Switch to summer tyres and stop shorter, says Bridgestone
Summer is just around the corner, but some motorists in the UK and Europe who changed over to winter tyres last autumn haven’t yet changed back. Bridgestone has issued a reminder that its time to swap to summer tyres, and gives a couple of good reasons why drivers should do this sooner rather than later.
The tyre maker observes that when the weather is warmer, summer tyres are “by far the best choice” for ensuring maximum fuel economy, tyre life, all round performance and, most importantly, safety. The softer compounds and heavily-siped tread patterns found on winter tyres are designed with cold weather conditions in mind and their suitability decreases as the mercury rises; Bridgestone says the findings of its own internal testing show that, depending on road conditions and temperature, the gap in braking and handling performance between winter and summer tyres can very between 30 per cent and eight per cent respectively. At an ambient temperature of approximately 30°C, a vehicle fitted with good quality summer tyres will in some cases have a wet weather braking distance up to 30 per cent shorter than a vehicle fitted with winter tyres. Bridgestone says that in certain conditions this difference can equal two car lengths.
However, as Jake Rønsholt, director Corporate and Brand Communications at Bridgestone Europe points out, safety is not the only issue worth considering: “As temperatures increase, winter tyres also have a higher rolling resistance than summer tyres, which means they will generally be noisier, consume more fuel and produce more carbon emissions than their summer counterparts. Winter tyres also tend to wear out faster in warmer conditions. Of course, the opposite is true in winter when the stiffer compounds of summer tyres make them prone to more rapid wear.”
The solution Bridgestone recommends as the safest and most economical is to maintain two sets of tyres – one for winter and one for summer – and to change over at the appropriate time. The tyre maker claims its research has repeatedly demonstrated that using both summer and winter tyres under the right conditions will significantly extend the life of both sets of tyres, easily offsetting the initial investment and resulting in a lower total cost of ownership and greater safety for drivers, passengers and other road users.