The difference between summer tyres, all season tyres and winter tyres
What are summer tyres?
Summer tyres are designed to be used during warmer months when temperatures can reach up to 40°C on occasion or even extended periods of time, or throughout the year in places without winter weather. With a shallower tread pattern and a stiff, sticky tread compound that offers excellent grip on dry and wet surfaces, summer tyres are specifically designed to deliver optimal performances in temperatures above 7°C. They maximize precise handling and make sure you’re as stable as possible when turning corners or braking.
What are winter tyres?
Winter tyres are the opposite – these are specifically designed for safe driving in temperatures below 7 °C, and severe conditions such as ice and snow. Compared to summer tyres, winter tyres have a distinctive tread pattern with deeper, more numerous notches to improve traction on snow and ice. They’re also made of a more supple material, helping them stay soft enough to grip the road even in freezing temperatures.
What are all-season tyres?
All season tyres or 4 season tyres as they are also commonly known, combine technologies from summer and winter tyres and can be used all-year round. They have more notches in the tread pattern than summer tyres, making it easier for them to grip snowy roads, while also being able to adapt to hotter temperatures. These are the easiest option if you live somewhere with mild summers, mild winters and occasional snowfall. All season tyres guarantee mobility and safety for temperatures ranging from -10 °C to +30 °C. (Learn more about all-season tyres)
Summer tyres versus winter tyres
Although they may seem similar, using a winter tyre in summer is not recommended, as the softer tread will wear down quicker on warm tarmac. Optimal handling will also be reduced, extending the stopping distance of your vehicle, and you’re likely to find yourself with increased fuel consumption too.
Equally, using summer tyres in winter is not recommended, as these tyres are not designed to withstand cold temperatures. Without the deeper tread and additional grooves of winter tyres, summer tyres can struggle to grip the roads in icy or snowy weather. Driving in the snow with summer tires fitted on your vehicle can increase your braking distance to two times longer than if you had certified winter tyres. Their tread compound naturally stiffens in freezing temperatures, increasing the risk of skidding, or slipping on winter roads. This stiffness can also lead to damage to the tyre itself, as without the necessary elasticity the rubber can crack and chip.
And what is the difference between summer and all-season tyres? If you have to choose between the two, check out this article.
Relative performance of MICHELIN’s summer, winter and all-season tires
Vs. MICHELIN Primacy 4 & MICHELIN Alpin 6
Vs. MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4 & MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5
MICHELIN Primacy 4 and MICHELIN Pilot Sport 4 summer tyres perform best on dry and wet roads during hot weather. They have an excellent lifespan, as can be expected from the MICHELIN brand.
MICHELIN CrossClimate+ tyres are all-season tyres which perform well in both summer and winter, even in snow. Their durability is on par with that of summer tyres, making them the leader in this category.
MICHELIN Alpin 6 and MICHELIN Pilot Alpin 5 winter tyres are the best performing tyres for adverse winter weather, including snowy and icy conditions.
When to switch winter tyres with summer tyres?
Depending on the weather conditions where you live, the general rule is that you should change your summer tyres to winter once the temperature consistently falls below 7°C. It’s best to wait for the temperature change to stabilize, in case you’re just experiencing a short cold snap. The same principles apply once the weather begins to warm up, so once temperatures are consistently above 7°C, you can change back to your summer tyres.
With all-season tyres you won’t have to worry about when you need to change your tyres. They are year-round peace of mind.
How much will it cost to fit my car with the right seasonal tyres?
Whether you’re fitting them to a family saloon, estate car, electric car, sports car, 4x4 or an SUV, choosing the right tyres is essential. The cost depends on the size of your vehicle and the type of seasonal tyre you want. For example, a MICHELIN Primacy 4 summer tyre is available in 104 sizes (from 15 to 20 inches): find pricing online or with your local dealer.
Unlike summer tyres, all-season tyres can be safely used in winter, a factor which is reflected in their higher price. However, fitting your vehicle with all-season tires is still cheaper than buying sets of both summer and winter tyres. These versatile tyres combine the technology of summer and winter tyres to offer a high level of performance and safety in all weather conditions. Their hybrid nature makes them economic in the long term. Search for prices online, or find your local dealer.
MICHELIN Garage: Helping you to choose the right tyres for you and your car
Winter tires vs All-season tires : which tires should you buy? | Michelin Garage
Our all season, summer and winter tyres
The MICHELIN summer range offers car, SUV and 4x4 tyres providing optimal performance...View tyres
The all-season tyres in the MICHELIN CrossClimate range are suitable for all weather...View tyres
MICHELIN winter tyres are specially designed to offer optimum levels of traction on snow...View tyres