Summer vs Winter Tyres

When it comes to choosing car tyres, finding the right tyres for the season is vital. In the warmer months, you should be using summer tyres and, come the colder environment, you should switch to winter tyres. To get the best out of each of these, it helps to know which properties are best for which season, as well as any legal issues presented by each type of tyre.

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Summer Tyres

Summer tyres are designed for dryer months, although they still account for wet surfaces. As such, there is less of a focus on grip and braking distances and a bigger push for lower rolling resistances. It is this lower rolling resistance that enables a lower fuel consumption rate, making summer tyres great for efficient driving.

Furthermore, these tyres often have an asymmetric or directional tread pattern, both of which help provide grip and water expulsion. The latter is important as, even during the summer, the UK can still encounter wet surfaces and the snipes or grooves on the side of these tyres prevents aquaplaning.

If you’re driving within city environments, where snow and ice don’t build up, summer tyres can be used at all times. However, when driving outside of towns and cities, summer tyres don’t perform as well on rougher surfaces.


When it comes to the UK, there are no legal issues surrounding summer tyres. Of course, you’re still bound by normal tyre laws, including maintaining your air pressure and ensuring a minimum depth of 1.60 mm on all tyres. More is better of course, as this keeps the tread in tact. As for Europe and the EEA, you should check with the country in question. Many countries, such as the Scandinavian regions in the EEA, require winter tyres at certain points of the year. During these periods, it’s illegal to be driving on summer tyres.

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres are designed to cope with a wide variety of weather conditions and, as such, focus on grip and braking distances rather than speed and performance. These tyres often feature a directional tread, as this allows the car to push through thick layers of snow, grit or even frozen ice.

If you’re driving outside of city environments, where the roads aren’t as well maintained and snow can build up, winter tyres are highly recommended.


There’s no legal requirement to wear winter tyres but, if you do, you should still obey the same tyre laws as summer tyres, including a minimum tread depth of 1.60. Of course, in the winter, a much thicker tread will make use of the grip and braking capabilities of the tyres.

One thing you should note, however, is that studded tyres are not allowed on UK roads. As such, you should ensure you only use tyres that do not have these, which is not a problem if you’re buying tyres with the UK. In other countries across the EU and EEA, especially in those with high snowfall, the use of studded tyres may be allowed or regulated.