What Happens If You Drive On Snow Tires Year-Round?

Snow tires are a great way to keep you and your vehicle safe in the winter on icy roads. But can you use them year-round? Should they be taken off your vehicle during the summer? The short answer is yes, but let’s take a look at why it’s a good idea to change out snow tires in the summer.

Driving on snow tires year-round will shorten their lifespan

A snow tire print in the snow.
Snow tire print | Getty Images

There are many factors that can affect the performance and lifespan of snow tires. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around 11,000 accidents occur annually because of bad tires. So it pays to keep the rubber on your car in good working order to avoid accidents.

What are the different types of snow tires to keep you safe on the road? There are two styles, studless and studded. Both accomplish the same task, keeping your tires in contact with the road. Snow tires are made of very flexible rubber. This allows the tire to conform easily to different cold-weather road conditions.

However, that feature also makes them a bad idea to use in the summer. In the summer, the heat from the roads will cause the tires to wear down faster due to their flexible nature. 

Using snow tires in the summer can be hazardous

The same feature that will allow tires to grip the roads in the winter can create hazardous conditions in hot weather. Winter tires don’t perform well in hot temperatures. While their flexibility in the winter is an asset, that flexibility can decrease handling in the summer, and your car won’t perform as well. 

Winter tires are made from special compounds that make them pliable and flexible in winter. The tread depth and pattern matter as well. An appropriate tread will help in the winter. However, the tread need not be as deep in the summer or may require a different pattern for better handling.

How long do snow tires last?

Snow tires should last four seasons when used properly. However, if they are used all year long and are not rated all season, this will shorten the lifespan considerably. This can also vary by what climate you are in. For example, a Michigan snow tire will see considerably more use than a Virginia snow tire. 

Another factor that can affect how long the tires will last is the brand. Some brands are just engineered to last longer than others. The lifespan can also be affected by how much driving individual drivers actually do. 

In addition, how and where the tires are stored can affect how long they last as well. If the tire is left in the elements, the tires may become dangerous. Sun, moisture, and heat can have detrimental effects on rubber. So it’s a good idea to store them somewhere protected from the elements, such as a garage. 

Tires on a car are like the shoes you put on your feet. You will want to choose a shoe that is suitable for the terrain you will be in. You wouldn’t wear hiking boots to the beach; you would wear sandals. And you wouldn’t want to wear high heels to go for a run. 

The same is true for your car. For your car to perform optimally, it just needs to wear the right pair of shoes. Cinderella said it best, the right pair of shoes can change your life. Or in this case, the right set of wheels can help your car live its best life.

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