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Buying tires during summer can be confusing; should you go for summer tires or all-season tires? Are you equipped with the necessary information to purchase?

You’ve probably heard about summer tires, seen them or even driven them. They are high-performance tires, which you’d want if you’re seeking a spirited drive for ultimate satisfaction and driving performance. Although making the best choice during the purchase can be challenging, considering your needs, priorities, and characteristics is key to finding a good summer tire.

The summer season is accompanied by dry roads and warmth, which brings the need for summer tires. We give you a breakdown of the best summer tires in the market, their performance, and of course, their optimal handling. With this guide, we'll get you informed to make the best choices.

Are you looking for the best summer tires for your vehicle? Here’s the right place. We’ve compiled all the information based on practical experience, input from industry experts and market research and analysis of the products. Summer tires are designed to provide the best control in summer and are great for all cars, including the street or sports cars. This guide will ease your search for the best summer tires.

Table of Contents

What are summer tires?

Summer tires, also called performance tires, are commonly fitted to cars; they are routinely available with performance and luxury models and are offered either as a luxury package, part of the performance, or as standard equipment.

Summer tires grip well on wet and dry road surfaces and are designed to offer optimum performance during warm climates and summer conditions. Their manufacturers focus on maximizing the tire’s characteristics and performance, strictly for summer-like conditions.

An example is the Ultra-High-Performance summer tires, which demonstrate outstanding results of the narrowed and focused engineering. High-performance (HP) and ultra-high performance (UHP) tires are distinguished to deliver exceptional traction in dry and wet roads.

However, summer tires are not engineered to generate sufficient traction when winter temperatures drop below freezing point and may not provide sufficient vehicle control.

Why purchase summer tires?

While all-year tires allow for multi-season performance, being diverse also comes with remarkable compromises. A more narrowly focused tire is more capable than a tire that delivers traction in all weather conditions and temperatures.

Consider the fallacy, ‘jack of all trades, master of none here. Summer tires offer maximum traction, specifically under accelerating, cornering and braking on dry and wet roads. This is attributed to their specialized rubber compounds and tread patterns that allow better grip or contact with the road.  

They are engineered to deliver excellent performance in warm temperatures and dry or wet road conditions. Their narrow engineering focus ensures more specific and superior performance, prioritizing their performance.

When should you buy or use summer tires?

It would be best to buy summer tires during warm months when the temperatures are above 7 degrees Celsius. The rubber compounds and the tread patterns provide the best performance on dry and wet roads during summer.

Some regions tend to have mild temperatures all year round. In this case, summer tires can be used throughout the year.

What are mixed performance tires?

Mixed performance tires are summer tires that have different sizes; front and back, for instance, 235/45 R19 front and 270/30R19 back.

The key features and considerations to look for in summer tires

Are you looking to get yourself the best summer tire set? Here are several things you need to consider before getting one:


Before buying any tire, ensure you first confirm your car owner’s manual if it’s the correct tire size. The new tire should match the specifications given in the car manual.

If you’re purchasing online, be sure to use search filters to get the right tire size for your vehicle’s make, model and year.

Tread Design

The tread design is an important feature when purchasing summer tires. They should have specialized tread patterns designed to improve handling and traction on the road.

Summer tire treads have less grooving, allowing maximum contact of the tire rubber and the road to allow maximum grip. They also exhibit shallow tread depths to maintain the car’s stability at higher speeds.

Wet Traction

You’re advised to choose a summer tire whose design enhances performance when driving in wet conditions. The tire’s treads should be capable of resisting hydroplaning to enhance water evacuation for optimum traction on wet surfaces.

Speed Index

The speed index is the maximum speed that a given tire can sustain. The speed index is denoted by a letter on the sidewall of the tire.

For instance, tires with an H, T and Z speed ratings maintain 130, 118 and 149 miles per hour, respectively.

Who Are the Top Summer Tire Brands?

Several tire dealers manufacture summer tires, with a lot of competition as companies strive to provide quality.

The best brands in the market include Michelin, Dunlop, Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear, Pirelli, Hankook (formally called Auto Trends), BF. Goodrich, Yokohama and Firestone.

Here are the top summer tire recommendations of the top-selling brands in the United States:


This is one of the top tire brands distributing tires in the United States and globally. The Michelin company is based in France. They produce quality tires in all categories. According to the industry experts, Michelin tops the recommendation list for the best summer tires.

Unlike other tire brands, Michelin offers an above-average warranty length. They offer a long-lasting mileage warranty with many models, including the Michelin Defender with 80,000-mile coverage.


Continental is a German tire company that ensures excellent performance and safety standards. They have other industries under their wing, Conti Tech being one of them.

Continental company specializes in chassis and powertrain components, brake systems, interior electronics, and several other electromotive parts.

One of the best max performance summer tires produced by continental is the Continental Extreme Contact Sport.


Listed among the best tire dealers, Pirelli is currently one of the world's oldest and largest tire manufacturers. Their products have a reputation for their high performance, especially for supercars.

Pirelli also exhibits the highest tread life warranty. However, their biggest downside is lack of truck production; very few options for the common truck sizes.


Cooper company makes the best tires at affordable prices. It’s based in America and mainly specializes in the manufacture of automobile and truck tires.

The Cooper brand also designs and produces other brands like Mickey Thompson, Dean, Dick Cepek, Starfire Roadmaster, and Avon Tires.

They deliver plenty of performance options for different tire sizes, but many sedan tires don’t come with tread life warranties. Consumer reports indicate that Cooper tires are not easy to purchase online.


Goodyear is a multinational tire company that manufactures its tires from America. They produce a wide range of SUVs, race cars, light trucks, motorcycle tires, commercial trucks, farm equipment, automobiles, and airplane tires.

They also offer a variety of different tire sizes and free shipping of tires to their customers, making them different from their competitors. However, their tires are more expensive than many tire brands.


Hankook company is based in South Korea. It’s a global tire manufacturer and distributor. The company was originally called Chosun Tire company but later changed to Hankook in 1968.

Hankook supplies original tire equipment and sells batteries, alloy wheels, and brake pads. Hankook Ventus is known to be one of the company’s best summer tires.

BF Goodrich

This is a United States-based tire company. It was initially run by Goodrich corporation but later acquired by Michelin in 1988.

It’s known to be the first American company to make tubeless tires and radial tires. All-terrain and mud-terrain tires have attracted a large fan base to the company. The BF Goodrich G-Force Sport Comp is BF Goodrich’s best-selling summer tire currently.


Yokohama tire company is a famous Japanese brand founded in 1917 and later expanded its operations to the US in 1969.

Yokohama is widely known as the official tire supplier for Japan’s Super Formula IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge and World Championship.


It’s one of the best tire brands in the world. Bridgestone was founded in 1931 and specializes in auto and truck parts manufacture.

Bridgestone concentrates mainly on using Japanese technology to manufacture their tires. In the year 2017, the tire company ranked top in the top-rated list of tire brands globally.

As much as their SUV and truck tires come with a good tread life warranty, Bridgestone’s tires are a little more expensive than their competitors.

What is the best pricing for summer tires?

Summer tire pricing varies depending on several factors such as the tread life, durability, braking performance, and overall performance characteristics.

Summer tires under $200

These are among the cheapest summer tires in the market. The cheaper the tire, the less the tread life. It’s difficult to get a tire with more than 20,000 miles of tread life priced under 200 dollars.

However, most tires priced in the range of $150 to $200 still deliver well in dry weather traction. You should also note that summer tire prices barely drop despite weather changes or demand changes.

Summer tires over $200

Summer tires priced in this range tend to offer more durability, with most tread life being approximately 30,000 miles.

These summer tires are mostly premium, specifically designed for luxury cars and sports cars. They also exhibit the best performance characteristics; precise and controllable, as well as excellent braking performance.

What are the best overall summer tires?

Are you looking for new summer tires for your vehicle? We’re here to help you select the best summer tire for your vehicles, including sport or streetcars.

Michelin Pilot Sport 4S Performance Radial Tire

If you’re looking for the best overall summer tire, this is it. The brand decided to upgrade its level with excellent ultra-high-performance tires by developing the Pilot Sport 4S.

The Pilot Sport 4S summer tire offers an excellent driving experience through its unmatched design. It’s a Max Performance Summer tire.

Some of the demanding vehicle manufacturers for this summer tire include Audi, Mercedes Benz, BMW, and Porsche.

According to consumer reports, this tire is currently the best high-performance of all summer tires. It’s a combination of features from the race-inspired Sport Cup 2 and Super Sport tires.

Key features

  • Multi-compound design
  • tread patterns are asymmetric
  • Built with dynamic response technology


  • Unmatched steering precision and stability
  • Excellent wet surface performance
  • Enhanced tread life


  • Their sizes favor the high-end vehicles
  • They offer high prices

Bridgestone Potenza RE-11

Are you a driving enthusiast? Worry less because the Bridgestone Potenza RE-11 will offer you excellent tread life and comfort ride better than you imagined. It is a high-performance summer tire typically for high-performance vehicles.

This summer tire delivers the best dry and wet traction by using their latest technology, which is seen in the Grand Prix 2 race and Formula 1 tires.

It has a 3-D Seamless Stealth technology that enhances cornering grip, which increases vehicle performance and excellent driving experience. These summer tires ensure a controlled and comfortable drive with enhanced cornering and grip.

Their warranty usually covers the first 6 years or 30,000 miles of use.


  • Are built with 3D Seamless technology
  • Their tread design is asymmetric
  • Have a circumferential intermediate rib


  • Built with enhanced steering response
  • High speed
  • Footprint pressure is evenly distributed
  • Hydroplaning resistance


  • Don’t always offer tread life warranty
  • Tread quality deteriorates faster

Michelin Pilot Super Sport

This is one of the best high-performance summer tires in the market. It was among the initial summer tires launched as the OEM for some of the world’s high-performance cars.

The Pilot Super Sport delivers excellent dry and wet traction, cornering, and overall performance. It comes with a 30,000-mile or 6-year warranty which is great for this kind of class.


  • 30000 miles warranty
  • Michelin’s FAZ technology
  • High speeds due to notched center ribs
  • Extended tread life


  • Lightweight
  • Excellent wet weather braking
  • Reduced cabin noise by the sound-absorbing foam


  • High priced
  • Poor aquaplaning resistance

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position

These are some of the best summer tires in the market today. They deliver all-round performance, with excellent steering and cornering grip.

Bridgestone Potenza S-04 Pole Position is one of the Ultra-High-Performance (UHP) tires available in the market currently.


  • Asymmetric tread design
  • Increased tread life
  • A lightweight package that provides high-speed durability


  • Has to hydroplane resistance
  • Reduced noise through circumferential ribs
  • Cornering precision available at high speeds


  • Lacks tread warranty
  • Has lower tread life

Hankook Ventus

These summer tires deliver a good steering feel and steady grip. They are also quite on the road and offer traction, comfort, and control in weather conditions that are dry, warm, and hot.

The Hankook Ventus features aqua jet lateral and circumferential grooves that help remove water from the central patch of the tire. This enhances wet traction and efficient water evacuation.

The design includes a polymer in the high-grip silica tread compound, which lowers the tire’s resistance and enhances fuel economy.

The grooves on the tire are made with stealth technology, which also includes a wingtip design that helps minimize noise on the road.

The tire’s inner structure includes two wide steel belts with two spirally wrapped nylon to enhance the high-strength design.

The tire, however, has an average tread life of about 10,000 miles only, as well as poor sidewall stability. When the temperatures reach below 50 degrees F, the tires start to lose traction and get slippery, even on dry roads.

Federal 595 Evo

This summer tire has several great elements, including a technologically advanced design, aggressive tread pattern, and excellent handling capabilities on dry and wet roads.

The tire exhibits large solid blocks that enhance gripping and large circumferential grooves that increase the tire’s surface print on the ground.

It’s also among the cheapest summer tires on the market. It offers minimal noise, long tread life, and excellent handling. However, the tire comes with a limited tread warranty. It’s mainly purchased by owners of BMWs, Chevrolets, Lincolns, and Mercedes.  

Why choose the best summer tires?

They offer Safety - Summer tires ensure a high grip level despite hot temperatures. They remain flexible and soft to enhance easy movement on dry roads.

They are also optimized for heat resistance and faster response to brakes compared to all-season tires in hotter months. This enhances the stopping distance between one vehicle and another to avoid car collisions on the road.

They have an exclusive tread design - Summer tires are built with a summer-specific tread design that includes shallow depths.

The shallow tread depths enhance control, strong grip, and smooth drive, and wet traction.

They offer improved summer performance – summer tires exhibit premium and maximum performance during the warm season.

What are the Best Street/Sport Truck Summer Tires?

The best street/sport truck summer tires are built to provide excellent responsive steering and exceptional handling. They also have exemplary performance in terms of braking, traction, and acceleration.

These particular summer tires are designed to accommodate the sensibilities of trucks and sports cars. They are also perfect for high-performance SUVs. Equipping your car with specialist summer tires will guarantee you outstanding performance and longevity.

We’ve combined our choices for the top summer tire models available in the market to help you choose the best tires for your SUV or sport/street truck.

Continental ExtremeContact Sport

This summer tire is a five-rib tire with an asymmetric tread design. It also has a continuous center rib that helps with rubber contact to enhance a smooth feel when driving.

The tire includes an optimized footprint that enhances the even distribution of pressure along the tire's surface. This encourages the tread to wear out evenly.

The tire tends to absorb impacts well and offers excellent traction on wet surfaces. It has a two-ply sidewall, and the internal structure has a polyester-cord body casing that helps the tire remain stiff without losing its ability to offer riding comfort.

The downside, however, is that the tires have to attain at least temperatures of 40 degrees F before they are used. If not, the tires may not maintain sufficient air pressure to sustain the car or may not roll well.

Moreover, the tires tend to be more expensive than other summer tires.

Nitto NT555 G2

Are you ready to concur with your sports car’s limits? Then this might be the summer tire option you’ve been looking for. It exhibits excellent handling, traction as well as wet-braking capabilities.

Although many users enjoy the excellent handling of this summer tire, there have been several reviews on higher noise levels on the road. The tire also lacks a tread life warranty but fortunately has a uniformity warranty until the tire evenly wears to 1/32”.

Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar G2

It’s a summer radial tire, the Eagle F1 Supercar tire’s second generation. It was originally created to be an OEM tire for the Chevy Camaro ZL1 and part of the Ford SVT performance package.

This tire is a perfect blend of street functionality and track performance. Not only is it aggressive, but it also offers excellent traction and handling.

 If you own a sports car, this tire’s a great choice to go with. Its asymmetric design and the race-inspired rubber compound provide the stickiness that’s desired when driving sports cars. The race aesthetics of the tire also includes two high-tensile steel belts as the internal feature.

They’re also instilled with spiral-wrapped nylon. The downside of these tires is that they crack when it gets too cold, which ruins the tires. Keep in mind that cracking is not included under the tire’s warranty. The tire has also been reported to produce a lot of noise on the road.

If you own a sports car, this tire’s a great choice to go with. It’s asymmetric design and the race-inspired rubber compound provides the stickiness that’s desired when driving sports cars. The race aesthetics of the tire also includes two high-tensile steel belts as the internal feature.

They’re also instilled with spiral-wrapped nylon. The downside of these tires is that they crack when it gets too cold, which ruins the tires. keep in mind that cracking is not included under the tire’s warranty. The tire has also been reported to produce a lot of noise on the road.

Bridgestone Potenza RE050

The Bridgestone Potenza RE050 directly competes with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S by offering the same performance but cheaper in price. It’s very responsive in handling and provides excellent grip and traction, both on wet and dry surfaces.

It, however, lacks a warranty and is harsh and noisy on rough surfaces.

Falken Azenis FK510 SUV

It is amazing for truck and SUVs owners. They also offer good prices compared to their rivals, as well as an outstanding performance. The tires provide excellent wet handling and are quiet on the highway, offering class standards. However, they’re not the most responsive tires on-center. They also offer a slightly bad ride quality.  

Goodyear Excellence

Despite being one of the oldest summer tires, Goodyear Excellence still offers safe handling and is reliable. The tire provides very high levels of traction and grip and high hydroplaning resistance in wet conditions.

Moreover, the Goodyear Excellence summer tires ensure a quality ride composed and soft, with very limited tire noise. However, the downside of these tires is that they are not overly responsive.

Bridgestone Turanza ER33

The Bridgestone Turanza ER33 summer tire has outstanding responsiveness, offers control, and best handling results. However, the tire doesn’t come with a treadwear warranty, and with that, the owners are not impressed with the tread life. Nonetheless, the tires have proven to be noisy after 20000 miles.

Continental Premium Contact 6

This summer tire is a combination of elevated performance and comfort. It provides a short braking distance on dry and wet tarmac. Its quality is excellent with no noise on the road with improved fuel consumption. Its downsides include a lack of treadwear warranty and lower wet handling capabilities compared to other summer tires.

Firestone Firehawk Indy 500

Apart from being one of the popular ultra-high-performance summer tires, Firestone Firehawk offers excellent performance because their prices are friendly. Their grip and attraction are excellent, with very responsive handling. Their cons include a firm ride.

It is specifically designed for performance sedans and sports cars. It includes Firestone’s race-inspired technology, which offers dependable traction and handling on dry and wet roads.

The tire features three circumferential grooves as well as proprietary pulse groove technology that ensures maximum water evacuation.

Another property that makes this tire stand out is the rubber compound that’s enhanced with silica. It makes it durable but grippy enough to sustain better grip through turns when driving.

The presence of asymmetrical tread patterns together with the independent shoulder blocks offers ultimate aggressive handling.

However, there’s a significant decline in the performance of these tires when the temperatures drop. They’re not designed for driving in cold or near-freezing temperatures.

BF Goodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2

This ultra-high-performance summer tire is also one of the oldest in the market and is budget-friendly to the user. It is very predictable with excellent ride quality and is safe in wet conditions. However, compared to the modern alternatives, it doesn’t provide high levels of grip and traction. It has also been reported to be noisy on the street.

BF Goodrich g-force Sport Comp 2 is designed to deliver fast acceleration and excellent cornering. It’s typically preferred by high-end performance and sports cars, considering its several uses in race cars.

It’s designed for modern muscle cars, sports cars, performance sedans, and sporty coupes. However, they don’t come with a tread warranty but have a one-year uniformity warranty and a six-year warranty for workmanship and materials.

Pirelli Zero max performance summer tires

Pirelli Zero tires are developed specifically for powerful sport coups, sports cars, and high-performance luxury sedans. Just like other summer tires, they’re not intended to be driven in near-freezing temperatures, on ice, or through the snow.

The tires were initially introduced on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, Aston Martin DB9, Lamborghini Murcielago, Audi R8, and Mercedes Benz AMG vehicles as original equipment.

The Pirelli Zero summer tires feature carbon tread compound and special silica that prove competent and consistent performance when driving throughout the tire’s life.

The tread compound exhibits Pirelli’s S-treme asymmetric design, which allows the width and location of the lateral and circumferential grooves to minimize tire deformation. This blends responsive handling, wet traction in dry road performance, hydroplaning resistance, acoustic comfort, and even wear of the tires.

Beneath the tread, there’s a special nano-composite that protects the casing from getting deteriorated and also merges sport handling with a comfortable ride.

The Pirelli Zero tires do not come with a warranty offer on the tires that develop cracking due to driving in ambient temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees F.

Want to buy the best summer tires? Important tips

With so many summer tires in the market, you might be wondering how you’ll be able to make the right choice when purchasing one for your vehicle. Here are some of the important tips to keep in mind.

Grand-touring and touring summer tires for passenger vehicles

Grand-Touring and touring summer tires are designed for long miles, and therefore a great choice for the standard passenger vehicles.

Grand-Touring tires are often offered with summer tread compounds, and they tend to provide high comfort levels and the best travel experience on long-distance travel.

Summer grand-touring summer tires work best on wet and dry pavements. However, if you have a sports car or a more powerful vehicle, you should probably upgrade to high-performance summer tires.

High-performance summer tires for sports car

High-performance summer tires offer the best traction, grip, and braking. This makes them excellent for supercars, sports sedans, and sports coupes.

When you equip yourself with high-performance summer tires, your vehicle will feel more responsive. With higher grip levels, you’re guaranteed quick acceleration and stronger brakes, allowing you to drive faster and safer.

However, it would be best to keep in mind the grip and attraction differences between the high-performance tires. The different high-performance tires include standard, ultra, and max- performance tires.

The standard high-performance tires are the least compared to ultra and max-high performance tires, but they’re still excellent compared to other tires. They are mostly geared for smaller sports cars like the Ford Fiesta ST.

Ultra-high-performance tires have better performance. They provide grippy handling, stronger braking, and are more responsive. They are also an excellent choice for sports coupes and sports sedan drivers.

Max-high-performance tires are the best in terms of vehicle handling. Apart from offering the strongest braking, they provide excellent grip in corners. They are fitted to the powerful versions of some sports coupes, supercars, and sports sedans.

With that said, high-performance summer tires aren’t very durable. Their best tread life ranges between 20,000 – 30,000 miles, which is lower when compared to other tire types. They are also more expensive than the grand-touring summer tires.

Sport/street summer tires are great for sports SUVs and Trucks

Sports/street summer tires have many similarities with high-performance summer tires. The sport/street summer tires have larger sizes that can fit trucks and SUVs, unlike the high-performance tires.

They, however, don’t last very long and therefore need replacements more often besides being the best choice for SUVs and trucks.

Major companies like Cooper and Yokohama still offer high-quality summer tires at affordable prices. For a safe and completely reliable driving experience, we recommend you choose tires from these reputable manufacturers.

Opting for very cheap tires will result in poor quality products that lag in performance. The cheap and low-quality tires are also unsafe for driving on the highway.

What temperature range is good for summer tires?

Summer tires work best in temperatures above 7 degrees C or 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperatures decrease below 7 degrees, it’s advisable to switch to summer tires.

Why do summer tires wear faster?

Summer tire treads are small and designed with special tread patterns that improve traction. The tires also have different kinds of rubber that tends to be sticky compared to other tires, to enable them to provide better traction. However, these features make summer tires more prone to wear down faster.

Can summer tires be used in rainy weather?

Yes. Summer tires tend to offer excellent traction and handling in rainy weather compared to all-season tires.

However, they are built not to withstand the cold and freezing temperatures. Car owners are advised to switch to winter tires when the temperatures drop, to allow better grip on snow or icy surfaces.

What is the recommended pressure for summer tires?

Fortunately, there’s no specific standard pressure for any tire; it all depends on the weight of the particular vehicle.

We advise you to use the recommended tire pressure indicated by your car’s manufacturer. You should also remember that deviating from the recommended pressure may enhance the faster wear of your treads.

However, you may be advised to slightly use higher tire pressure if you switch to larger tires than the original tires.

Why do summer tires perform better in heat and rain?

Summer tires are designed to offer outstanding road grip whether it’s raining, slightly damp, or the road is baking hot. They’re made from a combination of rubber mix and fillers that form the tread, with additives that help grip wet conditions.

The tread blend also enhances stiffness to help the tires hold up and retain shape when it’s hot. This helps with keeping the rolling resistance at its lowest on hot pavements.

Summer tires have shallower and straighter grooves compared to all-season tires. They also have solid and continuous ribs that provide more contact with the road.

These features optimize more stability when cornering, braking, as well as accelerating, which makes summer tires the best choice during heat and rain conditions.

What happens to summer tires during the cold or winter season?

You’ve probably asked yourself, why not use summer tires in winter? Summer tires are not intended for cold weather driving because they don’t provide enough traction in cold weather.

While it’s clear that summer tires offer better performance when it comes to wet and dry traction, it’s important to note that summer tires don’t offer winter traction. They get rigid during cold temperatures, making them unsafe choices during ice or snow conditions.

What are the differences between summer tires and all-season tires?

Can I drive summer tires all year?

The answer would definitely be ‘no’ if you live in places with four seasons. However, this is an exception with places that are warm all year round.

Ideally, summer tires aren’t designed for cold temperatures. They don’t provide adequate traction during freezing conditions or when there’s snow or fleet. Driving in winter conditions with summer tires is therefore not recommended.

If you’re using summer tires, be sure to swap them with winter tires or all-season tires when there’s a change in season.

Can winter/cold weather damage summer tires?

Yes, your summer tires could get damaged by freezing temperatures. Summer tire’s performance is insufficient in freezing and cold temperatures because they are specifically created with compounds that deliver excellent traction and pliability in warm temperatures.

The summer tire design cannot accommodate cold, making the tires harden and freeze in winter. The tire tread does not properly interact with the road, compromising gripping on the road surface.

We discourage exposing winter tires to freeze cycles because the tire’s durability and performance can be compromised and impaired.

The differences between winter and summer tires.

For people living in areas with extreme weather, it is advisable to own two sets of tires- winter and summer tires. But what are the major differences between winter and summer tires?

There are three main differences between winter and summer tires: their rubber compound, tread pattern, and structure.

Summer tires have a special rubber compound that enhances better grip and handling on dry and wet roads in warm conditions. On the other hand, winter tires provide excellent grip on road surfaces covered with ice and snow and on wet roads during cold conditions.

Summer tires exhibit fewer sipes or grooves than winter tires, but they also have specially designed tread bars that minimize aquaplaning. These features provide both lateral and longitudinal grip in warm temperatures. They also ensure maximum grip on dry and wet roads.

Summer tires have simple block-shaped trade patterns to provide maximum footprint with the road. This ensures there’s a great impact on braking distance and excellent handling.

While winter tires offer exceptional performance in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius, summer tires are the exact opposite; they’re designed to perform best when temperatures are above 7 degrees C.

Summer tires can easily adapt to higher temperatures without getting soft. This is because they tend to have lower friction which translates into more fuel efficiency.

Can I use all-season tires during summer?

While all-season tires tend to offer versatility in terms of performance and can be driven in various conditions, they also have to compromise some summer performance capabilities.

That means that all-season tires can’t provide the same amount of sharp handling and extreme gripping that summer tires provide.

Many people in the United States choose not to invest in winter and summer tires and instead opt for all-season tires. However, research indicates that having different tires for specific weathers could greatly improve the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.

Think of all-season tires like the shoes designed for athletes; they can be worn all year, but they’re definitely not ideal for every situation or occasion.  

How do you tell if your tires are winter or summer tires?

You can easily spot winter tires by their feature known as the ‘Snowflake on a mountain’ symbol located on their sidewall. This symbol indicates that the tire satisfies the winter season criteria.

The summer tire’s tread patterns are more streamlined compared to winter tires. They also have fewer grooves to help them clear water and maximize the tire’s contact patch with the road.

Consequently, summer tires offer the vehicle superior traction and braking during the dry summer months, which winter tires fail to provide.

Watch this video to see more ways to tell the difference between winter and summer tires.

When to switch back to summer tires

You should definitely switch to summer tires as soon as the cold weather ends and it becomes warmer. Summer tires provide better all-round performance when the temperatures are warm or hot.

What are the best temperatures for summer tires?

Have you ever asked yourself below which temperatures you shouldn’t drive on summer tires? Consider the reference point as 45 degrees F.

Summer tires work best in 45 degrees F and above temperatures. So, you should consider switching to summer tires when the temperatures are consistently above 45 degrees F; change them to either winter or all-season tires when the temperatures become consistently below this mark.

How many miles do summer tires last?

Summer tires tend to have shorter tread life than touring tires and all-season tires. They last for approximately 30,000 miles maximum.

They have a shorter tread life majorly because the summer heat tends to take a toll on the rubber’s quality by draining off its oils. This makes the rubber lose elasticity, then develops a tear, cracks, and even poor traction.

Are all-season tires a good replacement for summer tires?

All-season tires are designed to perform in all weather conditions. They are especially recommended for people living in climates where both summer and winter are mild.

All-season tires will provide you the necessary terms of performance, provided that the temperatures don’t reach extremes, whether extremely cold or extremely hot. They’re versatile tires to suit most driver’s needs and conditions.

All-season tires also tend to last longer than summer tires, which helps the frequency of tire changes as the seasons change.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that all-season tires cannot provide good handling as summer tires in extremely hot temperatures. You may want to invest in specialized summer tires for intense summers.

How do summer tires perform in the snow?

Summer tire’s rubber compounds and tread design are not optimized to handle freezing temperatures; they cannot offer the desired grip in the snow. They’re therefore a poor choice for driving in the snow or winter.

Are summer tires quieter than winter and all-season tires?

Whether a tire is quiet or not entirely depends on the individual tire brand, style, and design. Summer tires can therefore be quieter than winter and all-season tires, and vice versa.

Is it okay to mix summer tires and all-season tires?

No, it’s not advisable to mix the two tires on the same car under any circumstances. It can cause inaccurate handling and instability. Mixing tires won’t give you the best or safest results. You’re advised to match your tires as much as possible to avoid emergencies.

Should I have both summer and winter tires?

Yes, if possible. We recommend switching tires depending on the seasons. For instance, switch to summer tires when the weather is extremely hot and winter tires during extreme winter conditions for maximum performance capabilities.

How to check if your summer tires’ condition

You can check your car’s condition in these three ways:

Checking the degree of wear of the tire’s tread

When considering the tire’s tread, how high or low is the degree of wear on the tire? The greater the wear, the less effective your tire will be. Worn-out tires are hazardous, especially on wet surfaces, as they greatly increase the hydroplaning risk.

Inspect the tire’s overall condition visually

Visually inspecting tires can be much easier when the tires are not yet installed on the vehicle. Ensure you inspect both tire tread surface and sidewalls for any unusual wear, such as marks and cuts.

Confirm the tire’s age

The tire rubber tends to age with time, and this impacts the tire’s performance over time. Experts indicate that most tires have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years. Once the tire reaches this time, it should not be used.

As you check for your tire’s condition, make sure you maintain proper air pressure. This will increase their lifespan and will ensure the vehicle is easier to handle and more fuel-efficient.

What are the benefits of summer tires?

You might be wondering if it’s worth investing in summer tires. The best answer is yes. Summer tires have several advantages.

Excellent road-holding performance. If you’re someone who enjoys rides, especially on twisted roads with tracks, summer tires are what you need. Summer tires will offer superior handling, increased cornering and braking, and improved speed along with overall car competence and performance.

Great handling on wet roads. While wet roads pose a challenge to many drivers with the increased likelihood of losing control, summer tires ensure safe driving. Summer tires have unique tread patterns that counteract hydroplaning by vacating water.

What are the cons of summer tires?

Summer tires have a shorter lifespan compared to other tires. While their miles range from 35,000 to 40,000 miles, all-season tires last for about 60,000 miles.

Summer tires cannot effectively work in extremely cold weather. This is because they are specifically designed for warm weather, making them three-season tires.

Should you install summer tires by yourself or at a service station?

You can either install summer tires by yourself or visit your local service station. Either way, there are both advantages and disadvantages, which you should highly consider before installing your tires.

Advantages of installing summer tires by yourself

It’s cheaper

When entertaining DIY tire installation, the first thing that comes to your mind is the costs incurred when you visit a tire dealership. You can save yourself some coins when swapping tires on your own. Also, you’ll save yourself time and fuel that you could otherwise have used to drive to the service station.

You get a better insight into how your car operates

You get to learn a lot from installing your car tires, such as how much wear your tires can handle. You’ll also have the chance to ensure your tire’s stability is on point and each tire has even traction. This will give you a better feel on the wheel as the car stays balanced.

Here’s a video to direct you on how you can effectively install your summer tires on your own.

 Important tip: you should only install your tires when you’re sure of what you’re going to do. If you have any slightest doubts, you should seek the help of an expert to come to your aid.

While summer tire installation could be a learning experience, if you’re not familiar with all installation aspects or lack the necessary tools to accomplish the task, you should simply visit the nearest service station to avoid the associated risks.

Summer Tire Storage

How do I store my summer tires over the winter season?

One thing with summer tires is that they’re susceptible to cold temperatures. Most vehicle manufacturers don’t specify how the summer tires should be stored, but they all indicate that mounting, moving, or driving these tires in the cold should be avoided.

Important Tips:

Once you’ve switched your tires, how will you store your summer tires to ensure they’re not damaged?

Ideally, summer tires could be stored inside a building or home with controlled temperature. Another option can be the garage, provided the temperature and humidity do not fluctuate. You should ensure the storage area doesn’t have chemicals to avoid chemical exposure, which may tamper with the tire’s quality.

Most shades, attics, and garages undergo several precipitations, humidity, and temperature fluctuations, which should be avoided. Experts advise that the basement or any other climate-controlled room is ideal for summer tire storage.

You can store your summer tires in three options; stand, hang them on racks or hooks, or simply stack them on their sides. However, the best option is to store them standing to exert less stress on the tires. Avoid hanging unmounted tires to avoid damage and distortion.

You should avoid storing summer tires outdoors through the winter season. Instead, store summer tires in a dry and cool place, preferably where there’s a stable temperature. Summer tires should never be placed in the open air.

Summer Tires - A Complete Guide

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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