manufactured with a high-silica compound that ensures better starting, stopping and turning than a summer or all-season tyre on cold roads.

The reason why you get a stronger traction on cold and frozen roads is because of their wide tread blocks and extra cuts known as ‘sipes’ that allow for an extra bite to grip winter roads, particularly those covered in sleet and snow.

Choose a winter tyre if:
• Temperatures drop below 7oc
• You need to drive on cold or frozen roads
• It frequently snows during the winter months

All-season tyres
All-season tyres are for use throughout all four seasons. However, what you gain in convenience and versatility, you lose in all-round optimal performance. For instance, in dry, wet and icy conditions, all-season tyres will not win out versus winter tyres.

But in winter, they do perform better than a set of summer tyres. This is due to the fact the tread pattern is more complex, with a greater number of tread bites to grip the ground in wintery conditions.

Whilst an all-season tyre will not perform as well as a winter tyre, its design still offers good traction and stability. In particularly low temperatures and regularly snowy conditions, an all-season tyre will most certainly wear quicker, ride less comfortably and a lot noisier.

Choose an all-season tyre if:
• You live where temperatures don’t drop below -5oc (otherwise, you need a good pair of winter tyres)
• You’d like to use the same set of tyres all-year round (however, they will wear quicker)
• You’re unable to store and fit a second set of tyres (whether in the boot or your garage)

Save big in the Summer Sale
Now, if you are currently looking to replace your tyres, whether it’s a summer, winter or all-weather one, there are some great deals not to be missed in the etyres summer sale. Buy four or more tyres and save £25, or buy 2 or 3 tyres and save £10.

Author: Wesley Young

Wesley is a motoring blogger for Trusted Car Buyers, covering the latest car news, reviews, safety and selling advice.

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