Everything you need to know about summer tyres


As the summer holidays approach, you may be wondering what to do with your tyres. Are summer tyres a legal requirement? Is there a difference between winter and summer tyres? Are summer tyres safe to use during the winter?

To ensure you are getting the best out of your car and your tyres, we have rounded up the top questions asked about summer tyres and included our expert information to help you make a decision.

Quick Links:

Is there a difference between winter tyres and summer tyres?
Can you use winter tyres in summer?
Is it possible to use summer tyres in winter?
How to store winter tyres during the summer
Which tyre brands provide the best summer tyres?


A picture looking out of the windscreen of a car into the sun


Is there a difference between winter tyres and summer tyres?

Yes, there are some differences between winter tyres and summer tyres. These differences include the following:

  • Rubber content: summer tyres have a firmer rubber compound to ensure proper grip and traction on both dry and wet roads during summer time.
  • Tyre structure: the structure of summer tyres are designed to be used in temperatures above 7 degrees Celsius
  • Tread pattern: summer tyres have shallower tread patterns than winter tyres.

Can you use winter tyres in summer?

It is possible to drive in summer if your car is equipped with winter tyres. However, this can affect your car’s driving performance.

Winter tyres have a different rubber compound to summer tyres, meaning that they may wear down quicker on warm and dry roads in the summer time. This means that the tyres may need replacing again as winter comes around, costing you more money in the long run.

Handling and grip may also be compromised if you have winter tyres in summer. Afterall, summer tyres were created for a reason and that reason is to help boost comfort and performance when driving in warmer climates.

Although there is no legal requirement to change your winter tyres to summer tyres as the season changes, it is important to take note of when to change your tyres if you use your car on UK roads frequently. If you decide to head on a road trip to a different country in your car, be sure to check the weather and the climate and understand if you could be putting yourself at any unnecessary risk if you do not have the most appropriate tyres. There may be certain regulations in certain countries; for example, Sweden and Finland have rules about using winter tyres in winter due to their extreme weather conditions.

Is it possible to use summer tyres in winter?

Again, it is possible to drive in winter while running summer tyres, but it is not recommended. Summer tyres in winter weather can affect your overall driving performance. Summer tyres are specifically designed for temperatures above 7 degrees centigrade. In temperatures below this, summer tyres may begin to harden and ultimately lose some grip on the roads. Particularly in snowy or icy conditions, your overall grip and braking distance may be affected.

For whatever reason, you may feel reluctant to change your tyres twice year, particularly in the UK when the weather is fairly unpredictable. If this is your thinking, then you could opt for all season tyres that are made from a rubber compound that prevents hardening in colder temperatures but also aids grip and performance in all conditions.


A pile of tyres stacked on top of one another


How to store winter tyres during the summer

If you have winter tyres and have decided to swap them for summer tyres, you will want to know how to safely store the tyres you are not using.

  1. Wash the removed tyres with warm water and car shampoo
  2. Rinse with a hosepipe or clean water, wipe and leave to dry
  3. Check the tyres for any damage such as slits and bulges
  4. Use a tyre marker to mark which tyre belongs where on the car e.g. front left, rear left etc. If you do not have a tyre marker, leave a note on each.
  5. Cover the tyres with storage bags or opaque heavy-duty refuse sacks
  6. Store the tyres in a safe and dry environment that does not become heated, preferably in a garage on shelving or racking
  7. Ensure the tyres are checked on every once in a while, for any damage whilst being stored. Turn them over to avoid drying out.
  8. Once summer is over, be sure to check them again for any damage and replace if needed.


Which tyre brands provide the best summer tyres?

Most renowned tyre brands have a choice of summer tyres, and it all depends on your personal preference, your car model and your budget as to which you decide to buy. Brands such as Nankang and BFGoodrich have an excellent range of mid-range summer tyres that do not break the bank, but your most renowned tyre manufacturers such as Dunlop and Continental also provide a varied selection of tyres created and tested for the ultimate driving experience in summer time.

As mentioned above, you may not want to change your tyres twice a year, so searching for an all-season tyre may be the better option for you.

It is never too early to start thinking about switching tyres and which ones will be the best for your car; after all, it is always best to be prepared and not rush into a decision as the hot weather approaches. For information about your tyres, head over to our help & advice page where you can find guides about your tyre size and tyre pressure!