How are Winter Tires Different from Summer Tires?

Winter_Tire_SafetyWinter Tires vs. Summer Tires

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Summer tires are designed to perform at their peak during the warmer months. Tire manufacturers have their own proprietary compound mixtures when producing summer tires. This is also true for tires produced specifically for use during the winter months in snowy and icy conditions. Winter tires are made of rubber and composite compounds that are designed to maintain their softness in extreme cold weather conditions, ensuring optimal grip and traction in slippery road conditions. 

On the other hand, summer tires – specifically summer performance tires – are designed to maintain their softness and tire width contact on the road during warmer weather conditions, ensuring adequate amounts of grip and traction. As such, summer tires have the tendency to firm up and stiffen in colder temperatures, thus reducing their overall contact on the road, resulting in decreased grip and traction, even in vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive systems.

What About “All-Season” Tires? 

Based on the name alone, it’s understandable that drivers assume all-season tires are adequate for use all-year round. However, these tires are actually more three-season tires than all-season tires. This is because similar to summer tires, all season tires are designed to perform optimally during warmer weather conditions because of the compounds used during the manufacturing process. As a rule of thumb, once temperatures reach 7 degrees Celsius and below, winter tires should be swapped onto your vehicle to ensure maximum grip and traction on winter road conditions.

The vast majority of new vehicles in the North American market are sold with all-season tires because the vast majority of customers only require these tires as they live in regions where road conditions are rarely, if at all, covered in snow and ice. However, Canadian road conditions change drastically from season to season, thus necessitating the need to switch from all-season to winter tires.

7°C Rule of Thumb

Once outside temperatures begin to dip down under the 7 degrees Celsius mark, it’s a smart idea to swap over to winter tires. As a general rule of thumb, 7°C is the temperature that most tire manufacturers recommend drivers install winter tires on their vehicles as the rubber compounds used to produce winter tires are specifically designed to remain soft and maintain traction in colder temperatures.

To ensure that the tires you’re looking to install on your vehicle for the winter are authentic winter tires, all tire manufacturers emboss the same “M+S” symbol beside a three-peak mountain snowflake logo (3PMSF) on all of the winter tires that they produce.

winter-tiresAt Fraser Durham Chrysler, we stock a vide variety of tires from reputable tire manufacturers for our customers to choose from.  From winter tires that are made with a sponge-like compound that removes any water residing on ice, to ultra-sticky performance summer tires that help you drive like a seasoned professional, we carry it all. 

Even with performance snow tires on all four wheels, we still insist on basic safety rules on the road. Ensure that your vehicle’s tire pressure is at the recommended level, maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead and apply brakes with caution. Interested in finding out more about the ideal winter tire set up for your vehicle? Please don’t hesitate to contact our knowledgeable parts associates who are more than happy to assist you.

Located at 799 Bloor Street West in Oshawa, Ontario, Fraser Chrysler is your one-stop shop for all things Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram related. Whether you’re interested in buying a new set of winter tires, booking a routine service appointment or purchasing a new or pre-owned vehicle, our knowledgeable staff are more than happy to assist you. Fraser Chrysler gladly serves our valued customers in the Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax and surrounding areas. Have any further questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact us.