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Can summer car tyres be used in winter?

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Simon Robinson 417/06/2020 00:18:39
56 forum posts

Today I got a set of 4 new tyres fitted. When I phoned to book the car in I was told they were mid range tyres rather than budget tyres so I paid the extra so I chose them. Got them fitted and when I got home nearly £200 lighter my neighbour told me they were summer tyres. surprise

To be honest I was not aware that there was a difference or that there were tyres for different seasons. I thought winter tyres had tiny steel studs in them and they used them in places like the Alps or Alaska. Nobody I know in Britain changes tyres at end of each season.

I don’t know why the tyre place fitted them rather than all season tyres or tell me they were summer tyres. I didn’t ask for summer tyres either.

Will it be ok the use them in winter? I live in the South West England so we don’t often get snow.

Also the side walls feel quite soft when I push my thumb into them despite being fully inflated. Is that normal with brand new tyres? Perhaps the rubber is more supple? 

The make is GT FE1 radial City tyres. 155/80 R13 83

Thanks for any replies.

Edited By Simon Robinson 4 on 17/06/2020 00:20:55

Edited By Simon Robinson 4 on 17/06/2020 00:24:32

Jim Butler 117/06/2020 00:39:52
10 forum posts

Summer tyre can be used in winter, but may not grip quite as well as a winter tyre.

Winter tyres have a softer rubber compound than the summer tyre and a more aggressive tread pattern which helps to grip on snow and ice.

When I lived and worked in the Shetland Islands, back in the 1980s, we would change the normal general purpose tyres for studded snow tyres on the driving wheels.

The studded tyres would go on around November, and come off again in April.

There was of course a down side to the studded tyres, they did not grip quite as well in the dry and would give you a sharp reminder if you went round a corner a bit too quickly.

JimB

Speedy Builder517/06/2020 06:38:40
2032 forum posts
144 photos

Over here (SW France) we have a love affair with changing wheels for the season. Problem is that the winter tyres get little use and are advised to replace after 5 years (probably less than 1 years use). We don't get heavy snow, probably more frost than anything else. For me, I use normal (summer) tyres and drive carefully.

pgk pgk17/06/2020 06:39:24
1851 forum posts
288 photos

I was also unaware of the range of tyres and their differences until I bought my fancy EV and made the mistake of looking at tyres. It's a minefield. EU regs show Wet Grip, Noise and Fuel economy but if you start looking at wet and dry grip, temperature uses, cornering, durability,, rolling resistance, aquaplaning and so forth you can go mad trying to make a decision. It's also a question of whther those figures are a result of independnant testing or the manufacturers figures. Many countries with severe winters had laws re when to change to winter tyres.

Tyre pressures are another area of confusion. With TPMS many cars only throw up a warning light when tyre shows a drop. In my fancy car I can display the TPMS readings. Recommended tyre pressures are (apparently) when the car tyres are cold. If i adjust them to the car manufacturers recommended 45psi they will go up to 49psi on a decent journey. They've even been over that figure when parked up in the sun (on the sun side) and cooled down when being used from 50psi one side and 46psi the other. And , of course, once we hit winter the 45psi (unused) drops and they need adjusting. I had to buy a new tyre recently after 3 fixed punctures and one repair that leaked despite being redone. Garages are supposed to have their inflaters calibrated (annually?) but the 45 psi I asked them to put in was only 42 when i started using the car but has held fine at 45psi after I adjusted it (new tyre stretched a little?)

If it's any consolation that one tyre cost me more than your whole set so i do avoid burning off from the lights and hard braking.

The last worry is where to buy tyres. Chains like Kwik-fit can be bargains or rip-offs (I've been caught but that's another story) so it worth punting around the web for guide prices by brand with an allowance for fitting and balancing.

The final confusion comes when you get asked if you want them filled with Nitrogen - which sounds fancy until you figure out that if you clip a kerb and have to top one up with air then they are technically imbalanced again.

pgk

Redsetter17/06/2020 06:59:43
132 forum posts
Posted by Simon Robinson 4 on 17/06/2020 00:18:39:

Today I got a set of 4 new tyres fitted. When I phoned to book the car in I was told they were mid range tyres rather than budget tyres so I paid the extra so I chose them. Got them fitted and when I got home nearly £200 lighter my neighbour told me they were summer tyres. surprise

Just tell your neighbour to mind his own business.

Anthony Knights17/06/2020 07:31:54
406 forum posts
177 photos

I've always wondered what's so special about filling your tyres with nitrogen. After all, normal air is at least 70% nitrogen. Sounds like a scam to me. Same as using Argon in double glazing cavities.

mgnbuk17/06/2020 07:55:09
781 forum posts
61 photos

Most car tyres sold in the UK will be "Summer" tyres.

Winter tyres have different tread compounds to remain flexible at lower temperatures + more and wider sipes to better clear snow & water. The combination of low temperature flexibility and larger sipes allows snow to be shed from the tyre, rather than packing into the tread. The disadvantage to Winter tyres in Summer conditions is that the more flexible compound wears faster in warmer, dry conditions, plus they are generaly less fuel efficient and frequently noisier. IIRC the temperature has to be below 7 degrees C for Winter tyres to start to offer an advantage over Summer tyres.

I managed to get a set of steel wheels with nearly new Avon Winter tyres fitted for my last car at a bargain price from Ebay. They were noticably grippier in snow & generally gave better grip in wet conditions than the Summer tyres fitted as standard, but fuel consumption increased (around 2 mpg less) and road noise also increased. After 4 Winters (at around 4000 miles per Winter - tyres rotated each time they were fitted to put the greatest tread depth to the front wheels) they were pretty well worn out, as Winter tyres require a greater minimum tread depth than Summer tyres (4mm IIRC) to function correctly. These wheels may fit my current car (originally bought for a Kia Carens, now got a Hyundai i30 with same diameter wheels & same size tyres but not tried them to see if spigot diameter & bolt pcd are the same) but I din't bother last Winter as it was pretty mild. The tyres only have one more season in them & I'm not sure I would buy another full set (Winter tyres have to be fitted as a full set).

I generally buy tyres for the cars online from Tyreshopper, who use National Tyres outlets to fit them (at a lot less than National Tyres charge to supply & fit).

Nigel B.

Don Cox17/06/2020 08:05:08
50 forum posts

After many years of buying tyres on line and fitting and balancing them myself at the College where I worked, following my retirement I had to buy some tyres with fitting included. Surprisingly Kwik Fit came out as a good deal when pre-ordered.

When I took the car in having nitrogen fill was offered as an extra by the guy at the desk, he was a bit nonplussed when I asked him to explain how all the air could be displaced from inside the tyre by Nitrogen squirted through the valve, he didn't have an answer. Personally I think Nitrogen fill ranks with engine flush and fuel cleaner offered at routine services, a nice little earner for the garage, but totally unnecessary.

Michael Gilligan17/06/2020 08:11:29
avatar
15891 forum posts
693 photos

Here’s a basic no-nonsense explanation of the difference between ‘Summer’ and ‘Winter’ tyres:

**LINK**

https://www.uniroyal-tyres.com/car/tyre-guide/tyre-knowledge/difference-summer-and-winter-tyres

MichaelG.

.

P.S. ___ “All Season” tyres are a compromise [so, neither fish nor fowl]

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 17/06/2020 08:18:33

Peter G. Shaw17/06/2020 09:18:37
avatar
1121 forum posts
44 photos

Up until recently, I've always used "standard" tyres, whatever "standard" means. Ok, when we used to have decent winters, I would use Town & Country, Mud & Slush, whatever, but in reality, the days of needing those tyres were few and far between, and are even less so these days.

About 15 years ago I stopped using Pirelli's and went over to Michelin, and was surprised at the difference in tyre life, the Michelins being at least 30% longer life. I accept that was on one particular car. Tyre life went from 18K/29K front/rear to 29K/45K+ rear.

I then exchanged that car for what turned out to be a Friday afternoon & Monday morning car rolled into one. Tyre life dropped drastically, even on Michelins. After four years we had had enough of that heap of junk, so bought our present car, a Toyota Avensis Estate.

Tyre life has improved to around 30K regardless. It started on Bridgestone (Couriers?), I then moved onto Michelin Energy+, and now am on Michelin Cross Climates. My suspicion is that the Cross Climates are noisier than the Energy+s, and possibly slightly less good on mileage. On the one occasion we did get some snow recently (two years ago?) I deliberately tried to provoke a sideways slip with harsh braking at a low speed. No-one else was around so it was quite safe. The car pulled up in a dead straight line when I expected at least a gentle sideslip. So was that the Cross Climates? Don't know, but on that very unscientific test, I'm staying with them.

By the way, the Avensis has done 94K in 7 years from new. The prevous heap of secondhand junk did 57K starting from 27K, whilst the car before that started at 37K and went to 160K before we part exchanged it.

Peter G. Shaw

Edited for missed out words etc.

Edited By Peter G. Shaw on 17/06/2020 09:27:40

not done it yet17/06/2020 09:28:12
4748 forum posts
16 photos

My Landrover Series lll had the same tyres year round.

pgk pgk17/06/2020 09:37:12
1851 forum posts
288 photos
Posted by Peter G. Shaw on 17/06/2020 09:18:37:...My suspicion is that the Cross Climates are noisier than the Energy+s, and possibly slightly less good on mileage. On the one occasion we did get some snow recently (two years ago?) I deliberately tried to provoke a sideways slip with harsh braking at a low speed. No-one else was around so it was quite safe. The car pulled up in a dead straight line when I expected at least a gentle sideslip. So was that the Cross Climates? Don't know, but on that very unscientific test, I'm staying with them...

Probably also a demonstration of how good ABS and Traction Control algorithms are now. I just looked but failed to find the vid of a Tesla being tested on a constructed slope in arctic conditions with one side of that slope coated in ice and the other side covered in snow and the algorithms coping with it fine by adjusting torque and slip.

pgk

Neil Wyatt17/06/2020 09:54:59
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Moderator
17970 forum posts
709 photos
77 articles

In the UK it is legal to use summer tyres all year round.

In Scandinavian countries you legally have to change over, because of their more severe winters.

Personally, I think for most of the UK summer tyres are probably better suited to the prevailing winter conditions.

As for nitrogen:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCnWvMleVD0

Warning opinions expressed in robust language.

Neil

Andrew Tinsley17/06/2020 09:57:21
1153 forum posts

Filling double glazed units with argon actually makes a significant improvement in their U value. This has been proven by some significant trials by the British Board of Agremont. It all came to rather a sudden end, when it was found that the argon eventually diffuses out of the panel, thus returning the U value to the normal lower level.

Andrew.

Circlip17/06/2020 10:11:19
1134 forum posts

It used to be the "Norm" changing to Town and Countries in winter, deeper treads, so more grippy for snow/slush driving, but beware, some insurance companies could refuse to pay out on a claim in the event of an accident quoting that you have "Modified" your vehicle from Standard original tires fitted unless you inform them before use.

Catch 22 situation that if the originals won't grip on the road conditions, you shouldn't be driving.

Regards Ian.

SillyOldDuffer17/06/2020 10:20:27
5942 forum posts
1282 photos
Posted by Anthony Knights on 17/06/2020 07:31:54:

I've always wondered what's so special about filling your tyres with nitrogen. After all, normal air is at least 70% nitrogen. Sounds like a scam to me. Same as using Argon in double glazing cavities.

Genuine reasons for both.

Filling with pure Nitrogen or Argon removes Oxygen and Water and reduces corrosion and misting. Window seals last longer and metal tyre rims stay clean. Zero oxygen means no chemical or biological action can occur.

Nitrogen and Argon are cheap by-products from making Oxygen. Both are colourless and inert - non toxic.

Nitrogen is favoured for filling tyres because Nitrogen molecules are big, which reduces leakage.

Argon is preferred to Nitrogen in Windows because it's stickier, and reduced turbulence inside the pane improves insulation.

Not much advantage in Nitrogen filled tyres for ordinary motoring because they're non-critical and easy to top tyres up at the roadside. Definitely useful for high-performance applications like Formula 1 and aircraft landing gear! Ordinary air is cheap as chips, but not the best choice when it matters.

Quite fun to come at filling from the other angle : what's the worst possible gas one could choose? Fluorine is green and attacks glass, rubber, metal, flesh and almost everything else! Hydrogen leaks furiously and goes bang. Pure Oxygen is a fire hazard. Etc, etc.

Dave

Dick H17/06/2020 10:29:33
87 forum posts
1 photos

In Germany people swap from summer to winter tyres end of October / early November. The winter tyres have a grippier profile and lots of little ribs like slits or vanes in the tread pattern which are supposed to pump more water as well. The ADAC (the German equivalent of the AA ) publishes tests on summer and winter tyres (https://www.adac.de/rund-ums-fahrzeug/tests/reifen/) every year rating the tyres for grip, braking performance, noise and fuel economy.

I do so miss the daily commute, every November when we got the first dusting of snow you would find those who still had the summer tyres on creeping along in the slow lane. If you don´t have the appropriate tyres on there´s a fine and a point on your licence.

Samsaranda17/06/2020 10:29:42
avatar
940 forum posts
5 photos

We always inflated aircraft tyres with nitrogen, the reason quoted was that nitrogen was relatively inert and excluded the oxygen that is present in ordinary air, oxygen causes rubber compounds to degrade. It was also apparently safer to have nitrogen in your tyres if the aircraft suffered a brake fire, not unknown on aircraft if they land too far down the runway and have to brake excessively.
Dave W

pgk pgk17/06/2020 10:37:51
1851 forum posts
288 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 17/06/2020 10:20:27:...

Quite fun to come at filling from the other angle : what's the worst possible gas one could choose? Fluorine is green and attacks glass, rubber, metal, flesh and almost everything else! Hydrogen leaks furiously and goes bang. Pure Oxygen is a fire hazard. Etc, etc.

Helium - due to global shortage. Oddly hydrogen in moderate quantities dissipates so quickly it's not as dangerous as one thinks...unless your in Hindenberg quantities

pgk

old mart17/06/2020 10:39:39
1829 forum posts
148 photos

I bought a set of Goodyear winter tyres some years ago complete with steel rims from mytyres. They gave much improved grip on snow, but wore out quicker and were directional tread. The directional tread means you cannot rotate the tyres from side to side, just front to rear, without turning the tyres around on the rims. When they were down to about 3mm, they had lost their benefits and I looked on the mytyres website for replacements which were assymetric, so rotating them was not a problem. Non directional winter tyres are few and far between, but I did get some Korean ones. This was when I had a diesel Panda, which had small relatively cheap tyres, now I have a 1.7CDTI Corsa, the tyres cost over twice as much, so I have never bought any more winter tyres. Also, living in Weston Super Mare, we don't have snow, so winter tyres are a waste of money. When I first bought winter tyres, the UK insurance companies had not had much experience with winter tyres, and my company, LV required me to inform them every time I changed my wheels from summer to winter. That was the reason I changed to Churchill, they had no such requirement.

There is a compromise tyre for people wanting to keep only one type of tyre all the year round, "allseasons tyres".

Nitrogen in tyres is a nice little earner for the tyre bay. Just inflating a tyre with nitrogen still leaves the 21% of oxygen present when the tyre was fitted, unless the tyre is inflated and deflated several times using nitrogen. The nitrogen diffuses slower than the oxygen present in air through the rubber. Also, if the oxygen slowly reacts with the rubber surface chemically, the pressure will reduce very slowly. As already explained, aircraft actually do benefit from nitrogen in their tyres.

Edited By old mart on 17/06/2020 10:49:43

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