It’s been snowing in many regions of the world over the last few days. From Eastern Europe to South Dakota, winter is slowly coming, which means one thing for gearheads - we need to get our cars prepared for the season. In this transitional period where temperatures go up and down all the time, we’ve heard many people ask the same question - at what temperature the summer tires are no longer optimal for the road? With the video at the top of this page, we might finally have a proper answer.
Tyre Reviews on YouTube had the chance to visit the Test World in Northern Finland, where the team produced this 12-minute clip. The channel is trying to find an answer to the same question: what is the actual crossover point for summer, all-season, and winter tires. In general, the industry uses the so-called seven-degree rule, which refers to 7 degrees Celsius or approximately 44.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Is that a good crossover point where winter tires begin to outperform summer tires in traction? Let’s find out.
The test includes braking with summer, CrossClimate, all-season, winter, and nordic winter tires in dry and wet conditions at 0, 2, 6, 10, and 15 degrees Celsius, or 32, 35.6, 42.8, 50, and 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The performance of all tires is also tested on snow with a standard Volkswagen Golf 7 riding on 205/55 R16 tires.
Let’s take a look at the coldest temperature in the test at a wet surface - 2 degrees C/32 degrees F is something you often get in the rainy mornings during the late fall and early winter days so we consider it very important overall. At this point, surprised or not, summer tires perform significantly worse than winter tires with the gap in the 50 to 0 mph (80 to 0 kph) test being more than 16.4 feet (5 meters).
Check out the video above for more comparisons and a final conclusion.