When to Put on Summer Tires: Climate and US Date Considerations

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As a car owner, you may wonder when the right time is to switch to summer tires. There are a few factors to consider, such as temperature and regional climate differences.

Knowing when to put on summer tires will ensure optimal performance and safety while driving in warmer weather.

One crucial factor to consider is the temperature. Summer tires perform best in temperatures above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, as their performance decreases below this threshold, and they can become dangerous in freezing temperatures.

In general, when the temperatures consistently stay above 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), it is time to switch to summer tires.

Keep in mind that climate can vary greatly across the United States, so the ideal time to change tires may differ depending on your location.

In regions with milder winters and early springs, you might be able to make the switch to summer tires sooner than in colder areas. Pay attention to local weather patterns and temperature trends to determine the best time to put on your summer tires.

Understanding Summer Tires

Summer tires are specifically designed for optimal performance in warm weather conditions. Their tread pattern and rubber compound provide better grip and handling on dry and wet roads, ensuring a safe and comfortable driving experience.

The rubber used in summer tires is designed to retain its shape and flexibility in warmer temperatures. This helps maintain proper contact with the road, offering improved traction and handling.

In contrast, all-season tires are made with a rubber compound that remains flexible in a wider range of temperatures, from just above freezing to hot summer days.

It’s important to note that summer tires are not suitable for use in cold or snowy conditions, as their performance decreases significantly at temperatures below 7°C (45°F).

This is because the rubber compound in summer tires becomes less flexible and less able to conform to the road surface in colder temperatures, leading to reduced grip and potentially unsafe driving conditions.

When considering summer tires, keep in mind that their primary focus is on performance, rather than comfort or longevity. Summer tire tread life, though improved in recent years, can still be shorter than that of all-season tires, with some lasting for at least 20,000 miles.

Key Factors to Consider Before Switching

Climate and Temperature

When deciding to switch to summer tires, it’s essential to consider the climate and temperature of your area.

Summer tires are designed to provide optimal grip and handling on both wet and dry roads at temperatures above 7 °C (46 °F).

As the weather begins to warm up, keep an eye on the temperature to determine the best time to change to summer tires.

Planned Road Conditions

The type of road conditions you anticipate driving on should also be considered when determining the right time to switch to summer tires.

If your area rarely experiences snow or ice, you can potentially change to summer tires earlier than those living in areas prone to harsh winter conditions.

On the other hand, if you’re planning a trip where you might encounter snow or ice, it could be wise to delay the switch until you return.

Driving Habits

Your driving habits play a crucial role in determining the best time to put on summer tires. If you tend to drive long distances or at high speeds, you’ll need summer tires to handle wet and dry conditions at various temperatures.

In contrast, if you mostly drive short distances within town or city limits, you might not need to change to summer tires as early.

In summary, consider the following factors when deciding to switch to summer tires:

  • Climate and temperature in your area
  • Anticipated road conditions
  • Your driving habits

By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision about when to put on your summer tires for a safe and comfortable driving experience.

General Timeline for Switching to Summer Tires

As explained earlier, when considering the best time to switch to summer tires, it’s crucial to pay attention to the climate in your region and the consistent temperatures.

Generally, it’s advisable to switch out your winter tires when your area experiences a steady temperature of around 5-7 degrees Celsius (41-44 degrees Fahrenheit). Your summer tires will deliver optimal grip and handling on both wet and dry roads during the warmer months.

In terms of specific dates, summer tires are often recommended for use from Easter to October. However, it is more important to focus on the temperature rather than specific months or dates, as climate conditions can vary greatly depending on your location.

As a simple guideline, consistently warmer temperatures are a good signal that it’s time to think about booking an appointment to have your tires changed over.

Switching to summer tires at the right time can also extend the life of your winter tires, as using them in warmer temperatures can result in increased wear. Keep in mind that in some regions, there may be restrictions on the use of studded winter tires from October 1st to mid-November, depending on local regulations.

When you’re ready to switch to summer tires, be aware that costs for mounting and balancing all four tires can range from $60 to $150. It’s a good idea to call ahead to get a quote before visiting the service center to ensure no surprises when it comes to pricing.

Regional Recommendations for US Drivers


In the Northeast, where you experience cold winters and significant snowfall, it is essential to change to summer tires when temperatures consistently remain above 7°C (44°F).

This can typically occur between late April and early May. At this point, your winter tires will start to wear out much faster and summer tires will provide better grip on wet and dry roads.


Drivers in the Southeast can usually switch to summer tires earlier, as temperatures generally stay warmer throughout the year.

You may start making the switch as early as March or April, ensuring that you’ll benefit from the improved handling and traction provided by summer tires.


In the Midwest, the transition to summer tires can be more unpredictable due to varying climate conditions.

Once temperatures stay consistently above 7°C (44°F), you can safely change to summer tires. Be prepared for this change to happen anywhere between mid-April and early May.


For those of you in the Southwest, where temperatures are generally warmer and winters are mild, putting on summer tires can become a priority as early as February or March.

Remember that summer tires are not suitable for driving on icy or snow-covered roads.

West Coast

Drivers on the West Coast, particularly in urban areas with warm climates that receive some rain, may switch to summer tires as early as March.

These tires are better at preventing hydroplaning at highway speeds and provide improved grip compared to all-season tires.


Now that you have a better understanding of summer tires and when to switch, it’s time to evaluate your specific situation.

Take into consideration your region’s climate, including the average daily temperature and weather patterns. Remember, it’s a good idea to install summer tires when temperatures consistently stay above 7 °C.

While switching tires, use this opportunity to inspect and maintain other aspects of your vehicle. Check the chassis, suspension, bearings, hubs, brakes, and shocks for damage, rust, looseness, or leaks, as it is more cost-effective to address these issues while your tires are already off.

Bear in mind the costs of mounting and balancing all four tires, which range from $60 to $150. This investment helps ensure the safety and longevity of both your summer and winter tires.

With proper planning and a solid understanding of the implications of switching to summer tires, you’ll be well-prepared to make a decision that benefits both your vehicle’s performance and your driving experience.