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Thinking of keeping your winter tyres on this summer? ...Better think again!

Apr, 08 2016

Bridgestone explains why changing back to summer tyres is the only sensible option

Now that we’ve put forward the clocks, everyone in Europe is waiting for warmer weather. A number of annual rituals mark this change of season: cleaning the back terrace; the first gentle grass cut; and for millions, the switch back from winter tyres to summer rubber.

Around 43% of European drivers change over to winter tyres for the cold season, with enormous differences by region. While 92% of Poles and 88% of Germans drive on winter tyres, the figure drops to 23% in France and only 8% in the UK1. Overall usage of winter tyres in Europe is on the increase, partly because of erratic winter weather in recent years, but also due to new national road- safety regulations. Bridgestone profile analysis shows that family drivers, particularly parents, are the group most likely to change over to winter tyres every year.

But despite well-published information that winter tyres do not perform adequately in warm weather, a surprising number of drivers don’t bother to switch back to summer tyres. Further Bridgestone research shows, for example, that almost 10% of Italian drivers2 stay with winter tyres right through the summer; and this figure rises to 18% in Denmark3

Jake Rønsholt, Managing Director, Consumer Business Unit, Bridgestone Europe comments: “If you’re tempted to keep your winter tyres on through the summer, the advice from Bridgestone is simple: don’t! The fact is, only summer tyres can give you the safety and performance you need in warmer weather.”

Change to summer tyres now
With their special compounds and tread patterns, winter tyres are designed to stay soft and flexible in cold conditions, providing traction and grip in low temperatures on dry, wet and icy surfaces. But as the temperature rises, winter tyres lose this advantage, grip declines and the tread starts to wear faster.

On the other hand, summer tyres use a harder compound which does not become too soft and sticky on hot roads. In higher temperatures, summer tyres provide better all-round performance than winter tyres, particularly in braking and handling, wear resistance, rolling resistance and fuel economy.

Safer on wet and dry
Bridgestone tests show that the performance gap between summer and winter tyres in terms of braking and handling in warmer weather can vary by between 30% and 8% respectively, depending on road conditions and temperature. In wet weather and an ambient temperature of about 30°C, a vehicle fitted with good quality summer tyres has a braking distance up to 30% shorter than a vehicle fitted with winter tyres. In certain conditions, this difference can even equal two times the length of the car!

To see for yourself the difference in performance between summer and winter tyres, have a look at the following videos:
Dry braking –
Wet braking –
Slalom –

Tyre care equally important
Apart from changing to the appropriate tyre for the season, it is also essential to take proper care of your tyres. For your driving safety, particularly handling and braking, the two most important steps are to regularly check your tyre inflation pressure, and tread depth.

Simple guidelines
Bridgestone recommends that you check your tyre inflation pressure once a month. If you’re not sure, you can find the car manufacturer’s recommended pressure levels in the car instruction manual, in the driver’s door frame, on the fuel tank lid, or on the glove box lid. To measure your tread depth, place a 1 euro coin in a main groove; if you can still see the golden circle on the coin, the tread has worn down below the legal minimum of 1.6 mm and it’s high time you put on new tyres. Regrettably, recent European research shows that too many motorists are not taking proper care of their tyres: 76% of motorists do not check their inflation pressure once a month and 54% only check their tread depth once a year, or never4!

In summary, for safe motoring make sure you change back to summer tyres when winter has finally said goodbye – and then regularly check your tyre inflation pressure and tread depth. 

Media information: G. Meylemans: +32 2 714 68 40

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IPSOS survey carried out for Bridgestone in 2014 in 6 countries on an overall sample of 7806 private car owners. 
2 Study carried out by GiPA Italia, July 2015
3 Data from the Danish Tyre Importer Association
4 Profacts 2015: France, Germany and the UK.