Putting science to the test!
It’s that time of year. For a great deal of people in the Northern part of the world, it’s time to swap out your summer tires and rims for a winter set in order to properly handle all of the snow, ice, and slush headed your way. But, if you don’t live in an area that gets snow but is still cold, do you really need to make the switch?
That’s what Engineering Explained is here to figure out. Armed with a Honda S2000 and a set of summer tires and rims, and the same set of wheels with winter tires, this engineer got to work figuring out which was best for the situation.
All tires are made with different kinds of rubber compounds that are suited for various applications. This gives them a variety of benefits. For example, summer tires get warmer and help conform to the road for better grip at a higher temperature than winter tires. This allows the latter to provide more traction in wintery conditions for better grip and safety. Depending on the desired use, one type of tires and rims may be better than another.
In this test, the primary focus for comparing the winter tires and rims with the summer set was braking performance. Due to the compound, tread pattern, and a variety of other factors, driving winter tires in the snow and ice is exceptionally better and safer than doing the same with summer tires. So, for the safety of you and others, use winter tires in that case.
But if it’s below freezing and dry, then things start to change. This test was done where the S2000 was stopped in neutral from 65 mph to a complete stop and the distance was measured. Temperatures for the summer tire testing was 24-degrees Fahrenheit while the winter set was 26-degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are the results:
Summer Tire Braking Test:
Test 1: 127.1 feet
Test 2: 130.1 feet
Test 3: 127.1 feet
Winter Tire Braking Test:
Test 1: 156.7 feet
Test 2: 164.9 feet
Test 3: 163.7 feet
As you can see, the winter tires performed worse than the summer tires. They also provided less steering feel and feedback, and made for worse handling performance.
In conclusion, Engineering Explained found that in cold temperatures without precipitation, summer tires are acceptable to use. However, if you are ever going to be encountering any kind of snow and/or ice, then please use winter tires. You, your car, and others will thank you.
Source: Engineering Explained YouTube