Summer, Winter & All-Season Tyres – Which Should You Choose?


All-season or winter tyres

Searching for a new set of tyres is a personal process, and multiple factors can impact your decision – the weather being a key consideration. In the UK, there are 3 types of seasonal tyre. In this article, we explain the benefits of and differences between summer, winter, and all-season tyres, so that you can decide which option is best for you.


Summer tyres

What are summer tyres?

Summer tyres tend to be the default option for UK vehicles. Our relatively mild winters mean these hard-wearing wheels are the most suitable year-round choice. They’re generally firm and grip roads well in rain or dry conditions, but that’s not to say summer tyres are always appropriate. For instance, once temperatures drop below 7-degrees, performance wanes, and the tyres become less effective and even risk becoming frozen or damaged, which could pose a danger.

The benefits of summer tyres:

  • A firm tread compound that offers precise grip on both dry and wet surfaces.
  • Shorter braking distances in mild, warm, or hot temperatures.
  • Lower rolling resistance (energy a tyre uses over a certain distance), resulting in less energy consumed. That means you won’t spend as much on fuel.
  • A rigid construction that makes them durable. Summer tyres tend to offer higher mileage than winter or all-season equivalents.

Winter tyres

What are winter tyres?

Winter tyres are adapted for colder weather conditions. Traditional summer tyres lack the unique construction needed to bite into frosty surfaces and channel away slush when temperatures drop. On the other hand, winter tyres have large shoulder blocks and wider circumferential grooves that reduce the risk of aquaplaning. They are also made from a rubber compound that if less likely to freeze even in icy conditions. That’s why many people swap their tyres when the temperature plummets below 7c.

The benefits of winter tyres:

  • A softer tread compound that remains flexible in freezing temperatures, maintaining grip and precision.
  • Effective clearing of slush and ice through lateral grooves.
  • Wider circumferential grooves and heavy shoulder blocks produce short braking distances in icy conditions.

All-season tyres

What are all-season tyres?

All-season tyres offer the best of both worlds. They don’t provide the same precision as summer tyres in dry conditions, nor do they corner quite like winter tyres during the colder months, but they do offer year-round consistency. Engineered with a soft compound and unique tread pattern, all-season tyres outperform summer models when temperatures drop below 7c, meaning you won’t need to swap them out.

The benefits of winter tyres:

  • A softer tread compound that remains flexible in freezing temperatures, maintaining grip and precision.
  • Effective clearing of slush and ice through lateral grooves.
  • Wider circumferential grooves and heavy shoulder blocks produce short braking distances in icy conditions.

Further help and advice for your tyres

How do I choose the right winter tyres?

That depends on what you’re looking for because winter tyres are designed to achieve different results. What’s more, they’re available in various sizes, brands, and price points. If you need help deciding, look at our winter tyres guide.

What is aquaplaning?

Aquaplaning is when water forms a wedge between your tyres and the surface of the road. It’s hazardous because it affects your ability to steer and often spins the car out of control. However, modern tyres reduce the risk of aquaplaning by using deep tread grooves to evacuate water quickly. Nonetheless, it’s still a driving danger you should be mindful of.

Can I make my tyres last longer?

In short, yes! Being a careful driver should help, as will gradually braking and accelerating. You can also make your tyres last longer by swapping your summer and winter wheels at the right time.

Need help choosing your tyres?

With 10,000+ tyre options in stock, you’re already in the right place. Now simply filter your search by price, budget, size, and specification to find your perfect fit. You can also find more information about the advantages and disadvantages of particular wheels by reading our guide on choosing the best tyres for your vehicle.

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Commonly asked questions

Again, nothing stops you from using winter tyres during the summer; there is no legal requirement, it’s just not advised. That’s because the softer compound on winter tyres wears much more quickly in warm weather, cutting into your tyre’s lifespan. That means higher costs in the long run.

Again, nothing stops you from using winter tyres during the summer; there is no legal requirement, it’s just not advised. That’s because the softer compound on winter tyres wears much more quickly in warm weather, cutting into your tyre’s lifespan. That means higher costs in the long run.

That depends on the climate. Winter tyres are suited to temperatures of around 7c and below—so, if that reflects where you live, winter tyres are appropriate. Otherwise, you’ll want to swap them for a set of summer tyres when the weather warms up. On the other hand, if you’re determined to avoid switching, why not try all-season tyres?

Once you see weather consistently below 7c, it’s time to swap your tyres.

Whether you choose summer or winter tyres depends on your location and the current season. Countries and regions that experience much colder winters are more likely to use winter tyres for most of the year, and areas with mild or warmer weather are more likely to drive on summer tyres. If you only want to buy one set of tyres, all-season tyres could be the best choice for you. They offer the features of both winter and summer tyres – but beware, this also brings a compromise and means they won’t perform as well in extreme conditions.