Driving With Winter Tires in the Summer

Driving With Winter Tires in the Summer

September 27, 2019    Auto News

Navigating the four seasons in Canada can easily take its toll on your vehicle. You may be wondering whether driving with winter tires in summer can damage your car. Learn why driving with winter tires in the summer could be a bad idea. 


How Driving With Winter Tires in Summer Affects Your Vehicle

Winter tires, whether they’re studded or studless, are made for winter weather. That means ice, snow and other types of precipitation that you don’t see during the summer months.

You might question whether it’s really necessary to change your tires over. Or you could even be wondering, is it illegal to drive with winter tires in the summer?

(Technically, no, although some provinces do have laws and guidelines that require you to use them in winter.)

While you could be driving winter tires in summer, it’s not a good idea for three reasons:

1. Winter tires may wear out faster in the warm weather

Summer brings warmer temperatures and while that’s fine for summer tires, it’s not necessarily a good thing for winter tires.

Winter tires temperature ratings are designed for cold weather, not the heat. When the rubber in winter tires is exposed to warmer temperatures, that could cause them to wear out more quickly.

Using winter tires in the summer could end up costing you money if they wear out quickly and need to be replaced more often. Depending on the weather conditions where you live and how frequently you drive, your winter tires should typically last between one and four winter seasons.

2. Driving with winter tires in summer could reduce performance

Even without added wear and tear, winter tires are still not an adequate substitute for summer tires.

That means winter tires won’t handle as effectively in summer as they do in winter, which can directly affect your driving experience.

3. Safety may be an issue

Perhaps the most important reason to skip using winter tires in the summer is safety.

According to a study by CAA-Quebec, exposing the rubber in winter tires to summer heat increases the chances of a blowout. Aquaplaning risk also rises, since winter tires don’t have the same treading to allow for water to flow out the way summer tires do.

The study determined that using winter tires in summer requires a longer braking time to stop. That could put you at a disadvantage if you need to stop suddenly because there’s a vehicle or another obstruction in the roadway.

When to Change Winter Tires to Summer Tires

A good rule of thumb for changing winter tires over to summer ones is to watch the thermometer.

Once temperatures rise to above 7 degrees centigrade, that’s a good time to consider making the switch. The exception would be if any further severe winter weather or temperature drops are in the forecast.

In other words, if the roads are getting warmer and staying dry, then it’s time to consider changing out your winter tires for summer ones.

Also, consider what your insurance company may require. Some insurers offer a premium reduction for driving on winter tires. But you only get the reduction if you keep your winter tires on within a specific range of dates from winter to spring.

Taking winter tires off and putting on summer ones can be a pain but there’s something you can do to make it easier.

Instead of having the entire tire swapped out, you can have your summer and winter tires mounted on their own wheels. This way, all you (or your local garage) has to do is swap out the wheels, then check to make sure each tire is properly inflated.

Make sure you’re storing your winter tires in a place where they won’t be exposed to unnecessary moisture or sunlight. This can help with preserving their life span so you get as many seasons of use from them as possible.

Tips for Using Winter Tires in Summer If You Can’t Change Them

If, for some reason, you’re not able to switch out winter tires for summer ones here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Check the tread on each tire weekly to look for unusual signs of wear and tear.
  • If tires are showing wear and tear, consider having them replaced as quickly as you’re able to.
  • Ensure that all four tires are properly inflated and consider having them professionally balanced and rotated at the beginning of the summer season.
  • Be mindful of weather conditions when driving and give yourself more lead time for braking.
  • Take care when driving in rain and avoid driving in areas where water may pool on the roadway and cause aquaplaning.

If you’ll soon be purchasing a new or used car, take time to ask the seller about the car’s winter and summer tires. Check the condition of them visually and ask when they were last replaced. This is a good rule to follow whether you’re buying from a private seller or at a car dealership. Birchwood Credit Solutions offers a wide selection of vehicles to choose from, with financing designed to fit virtually every buyer’s credit profile.

At Birchwood Credit Solutions, we’re here to help you find the right new or used vehicle to fit your driving needs all year-round. Get in touch with us today to review our vehicle options or take the next step of applying for a car loan using our simple online form.

Rebecca Lake
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