The weather changes throughout the year, which affects driving conditions on the road. Your vehicle will benefit from having tyres fitted to the wheels that are seasonally appropriate. In some countries, it's even a legal requirement. In this section, we will discuss the differences between three tyre categories; summer tyres, winter tyres, or all-season tyres.
Continental strongly recommends matching the right tyres to the right season. That means driving with summer tyres in the warmer time of the year and with winter tyres during the cold period. This ensures that driving safety and performance are maximised all year round.
During the warmer season, where temperatures climb above 7 °C, we strongly recommend that you fit your wheels with summer tyres. Only summer tyres can guarantee high grip levels on wet and dry roads through their dedicated tread patterns and tread compounds. Summer tyres also provide high stability in curves and optimal mileage performance at summer temperatures.
When the temperature falls below 7 °C, it's time to switch to winter tyres. These tyres perform well in all winter conditions, ranging from snow and ice to wet and cold dry roads. They provide enhanced braking performance in snowy and icy conditions and feature an aggressive tread pattern, clearing away slush and digging into snow for greater traction.
Another reason they're so effective is that they are made of a custom rubber compound that stays soft and flexible at low temperatures for better vehicle control. But it’s not advisable to use winter tyres in warm weather; this softer compound will wear out faster on dry tarmac and need replacing sooner.
First things first, you should know that all-season tyres won't provide optimal performance under all driving conditions. It is always a compromise.
That said, the tread on an all-season tyre is typically more durable and lasts longer than tyres designed for the winter season. And all-season tyres can boast lower rolling resistance, which saves energy and results in better fuel efficiency. Ultimately, for daily use, motorists may find an all-season tyre will be more comfortable and quieter.
But while all-season tyres offer decent handling in a variety of driving conditions, there are inevitable compromises in managing both summer and winter capabilities. They can certainly provide some grip in wet and snowy conditions. But winter tyres provide the best safety and performance on roads with heavy snowfall and ice.