Lifestyle

What Are the Differences Between Winter Tires vs Summer Tires?

No matter which type of car you are driving, you will need to change your tires at some point. Of course, you will need to replace worn out tires with new ones. But unless you live in an area where the temperature is pretty much the same all year long, you are going to need winter tires and summer tires.

It’s easy to guess that snow tires Toronto are designed for winter, and that summer tires are ideal for summer. But what are the differences between the two? And is it really necessary to alternate between two sets of tires?

Of course, there is also the question of all-season tires. Wouldn’t it be easier to always drive on these? The truth is that all-season tires are ideal for you if you experience a mild climate during all four seasons of the year. These tires are a combination of the properties of winter and summer tires, but they are simply not designed to withstand cold, icy winter roads or very hot summer rides.

Let’s compare winter tires vs summer tires:

What are winter tires made from?

Winter tires are made from a soft rubber compound that is designed to remain soft and flexible when it’s very cold outside. Even when there isn’t a lot of snow, they are the best type of tires to stand up to low temperatures.

Their thread pattern is usually complex, and features deep grooves that are meant to hold packed snow. Why? To allow for a superior snow-on-snow traction, which helps you stay safe while driving on snowy roads.

Winter tires also feature small zig-zag slits, which are called sipes, that help create even better traction when coming in contact with icy surfaces.

What are summer tires made from?

Summer tires are made from a softer rubber compound than winter tires. Their surface can seem a bit sticky, which gives them more grip as well as better braking performances on either dry or wet roads.

Their thread pattern features shallower grooves than winter tires, and show a wide center channel that allows for more stability while driving in a straight line. Their grooves help push away water, which makes the car less likely to hydroplane while riding on wet surfaces.

Summer tires can be used in the spring and in the fall as well as during the summer, which means they will have a shorter lifespan than winter tires.

What are the properties of winter tires?

Winter tires are designed to help you drive safely on the snow, the slush, and the ice. They allow you to have superior traction, even as you ride on slippery icy roads. They also make it much easier for you to brake, and to stay in control of your car in hazardous situations.

The deep grooves of winter tires can help prevent hydroplaning. Even if there is no water on the cold and icy pavement, the ice can start melting whenever your tires roll over it. When that happens, the tire’s grooves will push the water away so your car won’t slip over it.

What are the properties of summer tires?

Summer tires usually have larger tread blocks than winter tires, which allows them to come in contact with the road in a way that facilitates cornering and changing directions, even when the pavement is wet because of rain.

They help prevent hydroplaning, and make it easier for you to enjoy a superior driving experience, whether you are simply going around your city, or going on a long road trip for your summer vacation.

What happens if you drive with the wrong type of tires?

Driving with the wrong type of tires for the season could be dangerous, but it could also damage your tires.

If you keep your summer tires when the temperature drops, their soft rubber compound will harden, and their traction will be reduced. The edges of the tread blocks could even crack or get damaged.

As for winter tires, they will wear out very quickly if you use them during the summer.

When should you switch your tires?

This all depends on where you live. In some Canadian provinces, laws are in place to make sure car owners have their tires switched at the right time. This ensures they will be more safe when the cold and snow of winter take over. Other provinces offer recommendations on what the right time would be to switch tires.

In Ontario, for example, it’s recommended to swap summer tires for winter tires as soon as the temperature sinks below 7°C. And it’s a good idea to wait until the spring weather consistently rises above 7°C to switch back to your summer tires.

If you get your car maintained each spring, your maintenance appointment could be the ideal moment to get professionals to replace your winter tires with your summer tires.

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