Winter tires are specially designed to provide a secure grip during the cold season when roads become slippery.
But what if you want to use these tires in summer?
Do winter tires wear faster in summer?
Winter tires wear faster in summer, particularly because they contain compounds that make them softer. Heat is one of the biggest enemies of tires, and winter tires are especially susceptible to hot conditions.
To get the best out of your winter tires, swap them for regular tires or summer tires during the hot season.
How Much Faster Do Winter Tires Wear Faster Compared to Regular Tires?
Winters tires wear quickly when the temperature rises above 7 degrees. By design, winter tires are softer.
This allows them to provide a better grip and improved handling on slippery roads. But the softer construction and paddle-like treads are not ideal for warm, dry surfaces of the summer months.
In contrast, regular tires are sturdier and can withstand higher temperatures far better than winter tires. Because they are harder, regular tires wear slowly in the summer and provide exceptional handling.
If you plan to use winter tires in the summer, the tires will most likely lose their softness. This means the tires will become useless in the next summer. The extreme heat will harden the treads, and wear will progress faster.
Additionally, you have to contend with less than optimal handling and maneuverability when driving with winter tires during the summer. The risk and shortcomings of using winter tires in hot conditions far outweigh any cost savings.
You are better off using regular or summer tires at the end of the cold months.
Do Winter Tires Work in The Summer?
Winter tires are designed to handle freezing conditions excellently.
Unfortunately, this means that they would be quite inefficient in the summer.
Snow fills up roads with ice in winter, making it slippery and unwieldy for hard rubber tires. This makes it essential to use soft rubber, a feature of winter tires, that will not harden with the cold.
However, using winter tires in the summer will lead to adverse effects.
Since heat degrades rubber, all tires wear out during the summer. The case is even worse for winter tires because of the soft rubber compounds that are used in making them.
You should also know that driving with winter tires in the summer will cost you more money. If you drive with winter tires in summer, they will most likely suffer extensive damage. When winter comes, the tires would have lost their exceptional wet road-gripping abilities.
Instead of using your winter tires all year round, thinking you are trying to save money, get a pair of regular tires. Or better still, replace them with summer tires during the dry season. Once it gets colder, you can start using your winter tires again.
How Do Winter Tires Perform in The Summer?
Imagine that you are trying to run a long-distance race while wearing a pair of flip-flops.
You’ll run much slower than if you were in running shoes. You might also slip and fall because flip-flops aren’t suitable for a race track.
The same problem faces drivers who drive with winter tires in the summer. Trying to speed or stop will soften the tires even more and make them lose their shape. Since there is no ice to keep them crisp, the tires are just way too soft to grip the road.
Additionally, winter tires are not designed to withstand the high temperatures of the summer months.
The extreme heat increases wear, robbing the tires of their special ability to conquer wet and icy terrain.
How Long Should Winter Tires Last?
During chilly temperatures, winter tires function effectively.
But with time and age, their quality drops, and they lose their ability to perform in frigid conditions. So, when exactly should you discard your old winter tires and replace them with fresh ones?
The average life expectancy for winter tires is five years. What this means is that after five years, winter tires lose their optimum function and can no longer withstand frosty weather.
Please note that this range of life expectancy is subject to your mileage. If you rarely use your car outside town, then your winter tires can stay in perfect condition for as long as seven years.
Also, this range of life expectancy is applicable only if you limit the usage of your winter tires to periods of frosty weather.
If you use your winter tires during the summer, expect them to deteriorate much faster.
Do Winter Tires Wear Out Faster in Hot Weather?
Winter tires are built with features like soft rubber composition, deep tread depth, and an open tread pattern.
All these keep the snow from wearing out the tires. The soft rubber helps the tire stay flexible in the ice and grip the road easily.
The deep tread depth and open tread pattern push away ice and prevent them from storing up in the tires. All tires wear out eventually, but these features slow down the process of wear and tear in winter tires during cold weather.
These features will work against the winter tires when used during the summer. The soft rubber compound, especially, will hasten the process of wear and tear.
Heat is an enemy of rubber. Since all tires are made of rubber, they quickly decompose when they become exposed to heat. Even brittle rubber will crack and leak.
Because winter tires are also softer, they will wear out in a very short while in hot weather. If you want your winter tires to last as long as is possible, limit their use to cold periods. That way, you won’t expose them unnecessarily to damaging heat.