It’s that time of year where you can finally say ‘goodbye’ to winter and ‘hello’ to the warmer temperatures of spring and summer. This is a time where all vehicle owners and car enthusiasts can celebrate because it’s time to roll down the windows, drop that convertible top, and break out that classic ride. It’s also time to throw on some new tires, specifically the best summer tires you can buy.
Thankfully, WheelHero is here to guide you with some tips on what makes the best summer tires and why they can be more beneficial than your standard all-season tire.
Generally speaking, all-season tires are good for driving year-round, especially in climates that experience all four seasons. If you live in a relatively warm climate where the temperature doesn’t dip below 45-degrees, then summer tires may be a year-long option.
For a majority of drivers, that’s not the case. However, when the warm weather finally breaks, it’s time to throw on the best summer tires. These types of tires are often referred to as ‘performance tires’ and are made from a different compound than other types of tires. The compound is softer, more pliable, and stickier for grip in dry and wet conditions while also being stiff enough to retain shape on very hot surfaces. This leads to better overall vehicle performance and even fuel efficiency compared to all-season or winter tires.
Summer tires also feature a different tread pattern than their all-season, winter, and other counterparts. Here, a shallower groove with straighter patterns and a continuous rib is normally used. This ensures that a greater surface area is in contact with the road while driving, for better overall grip and performance. This results in better stability, responsiveness, and braking ability for your vehicle.
Thanks to the different tread pattern, the best summer tires will have better grip in wet conditions than all-season tires. This is due to the fact that the tread pattern is better able to channel water and the softer compound can generate more grip in wet conditions.
Oftentimes, summer tires are made using an asymmetrical (A.K.A. unidirectional) tread pattern as opposed to a symmetrical tread pattern that’s normally found in all-season, winter, and other tire types. The asymmetrical pattern is part of what makes each tire suited for performance applications to generate more grip, performance, and disperse water in varying conditions. As a result, tire rotation options may be limited to changing the front tires to the rear as opposed to crisscrossing with symmetrical tread tires to even out wear.
While the best summer tires will give your vehicle optimum overall performance characteristics, they’re only made for use in warm weather. When temperatures begin to reach 45-degrees or below, the softer compound used in summer tires can harden and “freeze”, causing a dramatic loss in traction and performance. They also do not have a tread pattern that is designed to handle any kind of snow, and will result in dangerous driving characteristics.
Unlike all-season tires, summer tires tend to have a shorter life. Due to their shallower grooves and softer compound type, they often wear at a slightly faster rate than all-seasons. The fact that drivers also use them for more spirited driving can also cause the tread to wear away a bit faster as well.
When the time comes to finally put on some all-season or winter tires, the best summer tires need to be stored properly. It’s best to keep the tires as close to room temperature as possible and wrap them in a tire tote, tire covers, or even sealed plastic bags. Clean each tire and get rid of any moisture that may be present to prevent any freezing. This will ensure peak performance for the next summer season and keep you and your vehicle happy.
Summer tires can give your vehicle the best overall performance and result in some of the best driving experiences in warm weather. Once the temperatures rise and the sun starts shining, it’s time to break them out and have some fun!