As the weather starts to heat up, it’s important to consider which tires your vehicle will be sporting in the summer heat. Each spring around March or April (depending on the climate in your province) the roads start to dry out and heat up, which can have negative impacts on your tires if you’re not using the right type. But are summer tires necessary for everyone? Keep reading to find out!
In this article, we’ll address your burning questions about summer tires, including:
- What are summer tires?
- What type of car should use summer tires?
- Are summer tires worth it?
- Are summer tires good to use in the rain?
- What’s the difference between summer tires and all-season tires?
- How should I store summer tires when I’m not using them?
- How should I care for summer tires?
What are summer tires?
Summer tires (sometimes referred to as performance tires) are specifically designed to perform well on hot pavement due to their tread pattern. Summer tires have shallower grooves than other types of tires, which enables more rubber to touch the surface of the road and is what allows for more grip and better performance when turning corners, accelerating quickly and braking.
What type of car should use summer tires?
According to Les Schwab Tires, summer tires are ideal for these types of cars:
- Sports cars, like the Toyota GR86, Audi A5, Porsche Taycan, Chevrolet Camaro, BMW 2-Series, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Charger, Ford Mustang, and other similar models.
- Electric Vehicles (EVs), like the Volkswagen ID.4, Kia EV Series, Hyundai IONIQ Series, Tesla Models, Chevrolet Bolt, and other similar models.
- Luxury SUVs, like the Volvo XC40, BMW X1, Lexus UX, Acura RDX, Audi Q5, Lincoln Nautilus, and other similar models.
- High-performance vehicles, like the Toyota GR Yaris, Maserati MC20, Ferrari Roma, BMW M5 CS, Ford Fiesta ST, Lexus LC500, Acura NSX, and other similar models.
Although these are the ideal types of cars for summer tires, other vehicles can also use them. Read the next few sections to find out if summer tires may be worth it for you.
Are summer tires worth it?
There are a few considerations you should make before deciding whether summer tires are the right call for you. Here are some factors that will go into your decision:
- City living: Consider summer tires if you live in an urban city and mostly drive on asphalt.
- Vehicle type and driving style: Consider summer tires for luxury or sports cars, or if you enjoy feeling your car grip the road. Summer tires will perform better for rapid acceleration and braking.
- Weather and climate: Consider summer tires if you live somewhere that has warm to hot weather and/or heavy rainfall in the summer. Summer tires work well for gripping hot and wet roads.
Are summer tires good in the rain?
In short, yes! Summer tires will help prevent hydroplaning, a.k.a. uncontrollable sliding on wet roads.
Due to the tread pattern and rubber compound that make up summer tires, they “tend to be more pliable than regular tires which helps to ensure the tires really grip the road in wet and rainy conditions”.
What’s the difference between summer tires and all-season tires?
Summer tires are different from all-season tires. According to tire experts at Bridgestone Tire, here are some of the key differences:
- Performance: Summer tires have increased performance for speed and agility. All-season tires are best for a casual driver.
- Grooves and tread pattern: Summer tires have less grooves and directional treads to help with gripping the road in summer conditions. All-season tires have deeper grooves that help grip snow and ice in mild winter conditions.
- Climate: Summer tires perform well on dry and wet roads. All-season tires are also effective on wet and dry roads, but they are better in mild winter conditions as their treads grip snow and avoid slipping.
Check out the key differences broken down this table below:
So, when should you (or shouldn’t you) use each type of tire?
Can I use all-season tires in summer?
Yes, if your driving style is less about performance and more about getting you from point A to point B, all-season tires can be a suitable choice for you. Further, if you’re not driving a high-performance car (EV, luxury, sportscar, or SUV), all-season tires may also be the right choice.
Can I use summer tires all year?
It is not recommended, especially for most Canadian provinces as the temperatures get too cold. As a rule of thumb, don’t drive summer tires if the temperature is below 5 degrees Celsius. Summer tires are not designed to have traction in the winter, which can make them unsafe to use (or illegal if you live in the province of Quebec or on some highways in British Columbia).
Want to know more about whether you should be using winter tires? Read our full winter tires guide here.
How should I store summer tires when I’m not using them?
If you’re switching between summer and winter tires, you need to have a place to store the unused tires properly. You can choose to pay to have your tires stored at your local tire store or mechanic shop, or you may prefer to store them in your house or garage.
If you are storing your own summer tires, remember that they should be kept indoors in a place that does not get any colder than –7 degrees Celsius. Tires that are not stored properly can become stiff or even crack, making them unsafe to drive.
Also, if your tires are being stored WITH rims, they should be hung up or stacked NOT standing upright. If your tires are being stored WITHOUT rims, store them standing up, do NOT stack or hang them.
How should I care for summer tires?
How to check my tire pressure in summer:
Tire pressure rises when temperatures go up, so you should be checking your tires regularly to ensure they’re not over inflated. It is recommended by experts at Firestone Complete Auto Care to check your tire pressure in the morning and before you start driving, but keep in mind that your tire pressure reading could be higher than it should be if your car was in the heat for too long.
You’ll need to know what your recommended tire pressure is, which you can find in your owner’s manual or sometimes on the inside of the driver’s side door.
If you don’t have your own tire pressure gauge, you can purchase one at most tire stores or use the one provided complimentarily at your local gas station.
Image source: UniRoyal Tyres
When to replace my summer tires:
Summer tires typically have half the lifespan of all-season tires, which is between five or six years, or between 32,000 to 64,000 kilometers, whichever comes first. If your summer tires are getting old, we’d recommend taking them to an expert to check their tread depth.
Keep in mind that these numbers are just estimates. They will vary depending on your province’s weather and climate and your specific driving habits.
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Read more from GuardTree:
- How to choose the right tires for your vehicle and lifestyle
- Car Maintenance Checklist: Routine car maintenance that every driver should do
- Using winter tires in Ontario: Your questions answered
- The ultimate guide to planning a stress-free post-pandemic road trip
Disclaimer: This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute mechanical or other professional advice as it relates to your vehicle. Each person must consult a qualified professional with respect to matters referenced in this post. GuardTree Inc. assumes no liability whatsoever for actions taken (or not taken) in reliance upon the information contained herein.