The difference between winter tires and summer tires.

As a general rule of thumb, safe driving is based on the use of tires that are fully compatible with the weather conditions. New cars are most often immediately sold with a mandatory set of demi-season or summer tires. But with the onset of cold weather, car operation becomes unsafe. That is why it is very important to learn how to correctly distinguish summer tires from winter ones, because sometimes not only health, but also life can depend on your choice.


Winter tires are a seasonal type of tires designed for high-quality adhesion to the road surface at an air temperature of no more than minus five degrees. There are two most common types of winter tires: studded and friction tires. Also of great importance are the treads of winter tires.

Summer tires are a type of rubber with well-defined longitudinal grooves for draining fluid from the contact spots of the tread with the road surface, as well as with weakly expressed transverse grooves and a complete absence of micro-pattern. Among other things, they have a rounded smooth transition from the protectors to the sidewalls.


The main difference between winter and summer tires is the quality of the rubber alloy. Winter tires have better grip on the road surface, as well as provide good handling and shorten braking distances. Winter tires have a very interesting property: they are able to warm up while driving at very low temperatures, while they become softer and more elastic. It is elasticity that provides excellent grip on the road.

Summer rubber has the opposite qualities: even when driving fast and at high temperatures, it cools down, becoming very hard and shaped. Thanks to this quality, summer tires are ideal for fast driving, but only on good roads. The difference between summer and winter tires is their shelf life. For example, summer tires are much more susceptible to wear than winter tires. Therefore, you need to change it about three times more often.

One of the most important qualities of rubber is the maximum speed at which you can ride it. In this, winter tires are in many ways inferior to summer ones. Even with very good grip, it is not recommended to drive faster than 140 km / h in winter. When buying winter tires, you should be extremely careful, because traffic safety depends on their quality. Trust only trusted brands that are constantly working to improve their products through numerous tests.

Differences in appearance

When it comes to the differences between summer and winter tires, first of all, they begin to pay attention to differences in grip, to different chemical compositions rubber. But almost no one mentions external signs of difference, and many inexperienced drivers even say that they do not exist.

Of course, it is quite problematic to immediately determine the external differences between summer and winter tires. However, this does not mean that they do not exist. Here are just the main signs of differences between tires in appearance:

  • Winter tires have a deeper tread. This is due to the fact that precipitation often falls in winter: rain and snow. Deeper tread provides improved traction on slippery surfaces.
  • Very often winter tires are equipped with special studs for driving in icy conditions. Please note that not all winter tires are studded!
  • But the main feature of the difference is the drawing. And here two variants of studless winter tires should be mentioned in a separate line: Scandinavian and European type. Each of them has its own characteristics in the construction of the figure:
    • European type. It is characterized by a diagonal construction of the pattern, where a network of canals for water drainage is developed (very similar to the silhouette of a Christmas tree). On the periphery of the rubber tread, powerful lugs can be seen. Finally, another distinguishing feature of the tires is the presence of a huge number of very thin grooves.

      European type of winter tires

    • Scandinavian type. A sparse drawing with a large number of "checkers" in the form of a rhombus immediately catches your eye. They are staggered. Also on the tread, you can see small stripes that play an important role in the grip of the wheels on the track. And the last difference: there is a fairly decent distance between the elements of the picture.

      Scandinavian type of winter tires


  1. Driving speed, on winter tires it is much lower.
  2. Summer tires do not have a pronounced tread pattern or studs, unlike winter tires.
  3. The winter rubber alloy is much softer and more elastic, due to which excellent grip is observed.
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  5. The shelf life of winter tires is longer than summer tires.