I am no engineer. You may not be an engineer, either. Overall, the concept of tires is simple: hard rubber that gets us from place to place. But, when you begin throwing out different tire types and materials, things can begin to soar overhead. What are summer tires? Are they really necessary? Would I just be wasting my time buying and applying them?
Summer is upon us. It’s hot, I can barely breathe and the roads are scolding. When driving throughout the summer scorcher, it’s crucial to take care of your vehicle. Consequently, the searing middle months can do a number on your car. Just last week, we discussed how much the heat can affect your car’s battery. What about the tires?
After grueling research (sarcasm), we’ve decided to discuss the concept of summer tires. What are they, and do you need them for the next few months? Let’s get into it.
What Are Summer Tires?
As Coloradoans, we all know about winter tires. Simply put, winter and snow tires use a different composite of tread rubber, allowing for a softer grip in colder temperatures. Furthermore, they have deeper tread depth and patterns, creating more traction in those pesky snow storms. If you find yourself driving anywhere from November to April, you’ve probably (hopefully) dealt with the ingenuity of snow tires.
If you live in Colorado, you were probably led astray by common belief. You’ll never need to worry about heat. Right? It’s the mountains, after all!
Unfortunately, this is growing less true by the year. Denver is already seeing record-setting heat waves in 2022, and the future looks more blistering than ever. We aren’t here to get into climate change, though. So, what should you do about scorching summer days?
Summer tires, otherwise known as performance tires, are created differently than your standard all-season tires. As stated, I am no engineer, but I will break it down to the simplest of concepts.
The summer tire is created with a different rubber compound than regular tires, allowing for a softer road grip. These tires grab onto wet roads better than normal tire rubber and dissipate heat faster. Furthermore, they have shallower and straighter grooves. This design allows for more rubber to be in contact with the road, creating better braking, cornering and acceleration.
By design, these summer tires would be an awful and dangerous idea for the winter months. With less depth comes less traction, making snow driving a nightmare.
If summer tires are only useful for a few months, are they really necessary?
Do You Need Summer Tires?
Should you switch to summer tires for the coming months? Are you raising a hazard to your safety by continuing to drive on all-season or winter tires during the summer?
The short answer is no. You probably do not need summer tires in Colorado. In fact, you really don’t require summer tires in any part of the United States. Summer tires are called performance tires for a reason. They are used for high-performance driving. If you aren’t using your vehicle for racing or extreme trekking, you don’t need to switch out your tires during hot seasons.
Furthermore, the shallow tread of summer tires may end up being a waste of money. If you are not using the rubber for high-performance drives, the tread can wear extremely fast, leaving you with the need for new tires by the end of the season. Ultimately, it will end up being a financial pit that’s both unnecessary and unwise.
While summer tires are made for temperatures higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they aren’t crucial. All-season tires are made for both below-freezing and above-freezing temperatures. Sure. You may lose a bit of traction when switching to all-season, but you maintain longevity and flexibility. You won’t have to switch your tires as soon as the fall months start to cool down the asphalt. You are fit for… Well… All seasons.
You are wasting time and money if you aren’t a spirited driver or racer.
What About All-Season?
Technology seems to have a never-ending goal of making things simpler. Furthermore, engineers work to craft car parts that make the driving experience easier and safer for those with less mechanical knowledge.
Simply put, not everyone knows or cares about the wheels on their vehicle, what the rubber is made of, or how it grips wet roads. The only desire is the ability to commute safely. Luckily, manufacturers understand this.
All-season tires are fine for the average commuter. Their all-around nature allows for them to be used in an abundance of temperatures and climates. They maintain a moderate grip on wet roads, can remain soft in hot and cold temperatures and have the tread depth to last for a significant amount of time. The average driver does not want to replace their tires constantly, so summer tires fall by the wayside.
It’s fairly simple. If you are not a car enthusiast and had to google if you need summer tires, you probably do not. Your all-season tires should cause no issue for the coming hot months. Ultimately, your safety and gas mileage will not suffer from the current rubber and traction you possess.
There is a reason that all-seasons are so widely used.
Can I Use Winter Tires in the Summer?
While summer tires can be tossed aside in Colorado seasons, winter tires are more of a necessity. If you are driving in the never-ending snowy months, you will probably need to switch over to the safer and stronger winter tire.
Can you use winter tires throughout the summer?
Technically, yes. The increased tread and softer composite will not cause any issue during the hot months, but it’s fairly impractical. Ultimately, using your winter tires in the summer will wear down tread faster. Tread depth is crucial for the advantages of winter tires in snowy conditions, so worn winter tires become useless quicker than all-season. Therefore, using winter tires throughout the whole year will end up being a more costly experience. You will have to change your winter tires more often.
You are not putting yourself at risk of danger by driving winter tires in other months, but you are quickly wasting money. No one wants to waste money.