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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Wheels and Tires Forum Sponsored by The Tire Rack > Dangerous to run summer tires in the winter on days it's NOT snowing? (Temp/Pliab.)



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      02-10-2006, 01:01 AM   #1
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Dangerous to run summer tires in the winter on days it's NOT snowing? (Temp/Pliab.)

I know the topic of running the 18" performance tires on 162's in the winter during snow has been debated time and time again, and everyone agrees that running the performance tires in the snow pretty much equals instant death. But...

What if you only drive the car on days when it's not snowing, and/or there is no snow on the ground?

On the surface, this may seem like a dumb question - but I've read posts about how summer tires lose traction in the cold weather, even on dry days. I'm curious how this would effect the summer tires on a non-snow, but still cold day. Would winter tires still be required if the car was not driven in the snow? If so, would there be other drawbacks like slower braking because the summer tire cannot perform as well in the cold weather due to the compound?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated...
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      02-10-2006, 01:17 AM   #2
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I can only answer in generalities since I am first researching the specifics of this topic for a forthcoming article but yes, below 13 C they definitely lose traction.

I can attest to this, having recently switched to winter tires. On cold days (say 5-8 C), I could easily tell - even at low speed - that the tires were not happy.

The winter tires, on the other hand, are happiest in the cold.
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      02-10-2006, 02:41 AM   #3
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My Blizzaks love the snow

I wouldnt advise using summer tires in the winter, snow or no snow.
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      02-10-2006, 03:22 AM   #4
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I'd have to agree. I've noticed an improvment snow or no snow since I had the winter tires.

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      02-10-2006, 04:33 AM   #5
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does it wear the summer tires down faster by driving them in the winter?
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      02-10-2006, 04:51 AM   #6
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JSpira that sounds like a great article, I'm looking forward to reading your findings.

I know that in general the compound of the summer tire is not happy and gets stiffer in the very cold to freezing cold weather, regardless of snow.

However, I have been driving my car in nearly freezing temperatures all over the area for the past few months with nary a close call in sight. Of course, I haven't been attempting to test the limits in that kind of weather either, since there could easily be thin layers of ice on the roads around here. I get the snowflake on a regular basis.

I doubt it gets as cold here as it does in CT though so winter tires may be a better investment for you than me. I am trying to avoid them if it is safely and practically possible.
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      02-10-2006, 04:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weiweiwei
does it wear the summer tires down faster by driving them in the winter?
Cant immagine. The compounds get softer with heat and are more prone to wearing off then. So in the winter they should last longer.
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      02-10-2006, 05:00 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Armen52
JSpira that sounds like a great article, I'm looking forward to reading your findings.

I know that in general the compound of the summer tire is not happy and gets stiffer in the very cold to freezing cold weather, regardless of snow.

However, I have been driving my car in nearly freezing temperatures all over the area for the past few months with nary a close call in sight. Of course, I haven't been attempting to test the limits in that kind of weather either, since there could easily be thin layers of ice on the roads around here. I get the snowflake on a regular basis.

I doubt it gets as cold here as it does in CT though so winter tires may be a better investment for you than me. I am trying to avoid them if it is safely and practically possible.

If it stays dry and you dont do anything stupid they do their job. But as soon as water hits the ground, and the ground is near freezing, when you consider the wind chill, you're in trouble. I just wasnt going to rist a $45000 car by not buy a $1500 set of wheels/tires.
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      02-10-2006, 06:33 AM   #9
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Another thing to consider is..

sometimes, you cannot predict weather and when the temperature drops and snow falls suddenly in your destination, you will be in trouble...
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      02-10-2006, 09:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coreslogic
Another thing to consider is..

sometimes, you cannot predict weather and when the temperature drops and snow falls suddenly in your destination, you will be in trouble...

Especially on any long winter trips.
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      02-10-2006, 09:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poldim
If it stays dry and you dont do anything stupid they do their job. But as soon as water hits the ground, and the ground is near freezing, when you consider the wind chill, you're in trouble. I just wasnt going to rist a $45000 car by not buy a $1500 set of wheels/tires.
Friend had summer tires on his E46. Spun the muther on some black ice. Totalled it. Not sure if winter tires would have made a difference, but...summer tires didn't help him any.
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      02-10-2006, 11:16 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roburado
Friend had summer tires on his E46. Spun the muther on some black ice. Totalled it. Not sure if winter tires would have made a difference, but...summer tires didn't help him any.

Exactly. I've heard tons of horror stories like that one. Going from a FWD to a RWD, I'm not taking any chances. I used to put my factory all-seasons on the Integra for the winter and not have any problems.
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      02-10-2006, 04:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poldim
If it stays dry and you dont do anything stupid they do their job. But as soon as water hits the ground, and the ground is near freezing, when you consider the wind chill, you're in trouble. I just wasnt going to rist a $45000 car by not buy a $1500 set of wheels/tires.
wind chill has nothing to do with inanimate objects. here's the deal on wind chill; a person will sense that it's colder because the wind steals body heat by blowing away warm air that surrounds the skin. This means the wind chill factor is not a factor for inanimate objects like rocks, cars and snow – they will all maintain the same temperatures no matter how strongly the winds blow.
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      02-10-2006, 07:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by parafrog
wind chill has nothing to do with inanimate objects. here's the deal on wind chill; a person will sense that it's colder because the wind steals body heat by blowing away warm air that surrounds the skin. This means the wind chill factor is not a factor for inanimate objects like rocks, cars and snow – they will all maintain the same temperatures no matter how strongly the winds blow.
By wind chill I didnt mean the type that one experience when outside but rather the convection heat losses that occur to all objects if a colder air stream flows around the warmer object.
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      02-10-2006, 07:42 PM   #15
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We don't even get that cold, and I can notice a difference in traction from the stock blowtenzas just between 40F and 55F. In the morning these things are like plastic bigwheel tires.

I sure hope they've got some decent grip once summer comes to redeem themselves with; otherwise they're going to get used up fast ... so I can justify to the wife $1300 for new tires.
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