Do You Need Winter Tires If There's No Snow On The Ground?


Why change tires if it's just cold outside?

If you drive a rear-wheel-drive sports car or muscle car, chances are the manufacturer will recommend switching from summer to all-season or winter tires during the cold months of the year. While most of the US does receive its fair share of cooler weather, not every region actually receives lots of snow and ice. Sure, there might be the once a year snow storm, but does that justify spending the extra money on a set of winter tires that’ll be needed for only a few days?

Jason Fenske of Engineering Explained figured it was time to answer the question once and for all: Do you need winter tires without snow and ice on the ground? Fenske uses his own Honda S2000 as the test vehicle.

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Remember, summer tires have what’s called a glass transition temperature of around 40-45 degrees F. Anything below that temperature range and the tires will become hard and brittle and, therefore, less effective in stopping. But when Fenske makes his 65-0 mph stoppage runs in both winter and summer tires (over a span of two days) on dry roads in near identical weather and wind conditions, it becomes clear that summer tires in cold but dry weather won’t necessarily be the cause of a premature death.