Could you really save money by swapping to summer tyres?

Image by <a href="">Sabine</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>

Here at BK Tyres, we’ve long offered a seasonal tyre refitting service competitive price – you can see the details here.

No wonder, then, that two tyre-related tabloid headlines caught our eye over recent days:

Both articles are reporting on advice from Dan Jones over at, which were also reported on GB News.

According to these articles, swapping over the tyres can save money in three ways.

Now, we’ve always recommended seasonal swapovers for keen drivers who want the maximum in performance and safety, but could it really save drivers money too? Let’s take a closer look.

Claim One: changing to summer tyres will give better fuel economy

If only there was one tyre that was super-cheap and quiet and had fabulous grip in all conditions and offered unbelievable fuel economy (and so on)!

With current technology, that won’t happen. Tyres are always a compromise between competing demands. The best manufacturers can do is to make different tyres to prioritise different users or types of use.

Summer and winter tyres are a great example of this. Winter tyres are optimised for driving in nastier conditions. They’re engineered to offer a lot of friction with the road surface  – exactly what you need for stopping in wet or snowy conditions.

However, in the summer, you have grip to spare, and all that increased ‘rolling resistance’ starts to be a liability. The engine has to work harder to overcome it, resulting in higher fuel bills.

So, yes, this claim is true – other factors being equal, summer tyres will give better fuel economy in summer.

However, both articles claim that swapping to summer tyres could save £10 a month in fuel.  Obviously, this is based on drivers doing a certain number of miles per month – we’ve no idea how many or whether the figure is realistic.

Claim 2: Changing to summer tyres will make them wear more slowly

The Express article claims that in summer conditions, summer tyres will wear more slowly, and therefore won’t need to be replaced more frequently.

However, their explanation doesn’t make much sense:

Manufacturers design summer tyres with a softer rubber compound

GB News offers the correct explanation for this:

Warmer tarmac puts more strain on the softer [winter] tyres causing them to wear down below the 1.6mm legal minimum limit quicker.

How much faster do winter tyres wear in summer? That depends on who you ask. According to

Our best guess is that winter tires will wear 25% faster when used in the summer.

However, hop over to Michelin, and they have this to say:

Contrary to popular belief, for the majority of brands, winter tyres used in winter conditions do not wear out faster than summer tyres used during the summer months. Thanks to advanced technologies, Michelin’s high performance winter tyres are guaranteed to last almost as long as their summer tyres [our bold text].

Our best guess is that swapping over to summer tyres  might extend your tyres’ life a bit, but don’t bank on it being huge.

3. Changing to summer tyres could save you from a £10,000 fine

Both GB News and The Sun use this in their headline. The implication is that if you don’t swap to summer tyres, you could end up with a £10,000 fine.

However, the actual quote from expert Dan Jones is this:

With nearly 5,000 collisions on the UK’s roads over the past decade as a result of illegal, defective, or under inflated tyres, it’s a serious offence for which you could receive three points on your licence and a fine of up to £2,500 per tyre, which could increase to a fine of £10,000 and 12 penalty points for a vehicle with four illegal tyres.

As Dan correctly states, drivers risk getting a fine if their tyres are underinflated, illegal (e.g. below the minimum tread depth) or defective. These are nothing to do with whether the tyre is a summer or winter tyre, and there’s no UK law that compels you to swap tyres over according to the season.

The only possible circumstance in which not swapping cost you £10,000 is if your winter tyres had worn so quickly in the summer that you hadn’t noticed – but that still comes down to vigilance.

Well, we guess the headlines worked (we clicked on them!), but they’re not really true, are they?

The real value of seasonal tyre changeovers.

OK, so swapping over to summer tyres may well save you some on fuel, might give you a few more miles longevity, but definitely won’t save you from a £10,000 fine. And those financial benefits have to be balanced against the costs of two sets of tyres and for your fitting service, if you use one.

For keen drivers who burn a lot of rubber, or long distance drivers, we can definitely see there could be some cost savings – outside of these cases, we’re not so sure.

However, there are other great reasons for seasonal changeovers:

  • The first is safety. In warmer, drier conditions, summer tyres perform so much better. According to Dan Jones, using winter tyres in summer can add up to 7.5m onto stopping distance (we don’t know at what speed).
  • Secondly, there’s how the car performs when it’s accelerating, braking and cornering. Using the season-appropriate tyre can transform your driving experience – especially if you love getting the most out of your car.

Therefore, if your only use of the car is a slow pootle around town, seasonal swapovers probably aren’t for you.

On the other hand, if you love driving the twisties in something a bit nippy, it’s definitely something to consider. And if you’re in the South Oxfordshire, we make it easy for you!

The BK Tyres blog carries news, views and information on tyres and related subjects. BK Tyres supplies and fits tyres throughout South Oxfordshire, including the communities of Abingdon, Didcot and Henley on Thames. As an independent, family run mobile provider, we provide exceptional levels of service and affordable prices. Contact us today.