Winter tyres are too soft for summer

Longer braking distance, more tread and fuel consumption
Tyres have power, just give them a chance!

If the tyre service advised you to get winter tyre in the summer – because they are already running out – then change it to a more professional one. Be sure to change your tyres – at the latest before your holiday trip. Too soft tread compound of winter tyres even on dry roads will impair grip and your safety. These are not tyres for F1 or Le Mans. There, the soft compound is not the same as in your winter cars – it has as much in common with civilian tyres as our cars with racing cars. This is confirmed by the results of research carried out by TÜV SÜD.


The idea of saving on buying summer tyre and driving on winter tyres may be tempting for some. Unfortunately, we risk such a decision every day – winter tyre will not be able to provide grip during summer heat and downpours. And in addition, from the savings of thread – even if we do not lose time, nerves and money after the accident, we will still have to buy new tyre for the winter. Not much will be left of the existing ones, because their tread will wear out very quickly. As a reminder, its minimum depth is not 1.6 mm at all – as some people repeat. According to the regulations, priority in determining the depth is given to the wear indicator on the tire, which can be at the level of 2 or even 3 mm depending on the manufacturer. Only when there are no such guidelines, the minimum depth is 1.6 mm. Let's remember this, because the police have the right to keep our registration certificate for poor tire condition!

Summer tyres have a tread compound hardness adapted to high temperatures – up to 65 degrees Celsius – to which the road heats up on hot days. Winter tyre vice versa. In turn, the tread hardness of all-season tyre is indirect. That is why we recommend them mainly for those cars that drive around the city in summer and winter and make small annual mileage, up to 10,000 km. Otherwise, they will wear out completely even in 1 year! Their tread is softer than a typical summer tyre and wears off faster in this weather.

"Driving on the wrong tyres at different times of the year is a sign of carelessness and lack of imagination. It is important for drivers to always remember that replacing seasonal tyres is an expression of concern for them and other road users. Using the right tyres increases driving safety and improves braking performance and skid resistance in rain conditions. Winter tyres in summer mean a much longer braking distance and 2.5x more wear – so there will be nothing left of them for the winter. So if someone thinks about driving a winter tire – it is not a good idea for your own safety – explains Piotr Sarnecki, general director of the Polish Tyre Industry Association (PZPO).

TESTS are irrefutable proof

Research carried out by TÜV SÜD Polska revealed huge differences in the braking distance of summer and winter tyres during the holiday season. Tests carried out at temperatures of only +23°C (with a hot surface to +40°C) have shown that the use of winter tyres on dry asphalt results in a significant extension of the braking distance. How long is this extra episode? The results of the research show that the difference at a speed of only 85 km / h is 9 meters – that is more than two lengths of a car or pedestrian crossing![1].

The rubber compound used in winter tyre is not effective in the weather we have outside the windows. These types of temperatures are not uncommon on hot days. Analyses carried out on dry roads confirm how significant differences can be achieved with seasonal tyres. Even on wet roads, a car equipped with summer tyre will stop faster than with winter tyre. The tests of TÜV SÜD and PZPO show that this difference is 8 meters (35 meters for summer tyres and 43 meters for winter tyres). This is a huge disproportion, taking into account the fact that sometimes literally one meter is missing to avoid a collision or hit – notes Piotr Sarnecki.


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Lower rubber life, higher fuel consumption

It is worth noting that TÜV SÜD in its report recommends an obligatory change of tyre depending on the season and changing weather conditions. This recommendation is based on a specific analysis of research results. Keep in mind that winter tyre, as the name suggests, are designed for driving in low temperatures. Their grip is higher than that of summer tyres, especially below 7 degrees Celsius. This is due to the use of a different rubber compound in production compared to summer tyre.

" High temperatures in summer lead to overheating of the winter tyre. This, in turn, can cause lateral deformation, cracks or other structural damage – thus reducing rubber life by up to 60%.[2] The high temperature also makes winter tyres too soft – which increases rolling resistance and negatively affects fuel consumption. Studies show that depending on the temperature and driving style, fuel consumption on winter tyres used in summer can be up to 20-30% higher. In addition, winter tyres wear out up to four times faster in summer than their summer counterparts. For this reason, one set of winter boots is enough for twice as short – enumerates Piotr Sarnecki.


The fact is that the tyre is a key element, being the only contact between the vehicle and the road. In the context of road safety, this is particularly important. The contact surface of the tire with the ground is only the size of a postcard. However, it is precisely the quality of this contact that determines the braking distance and grip – and consequently, our safety on the road. In the case of tyres, every driver should know the 3xP rule:

By choosing the right tyre, entrusting their installation or repair to specialists and servicing them regularly, we gain greater confidence that our vehicle will drive as we wish, and safely stop in front of an obstacle. So let's choose a certified service. Polish The Tyre Industry Association has introduced a system of evaluation and distinction of professional services based on an independent audit of equipment and qualifications of technical personnel. A map of workshops that have passed the audit and received the Tyre Certificate can be found on the website.

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Study information

The test method shall include a procedure for measuring the deceleration and distance travelled during emergency braking using an instrumented passenger car equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), where 'instrumented passenger car' means a passenger car equipped with measuring instruments. The average deceleration shall be calculated within the specified speed range of 85 km/h to 0 km/h, i.e. a complete stop. The test was carried out on the Skoda Autodrom track in Poznań, after prior verification of the tyre to confirm their proper condition, during the verification the parameters of the tyre were determined (205/55 R 16 91H). The tyres have undergone a running-in process to remove any protruding effluents from the tread surface from the vents and mould splits. To measure the speed on wet and dry surfaces and the distance traveled in the adopted speed range, the DATRON measuring device with the DLS 2 optoelectric sensor was used.



Source: Polish Tyre Industry Association