The Difference Between Summer And Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are becoming increasingly popular amongst UK motorists. Years ago you might have only expected drivers to fit them in countries that you really associate with cold and wintry conditions, such as Japan, Canada, Sweden, Russia and Norway. These types of tyres are quite normal to use in such countries and they are often swapped back for summer ones when the spring kicks in – from about March onwards. However, with more severe winters in the UK over the last decade or so and plenty of potholes on the road that bear testament to ice damage, British drivers have found that they can really benefit from having them fitted to their cars. In 2011, under 5 percent of the tyres that were sold in Britain were designed for cold weather use. However, most tyre fitters would agree that the use of winter tyres is on an upward trend.


Winter tyres are made with greater silica content than summer tyres. The silica in the rubber means that they are less likely to harden when you hit the road in icy conditions. This means that they allow the tyre to better grip onto whatever part of the road surface that can be reached. If the tarmac is completely covered by snow and ice, then traction is also better maintained. Summer tyres are less efficient at cutting through snow to reach the roadway beneath. They are also much more prone to spinning and over revving when they are standing on a sheet of ice.


Because winter tyres stay softer, even when the temperature is low, they allow for better grip. Improved grip is an important safety measure, because it allows drivers to brake properly. However, you should not overlook the fact that winter tyres also allow for better driving in the ice – without wheel-spinning – and that this means that your fuel economy improves no end. Buy your car tyres from reputable online tyre dealers such as so that you get the best ones available. Simply put, the better the winter tyre you select, the sooner they will pay for themselves in wintry conditions, due to the augmentation in fuel efficiency.


It is often said that summer tyres are fine to use in even severe winter weather because you can adjust for the lack of grip that you feel on the ice by letting some of the air pressure out of them. Nevertheless, this measure often does not work and no additional grip is afforded to your vehicle. Additionally, lowering the tyre pressure can reduce the stability of your car when manoeuvring around corners and can cause particular problems at roundabouts.

Snow Chains

In rural Japan, winter tyres are quite commonplace, especially in the northern islands. Here, you may well also see snow chains fitted by drivers. This is something that can be done in the UK, as well. However, they are not generally recommended for use on dual carriageways and motorways where you can expect the roads to be gritted. Remember that winter tyres run perfectly well on roads which have been cleared of snow and there is no reason why you shouldn’t continue to have them fitted year-through.

Image credit: Carpages

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