Summer tires are not just one of the best performing tire models on the market, they are also highly versatile. While they excel in high-speed performance, their capabilities extend beyond just that.
In fact, summer tires are designed to provide exceptional traction and handling in wet and dry conditions alike, making them ideal for warm weather driving. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the benefits of summer tires, why they’re so popular, and how they compare to other tire types.
Unraveling the Mystery: What Makes a Summer Tire So Exceptional?
Summer tires are specifically designed to provide optimal performance in warm weather conditions. They achieve this with specialized rubber compounds and tread patterns that prioritize heat resistance over all else. This is because the road-to-rubber ratio of these tires allows for adequate traction in both wet and dry conditions, freeing up the tread compounds to focus solely on resisting heat.
While many drivers choose summer tires for their sports cars’ high-speed performance capabilities, the benefits of these tires extend beyond just speed. They also offer a shallower tread, minimalistic tread pattern, and durable structure to ensure maximum traction and handling on hot pavement.
Moreover, summer tires typically come with higher speed ratings, including H, V, W, and Y ratings. This allows them to perform at top speeds, further enhancing their appeal for performance-oriented drivers.
It’s important to note that summer tires are best used in temperatures of at least 45°F to ensure optimal performance. Anything lower than that and the rubber will harden, compromising the tire’s ability to perform.
Exploring Tread, Rubber Compounds, and Construction Types
- Tire Tread – Unlike winter and all-season tires, summer tires are designed to generate traction in warm weather using their contact with the road. Their unique tread design features shallower tread depths and larger road-to-rubber ratios, allowing for greater road grip on dry or wet surfaces.
In addition, summer tires typically have circumferential or lateral grooves that help evacuate water from beneath the tire’s footprint, preventing hydroplaning and ensuring optimal safety in rainy conditions. The footprints of these tires are molded into an asymmetric or directional pattern, with shallow grooves and large tread blocks or solid ribs, optimizing their handling, braking capabilities, and cornering performance in warm weather conditions.
This is especially important for sports cars and other high-performance vehicles that require UHP (ultra-high performance) tires to ensure driving safety. When equipped with summer tires, these vehicles rely on the tires’ performance and durability for optimal handling and speed.
- Rubber Compound – Summer tires use specific rubber compound blends that are optimized for warm weather driving conditions. These blends are designed to maximize traction and provide better handling, cornering, and braking capabilities on dry and wet roads.
The rubber used in summer tires is typically softer and more flexible than that used in all-season or winter tires, allowing the tire to conform to the road surface for improved grip. However, because of the softer rubber compound, summer tires are not recommended for use in colder temperatures, as the rubber can harden and reduce the tire’s performance.
Manufacturers often use advanced technology to create these rubber blends, such as silica-enhanced compounds or carbon black, to improve traction and reduce rolling resistance, which helps improve fuel efficiency. The specific blend of rubber compounds used in summer tires can vary by manufacturer and tire model, with each blend tailored to specific performance goals and driving conditions.
- Structure – Summer tires face the challenge of handling heat and pressure during their high-speed performance, which puts more driving pressure on them due to their high-performance ratings.
To ensure safety, summer tires are designed with stiff sidewalls that maintain the tire’s ideal shape under high-speed pressure and during the vehicle’s handling. This internal structure, combined with the summer rubber compound, ensures safe handling, stopping, and cornering in summer temperatures.
However, the stronger construction and stiff sidewalls can increase rolling resistance and impact fuel economy, making it important to choose summer tires optimized for fuel efficiency. On the other hand, the stiff sidewalls can provide better ride comfort by reducing road vibrations.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Summer Tires
Summer tires have a few advantages and disadvantages to consider. On the positive side, they offer excellent traction on wet and dry roads in warm weather and provide increased responsiveness to steering inputs. They also perform well at high speeds and are resistant to hydroplaning.
However, summer tires have a shorter tread and service life compared to all-season or winter tires. They also tend to increase fuel consumption due to their stiffer construction. Additionally, they are not recommended for use in freezing temperatures as they do not offer good traction on ice and snow. Finally, summer tires are mostly available in high-performance sizes and may not be suitable for all types of vehicles.
If you’re looking to purchase summer tires, give MTSExpress a call or visit our website at MTSXpress.com, we will be happy to answer any questions and help you find the best prices for all your tire needs.