Skip to content

When to change to summer tires?


Changing to summer tires is an important part of vehicle maintenance for UK drivers. As the seasons shift and temperatures rise, it becomes necessary to consider when to switch from winter or all-season tires to summer tires. Making this transition at the right time is crucial for optimal performance, safety, and cost-effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the factors that determine when to change to summer tires in the UK and provide you with a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision.

The Importance of Summer Tires

Summer tires are specifically designed to provide superior performance in dry and wet road conditions when temperatures are above 7°C. Compared to winter or all-season tires, summer tires offer better traction, handling, and braking capabilities. The specialized rubber compound used in these tires ensures optimal grip and responsiveness, resulting in improved cornering stability and shorter braking distances. Using summer tires during the appropriate season not only enhances your driving experience but also contributes to road safety.

Temperature as the Key Factor

Temperature plays a pivotal role in determining when to change to summer tires. It is generally recommended to switch to summer tires when the average daily temperature consistently stays above 7°C. At lower temperatures, summer tires may become less effective due to the hardening of their rubber compound, resulting in reduced grip and compromised performance. Monitoring the weather forecast and paying attention to temperature trends can help you determine the right time for the switch.

Checking Tread Depth

Another important factor to consider is the tread depth of your current tires. The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tire. However, for optimized performance and safety, experts recommend changing tires once they reach 3mm of remaining tread depth. Insufficient tread depth affects the tire’s ability to channel water away from the contact patch, increasing the risk of hydroplaning. Therefore, before changing to summer tires, it is essential to check their tread depth and replace them if necessary.

Tip: You can use the “20p test” to quickly check your tire tread depth. Insert a 20p coin into the main grooves of the tire. If the outer rim is visible, your tires may be close to or below the legal tread limit.

Consider Your Driving Conditions

When deciding when to change to summer tires, it’s important to take into account your typical driving conditions. If you live in an area with mild winters or experience rarely freezing temperatures, you may opt for all-season tires instead of switching between winter and summer tires. All-season tires offer a compromise between the performance of summer tires and the grip of winter tires. However, if you frequently encounter extreme winter conditions or drive in mountainous areas with heavy snowfall, it is advisable to switch to dedicated winter tires during the colder months.

Budget and Cost Considerations

While safety should be a top priority when changing tires, it is also crucial to consider the financial aspect. Switching tires too early or too late can impact both your safety and your wallet. Changing to summer tires too early might result in premature wear, reducing their lifespan. On the other hand, delaying the change to summer tires can diminish your vehicle’s performance and compromise safety. Finding the right balance between safety and cost effectiveness is key.

In Conclusion

Knowing when to change to summer tires in the UK is a decision that requires careful consideration of various factors including temperature, tread depth, driving conditions, and budget. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure optimal performance, safety, and longevity of your tires. Don’t forget to regularly check your tire pressure and condition throughout the year for a smooth and secure driving experience.