When you become a car owner, you automatically take on certain responsibilities – filling the fuel tank, changing the brake oil, switching out the tires as soon as winter comes.
But, what if you don’t do it? Ever wondered what would have happened if you used your winter tires throughout the summer?
It’s tempting to consider. After all, you’d save so much money by using the same set through the seasons. But can you use winter tires all year round? In this guide, we will explore the possibility and discuss whether there are any consequences of doing so.
Can You Use Winter Tires All Year Round?
It’s safe to say that it is not the best idea to use your winter tires year-round. They are designed specifically to help you drive in the snow and on icy roads, which is not required under normal circumstances.
Once the weather turns warmer, you do not need deep tread depth to cling onto the road through snow or biting edges to cut through ice and prevent skidding.
Simply put, winter tires are ill-equipped to be used in the summer, and continuing to do so can result in damage to the tires and accidents. Many people do not want to go through the hassle and cost of changing their tires every season. But there are several reasons why you shouldn’t do it.
Harms of Using Winter Tires Throughout the Year
It is strongly advised not to use winter tires for year-long use due to a variety of reasons. From tire health to grip and friction, here are the top reasons you should be switching your tires out in the summer.
1. Quicker Wear and Tear
Winter tires are specially designed to deal with certain weather conditions.
The tread rubber used for winter tires is much more flexible compared to tires for other seasons. This helps add traction to the tires to use on slippery winter roads. However, in summer, on warm and dry roads, the very same feature causes them to wear down much faster.
All-season and summer tires are manufactured to endure warm weather and deal with the increased friction, something which winter tires are not equipped to do. To prevent your tires from extreme damage, it is better to be proactive in changing them out a soon as the weather changes.
2. Poor Performance
To put it simply, winter tires are simply ill-equipped to deal with warm temperatures. They are unable to provide the same abilities to handle varying conditions are all-season tires would.
The driver’s ability to make quick maneuvers or speedy turns is greatly compromised if the wrong tires are used in the wrong season. The soft and squishy winter tires do not provide the same driving experience in the summer and put an overall damper on the car’s performance. The flexibility of winter tires, which is an asset in the right weather conditions, is nothing short of a menace in the wrong ones.
It is much more difficult to achieve optimal performance as the specialized compounds and tread of winter tires are not engineered for summer use. Contrary to popular belief, it will cost you much more to use the same tires year-round than while switching them out seasonally.
The longer you use tires in incompatible conditions, the quicker they will wear out, and you will have to replace them more frequently.
3. Reduction in Fuel Economy
If you continue to use winter tires across the summer, get ready to be spending more on fuel. Not only will your expenses increase when you have to replace tires more frequently, but your fuel consumption will also go up.
On warm pavement, the rolling resistance of winter tires is much higher than that of summer ones. The softer rubber used easily changes shape in the heat, leading to high rolling resistance, resulting in higher fuel consumption. This further results in a higher amount of carbon emissions released from your car and much noisier rides.
What you think might be saving you money will end up costing you much more than you expect.
4. Safety Concerns
Using winter tires across the summer can raise potential safety concerns on the road. With restrained control over the car, the driver will be unable to make quick turns and fast breaks. In emergencies, negligence can be fatal.
The stopping distance of the car is extended in winter tires that are used in warm temperatures. Testing indicates that the braking distance increases by at least 10 percent on a dry surface and 26 percent on a wet and slippery one with winter tires.
Another aspect to consider is that winter tires used across the summer and then in winter again will have become incapable of dealing with winter conditions. The wear and tear suffered across the summer will result in the tire’s compromised ability to cope with severe conditions in the winter.
Poor tire health and insufficient tread depth can result in compromised grip and traction, leading to unwanted accidents on the road.
The lesson to be learned is that while the idea of using your winter tires year-round may sound tempting at first, it will do more harm than good.
The consequences of not using winter tires all year round range from safety concerns to decreased vehicle performance. On top of all that, the increase in fuel use will end up costing you more than what you’d save by not changing out your tires.
The importance of switching out your tires for the summer cannot be understated. When swapping tires, pay attention to the amount of tread remaining on your winter tires. If the minimum tread depth recedes below 6/32 of an inch, it is time to change them out.
What you can do is shop smart and save money by planning ahead. If you buy summer tires during the winter and vice versa, you can avoid buying new tires at peak prices.