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Summer Tires: All You Need to Know

Posted by Priority Tire on May 14th 2022

Summer Tires: All You Need to Know

Summer Tires: All You Need to Know

Posted by Priority Tire on May 14th 2022

Summer tires are some of the best performance models available on the tire market. But, high speed performance is not all they offer. Let's see what this tire category has to offer.

We have previously talked about winter tires and all season tires in detail on the Priority Tire blog. So, the time has come to take a look at what versatile summer tires offer.

So, what makes summer tires so exceptional? Is their popularity deserved? How do they compare to winter and all season tires? These are the questions we will aim to answer today.

What Makes a Summer Tire?

Summer tires have specific rubber compounds and tread patterns to use. As these tires use their road-to-rubber ratio to provide adequate traction in wet and dry conditions, their tread compounds can focus solely on heat resistance.

Summer tire mounted on a sports car

What do we mean by that?

The average driver buys summer tires for their sports cars. A sports car, as its name suggests, is made for high speed performance. These vehicles need tires that are able to withstand the heat generated during the drive. Therefore, summer tires generally use their stronger summer compounds, shallow treads, minimalistic tread patterns, and durable structure to ensure their maximum traction.

Additionally, often summer tires perform at high speeds. This means the summer models are manufactured with higher speed ratings. In other words, they can be found with an H, V, W, and Y speed rating at the tire shop.

A good rule of thumb is to mount summer tires on your vehicle when temperatures reach at least 45°F. Anything below that will cause the rubber to harden, reducing its performing capabilities.

Well, let's take a detailed look at the tire tread, rubber compounds, and construction types used for summer tires.

Tire Tread

Summer tires use their contact with the road to generate traction in warmer weather. Their tread design greatly differs from those of winter and all season tires.

Some summer tire tread pattern designs

First and foremost, summer tires are designed with shallower tread depths. This is due to the way they create traction. When driving on dry or wet roads, the tire's larger road-to-rubber ratio offers the necessary road grip.

Additionally, these tires usually sport circumferential or lateral grooves. The grooves evacuate water from below the footprint, preventing it from cutting off the tire's road contact. This actively resists hydroplaning on wet pavement. Due to summer rain showers, hydroplaning prevention is one of the most important features of summer tires.

Their footprints are molded into an asymmetric or directional pattern, with shallow grooves and large tread blocks or solid ribs. The tread design of summer tires optimizes their handling, braking capabilities, and cornering performance in warm weather conditions. This is especially true for their overall performance in dry conditions.

This is especially crucial when it comes to sports cars and other high performance vehicles. These vehicle types require UHP tires to ensure their driving safety. Therefore, when these vehicles are equipped with summer tires, they rely on the tires' performance and durability.

Rubber Compounds

Apart from their tread patterns, summer tires are distinguishable by their specific rubber compound blends. Unlike winter tires and all season models, summer tires are mainly used during warm seasons.

This means that heat build-up along the tire's footprint is prominent. When heat accumulates during the tire's performance, its traction and handling are sacrificed. To combat this, summer tire manufacturers developed special summer rubber compounds that can actually withstand driving pressures.

Summer tire driven in sunny weather

The tread compound of summer tires needs to handle warmer weather driving conditions, as well as the tire's high speed performance. Generally speaking, summer tires are manufactured as high performance models. In the warm months, this places even more stress on the tire.

Not only do summer tires need to optimize their heat durability in warm temperatures, they also have to withstand the high speed pressure placed on them. To ensure better performance, tire brands design their summer tread compounds to be extra durable.

However, a big issue summer tires face is the length of their usability. While some manufacturers offer a good tread life warranty with their models, most summer tires provide a long-lasting tread life. The heat of summer will accelerate the tread wear.

Construction

More driving pressure is placed on summer tires when they are in use. This is mainly due to their mostly high performance ratings. However, heat build-up is just one part of the problem they need to face.

Summer tires need to be able to handle heat and pressure even during their high speed performance. For this reason, these tires are designed with stiff sidewalls. This internal structure maintains the ideal tire shape under high speed pressure and during the vehicle's handling.

Therefore, the stronger construction and the summer rubber compound work together to ensure safety during the tire's high performance handling, stopping, and cornering in summer weather temperatures. Additionally, the stiff sidewalls can provide better ride comfort, as they help to lower road vibrations.

The only issue with the stronger and stiffer construction is the tires' rolling resistance. If the summer tire is not optimized for fuel economy, they easily heighten the vehicle's fuel consumption levels.

Pros and Cons of Summer Tires

Pros Cons
Wet and dry traction in warm temperatures Shorter tread and service life
Increased responsiveness to steering instructions Higher fuel consumption
High speed performance Not for freezing temperatures
Hydroplaning resistance and stronger wet traction Mostly available in high performance sizes

Summer Tires vs. Winter Tires

The difference between summer and winter tires is easy to spot. Even without taking the rubber compound into account, their tread patterns are significantly varied.

Winter tires use their detailed tread blocks and deeper tread depth to create traction even on packed snow. This is necessary, as ice- and snow-covered roads make winter driving dangerous. Loss of traction equals car accidents if snow tires are mounted on your vehicle.

Summer Tires vs. Winter Tires

So, unlike summer models, winter tires use detailed (sipes, notches, etc.) tread blocks to create traction in cold weather. Snow tires also offer good performance in wet and dry conditions, but their specialty is performance in cold temperatures.

Winter tires use a more durable compound that keeps the tire pliable even in colder conditions. This maintains the rubber's flexibility when temperatures drop below 45°F. Ice and snow traction, and the tire's ability to withstand freezing temperatures, mean the tire is safer to use in winter conditions.

So, how are summer and winter tires alike? Both the winter and summer models have their specific temperature ranges where they can safely perform. Using these tires when the weather is not ideal can cause lasting damage to the tire while ruining the vehicle's drivability.

In other words, using summer tires in the winter is not a good idea and vice versa.

Summer Tires vs. All Season Tires

All season tires are considered to be the best of both worlds. An all season tire is capable to provide traction in dry, wet, and light snow conditions.

Their tread design is also somewhere between summer and winter tires. They feature moderate tread details and utilize a flexible compound to ensure their safer handling. However, the difference is that they are unable to handle extreme temperatures. All season tires will most likely fail in extreme heat or freezing cold driving conditions.

Summer Tires vs. All Season Tires

So, what makes an all season tire difference from a summer model?

While summer tires can only be used above 45°F, the rubber compound used for all season tires can withstand colder conditions as well. On the other hand, they use their tread details to generate traction. An all season tire will feature more biting edges along with its tread design.

All season tires are available in touring and performance categories. These can be identified by their speed rating range, which is between T and W. Steering responsiveness, braking capabilities, and cornering power are all provided.

Most all season tires offer a longer tread life. This is due to the optimized rubber compound and stabilized footprint. This results in slow and even tread wear across the tread area. Due to this, tire manufacturers provide a better tread life warranty for their all season tires.

In other words, summer and all season tires have many similarities, but the performing range of all season tires is wider.

Types of Summer Tires

So, how to select the right tire for your vehicle?

If you have concluded that summer tires are what you need, there are a few performance categories you can choose from.

Namely, they are:

  • Touring
  • Performance
  • High performance

Summer Performance Tires

Summer performance tires are manufactured with V and H speed ratings. This means that their performing range reaches 130 mph and 149 mph respectively. These tires offer effective braking and maneuvering, and moderate high speed handling, apart from their warm-weather usability.

Performance vehicle

Premiorri Solazo S Plus

The Premiorri Solazo S Plus is manufactured with an asymmetric tread pattern, which is molded using a silica-based compound. This, along with the ideal circumferential grooves, the tire is able to conquer wet and dry road surfaces with ease.

Premiorri Solazo S Plus

The tread design's solid center rib offers better road contact throughout the drive. Its solid center rib closely follows the road at all times, upgrading its steering responsiveness and driving stability. The tire uses its ideal shoulder blocks to boost cornering, while the compound and tread work together to shorten its braking distance.

The heat-resistance of the silica compound and the reinforced construction ensure the tire's high speed drive. These warm-season tires avoid heat and pressure accumulation in order to optimize their performing stamina.

Its stronger silica compound and cross-linking tread design offer a longer tread life. They combat premature and irregular wear by ensuring even pressure circulation. This eases the driving pressure off the tire, offering an ideal tread wear rate.

The Premiorri Solazo S Plus is the right choice for passenger vehicles and SUV owners, as the model is available in such a tire size range.

Pros:
  • Stronger high speed performance
  • Excellent dry weather traction
  • Optimally lengthened service life
Cons:
  • Wet weather traction could be better

Summer Touring Tires

Touring tires offer good traction and better driving comfort levels. This is also true for summer touring tires. Their focus is long-distance driving and the tire sizes are available with T, H, and V speed ratings. Touring models are usually manufactured to be all season tires, however, summer tires are also found in this category.

Touring vehicle

Firestone Firehawk Indy 500

The Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 was manufactured for passenger vehicle and SUV use. It was designed with a minimalistic, asymmetric tread design which maintains its connection with the road surface at all times.

Firestone Firehawk Indy 500

This is thanks to the continuous shoulder block detail and stronger internal structure that offer increased responsiveness to steering instructions. Furthermore, they work with the silica-improved L. L. Carbon compound, which keeps the tire temperature even to ensure a secure high speed drive.

Excellent maneuvering is also guaranteed with the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500. The wider shoulder tread area provides a higher number of biting edges, which optimizes cornering in warmer temperatures. Additionally, a special compound blend and ideal tread decrease the model's stopping distance.

The internal structure is strengthened with a high-turnup polyester casing and twin high-tensile steel belts and nylon reinforcement. This combination guarantees the tire's higher speed sturdiness, ensuring the safer driving experience of the vehicle.

This model is strangely enough also available with both summer and all season traction, depending on the tire size. In other words, some sizes are all season tires.

Pros:
  • Exceptional wet and dry road traction
  • Enhanced high speed controllability
  • Increased cornering power
Cons:
  • The tread life length is not the best

Summer High Performance Tires

For true high speed performance, high performance tires are the right choice. These models are manufactured with W and Y speed ratings, which means they are able to withstand pressures up to 168 mph and 186 mph. They focus on high precise handling, driving stamina, and overall maneuvering.

High performance vehicle

Haida HD927

The Haida HD927 has an asymmetric tread pattern and a durable warm-season compound that enhances excellent wet and dry traction. This combination enables its excellent hot temperature drive. They firmly grip the road surface in such weather conditions, while also avoiding hydroplaning in wet situations. Hydroplaning is avoided with the groove placement.

Haida HD927

The stronger internal structure enables the tire to keep its ideal shape under high speed pressure. The tread pattern, heat-resistant compound, and reinforced construction enable a safer driving experience. This also manages to increase its controllability and maneuvering.

The inner sequential rib with the four circumferential grooves generates friction during stopping. This significantly decreases the braking distance of the vehicle. On the other hand, the outer shoulder tread block placement provides extra biting edges, which enhances the cornering ability as well.

Unlike many other UHP tires, the Haida HD927 is also able to offer fuel efficiency. Better dry and wet traction decreases the driving pressure placed on the tire, lowering the rolling resistance. In this manner, the tire minimizes the fuel and energy intake of the vehicle, while minimizing the CO2 emissions. The result is its better fuel economy.

Pros:
  • Stronger warm temperature traction
  • Upgraded fuel efficiency
  • Enhanced high speed handling
Cons:
  • Tread life length is not the best

So, where can you buy summer tires? Check out Priority Tire's tire rack to see the best tires and prices available on the online tire market.

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