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When to Change from Winter to Summer Tyres

When to Change from Winter to Summer Tyres

The most obvious answer is to use summer tyres during the summer and winter tyres during the winter. However, there’s more to it than simply looking out the window and deciding for yourself that it’s time to change to summer tyres on the first warm day in February.

Every spring, drivers face a similar worry about when to change from winter to summer tyres. Change too soon - or too late - and you risk using the wrong tyres, which can compromise performance and safety.

Using the correct seasonal tyres is important for ensuring that your car performs as well as it can, including optimum handling, braking distances, and fuel consumption.

Winter tyres - what are they and what do they do?

Winter tyres are intended for use during the harsh winter months, having been specifically designed using a soft rubber compound that enables the tyre to grip the cold road. The treads have deep grooves and numerous sipes that allow the tyres to get a strong purchase on ice and snow.

Summer tyres - why are they different?

Summer tyres are tyres designed specifically for warm conditions, so they’re most effective when used during the summer months. They’re made with a much firmer rubber compound than winter tyres, and their narrow treads allow them to grip warmer surfaces, during both wet and dry conditions.

When do you change your winter tyres back to summer tyres?

There’s no complicated science as to when is the ideal time to switch from winter tyres to summer tyres. Winter tyres aren’t exclusively intended for use only during heavy snow or ice, just the same as summer tyres shouldn’t only be used during a heatwave.

Rule of seven

You don’t need to be an expert to know when to change from winter to summer tyres, and there’s a simple trick to remember: the rule of seven.

When the temperature is consistently warmer than seven degrees celsius, usually sometime around March, you should switch from winter to summer tyres. Summer tyres are much harder than winter tyres, and so are much better suited to warm roads. When winter tyres are used on hot roads they can soften up to the point where they become malleable, and as a result will wear quickly, meaning handling and braking will be less efficient.

The hard compound in summer tyres also gives them a much better grip in wet conditions, and so is by far the safest option when driving in spring and summer showers.

When’s the ideal time to change back?

The rule of seven still applies when switching from summer back to winter tyres.

When the temperature consistently drops below seven degrees celsius, you should change to winter tyres and store your summer tyres over the winter period.

Be vigilant

It’s important that you pay close attention to upcoming weather conditions before committing to changing from one seasonal tyre to another. If you’re using winter tyres and it’s predicted that during a two-hour period the temperature will reach 7.1 or 7.2 degrees celsius, it’s still too early to make that change.

When the weather conditions change so that it exceeds seven degrees celsius over a consistent period, then is the time to consider making the switch.

Remember, don’t worry about using summer tyres in wet conditions. As long as the temperature is above seven degrees celsius, summer tyres are the safest tyres to use in the rain, and provide the lowest risk for aquaplaning.

The risks of changing too soon (or too late)

When summer tyres are used on cold roads, the hard rubber can seize up and potentially crack, which will lead to your car failing its MOT.

Summer tyres are also poor when it comes to driving the vehicle in snow and ice. Due to the narrow treads, they can’t grip snow well, so handling will be affected, along with traction and braking. That, in turn, will increase the risk of an accident.

The softer rubber on winter tyres will soften further on warm roads. This can lead to quicker wear and will also affect handling and braking.


The safety aspect of using the appropriate tyres is obvious, but using seasonal tyres can also save you money in the long run.

By using seasonal tyres, you’re reducing the need to replace tyres due to damage and wear. You will also have a much smoother ride with less friction, which will ensure optimum fuel consumption - good for both the environment and your wallet.

What about all-season tyres instead?

All-season tyres are a popular middle-ground alternative that many people use. As an alternative to changing tyres twice each year, all-season tyres used year-round are perfectly safe and shouldn’t be overlooked. They outperform seasonal tyres when they’re used in the wrong season, however when used correctly, seasonal tyres do provide the best handling, braking, and fuel consumption, and have the greatest safety advantages.

Buy tyres online

So, when do you change your winter tyres back to summer tyres? Just remember the rule of seven, and you’ll get the most out of your tyres and your vehicle.

When considering changing tyres, make sure you keep a close eye on what the weatherman has to say and remember the rule of seven. Don’t try to jump the gun and change too soon, but don’t be overly cautious and change too late. If you’re looking to change from summer to winter tyres, or vice versa, and would like more information contact us today. 

You can also use our simple tool to buy tyres online, including summer, winter and all-season tyres.

Customer services: 01908 222208 [email protected] Calls are recorded for training purposes


Ratings from A-G
A = Best Fuel Economy

WET GRIP wet grip

Ratings from A-G
A = Best wet weather

NOISE LEVEL noise level

The lower the decibel,
the quieter the tyre