The Ultimate Summer Tires Buying Guide

Guide To Buying Summer Tires

We all know how weather conditions change throughout the year here in Canada. The changing seasons bring different conditions with them and it is necessary to have the right tires for every season as a part of being a responsible driver. Summer brings warmth and dry roads. In such conditions, summer tires offer the best control and performance. If you are looking for summer tires for your vehicle, then this comprehensive summer tire buying guide will provide you with in-depth knowledge so you can choose the best tire to meet your requirements.

In this article:

What Are Summer Tires?

Summer tires are also known as performance tires because they are designed for high-performance vehicles, speed and are best suited for dry roads. They are made to offer agility and quick responsiveness at corners. Summer tires feature optimized tread patterns and compounds to allow for maximum road grip, which is very essential while driving at high speeds. The dedicated tread compounds on summer tires are engineered to be flexible for better traction and stability.

Why Should You Buy Summer Tires?

Canada witnesses different seasons throughout the year, including summers when the conditions are usually dry with warmth and often accompanied by rains. You should buy summer tires for such weather conditions as they offer impeccable performance on both dry and wet roads. The tread designs on summer tires are engineered to prevent hydroplaning at high speeds compared to all-season tires. This results in a quicker response to brakes and steering, which improves the safety and handling of the vehicle. You should definitely buy summer tires if you drive a high-performance vehicle and are looking for excellent responsiveness, cornering, and better braking capabilities. 

What Are The Types Of Summer Tires?

Summer tires can be classified based on their application. Some of the various summer tires available in the market are as follows:

A. Grand Touring Summer Tires

Grand Touring Summer tires are engineered to offer good dry and wet traction and a comfortable ride. They offer better handling and high-speed capabilities compared to standard touring tires. However, they are not recommended for winter conditions.

B. Highway Rib Summer

Highway Rib Summer tires feature rib-type tread patterns designed specifically for your heavy-duty vehicles like trucks, pickups, sport utility vehicles, or motorhomes. They run smoothly and offer even wear, low noise, and good traction on wet and dry roads.

C. Extreme Performance Summer Tires

Extreme performance summer tires are specifically designed for extreme dry grip and do not deliver comfort, wet traction, and have a less tread life. These tires are specifically designed with big block tread patterns with aggressive compounds and reinforced construction to offer high-speed capabilities for serious driving.

D. Max Performance Summer Tires

Max Performance Summer tires deliver good traction in wet and dry conditions and reasonable tread wear. They are not meant for winter conditions.

E. Ultra-High-Performance Summer Tires

Designed for nimble handling in wet and dry conditions with a reasonably comfortable ride and tread life. They are not meant for snow or ice as these low-profile tires are designed to provide a crisp steering response only in wet and dry conditions.

F. High-Performance Summer Tires

High-performance summer tires are engineered to offer a mix of good handling in wet and dry conditions. They are not intended for snow or ice. Also, they have acceptable tread wear.

G. Street/Sport Truck Summer Tires

Designed with a wide, low profile and a large diameter they enhance the vehicle's looks and perform great in dry and wet conditions. Street/Sport Truck summer tires are not designed for winters.

What Factors Should I Consider When Buying Summer Tires?

Some important factors need to be considered before purchasing the correct summer tire for your vehicle.

Tread Pattern

Summer tires have specialized tread patterns that allow maximum contact of the rubber with the road to increase traction and handling. Fewer grooves and shallow tread depth are the first signals of identifying a good summer tire. Different tread patterns and designs incorporate specific features for optimum performance in changing weather conditions.

  • Directional Tread Pattern- Directional tires are designed to roll only in one direction and often feature lateral grooves pointing towards the center of the tire forming a V-shape. These tread patterns help in removing water and avoiding hydroplaning during wet roads. This tread pattern also helps in dissipating heat, offering superb dry performance.
  • Symmetrical Tread Pattern - Symmetrical treads are very common and feature continuous tread blocks across the entire face that make a wavy design. They wear out evenly and offer a smooth and quiet ride. They can be rotated in a number of ways because the tread pattern is the same across the whole tire. A great choice for people looking for an economic and long-lasting tire.
  • Asymmetrical Tread Pattern- Asymmetrical tread patterns offer equally strong dry and wet performance. They are provided with 'inside' and 'outside' markings on the sidewall for correct mounting. Asymmetrical tires offer a strong cornering grip and better heat dissipation. Large lateral (side to side) grooves at the outside offer strong hydroplaning resistance and perform great in wet and slushy conditions that one may encounter in Canada.


Choosing the right tire size ensures a perfect fit and matches the specifications of your vehicle. You can refer to your owner's manual for further details on the correct tire size or use our tire size calculation guide to ensure the perfect tire size and ease off the confusion.

Speed Index

The speed index indicates the maximum speed a tire can sustain and perform perfectly. The speed ratings are denoted by letters on the sidewall of the tires. Tires with T, H, S, and Z ratings can sustain speeds up to 190, 210, 180, and 240 kmph respectively. Depending on the vehicle you have and the recommended speed rating tire in the manual, you can choose the tire according to your requirements. The tire speed index determines the maximum speed and the load the tires can carry for a sustained amount of time. Summer tires with higher speed ratings offer better handling and stopping power at higher speeds but they have a shorter tread life and low performance in cold conditions. Each type of tire has its own benefits and its tradeoffs, therefore choosing the correct one is important to meet your requirements. If you are a spirited driver and own a high-performance car you can go for V, W, or Y-rated tires. Light truck drivers should look for N, P, Q, T, or H, and commuters or family car owners should look for S or T tires.

Wet Traction

Choosing a summer tire with enhanced traction and performance for wet driving conditions is very important if you live in a place that receives a lot of rain. These tires are able to provide better traction, and hence better safety on wet roads compared to all-season tires. Summer tires with good wet traction are offered with advanced tread designs that allow the water to escape and avoid hydroplaning. This results in better grip, handling, and braking while driving on wet roads or rains. Check the features and manufacturer's description for wet performance before choosing a summer tire for your vehicle. For a detailed description of all the factors that are important while purchasing different types of tires, see our ultimate tire buying guide.


Summer tires come in different types depending on the tread design and performance. Touring summer tires are perfect for high-speed driving and long trips. Highway rib summer tires feature rib-type treads and are suitable for truck and pickup vehicles. Extreme performance summer tires offer excellent dry grip but have a less tread life. They are best suitable for people in racing and track driving. If you are looking for a low-profile and large-diameter summer tire for your SUV, then the Street/Sport tire is perfect for your vehicle. High-performance summer tires are best if you are looking for increased traction and grip under both dry and wet conditions but without extremely low tire life and so are suitable for everyday commuters with a performance or sports vehicle. The advanced tread pattern and soft rubber used in high-performance tires avoid hydroplaning and provide maximum grip.

What Are The Advantages Of Summer Tires?

  • Improved Performance

All-season tires can be used across all seasons and are convenient, but for better performance and feel, it is better to have a summer tire during the warm season. A summer tire will offer better handling and traction during dry and wet conditions compared to all-season tires.

  • Safety

Summer tires come with a specialized tread pattern that improves the handling and traction of the vehicle while driving on the road. The shallow tread pattern on summer tires allows for a greater contact patch with the road to increase the grip and improve vehicle stability at high speeds. Furthermore, summer tires maintain grip as the temperature increases and the roads become dry. They resist heat under warm conditions and maintain the optimum grip, improving the stopping distance and avoiding a collision. Besides their excellent performance on dry roads, summer tires also perform well in wet conditions because the specially designed treads help to reduce the risk of hydroplaning and maintain proper wet traction while driving in rain and on wet roads. These features ensure that the vehicle handles and brakes properly under varying conditions, therefore ensuring the safety of the driver and the vehicle.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Summer Tires?

  • Shorter Lifespan

Summer tires have comparatively low mileage and typically last somewhere between 50,000 km to 60,000 km. This can also come down if you drive aggressively or have a performance car. This leads to frequent tire replacements compared to all-season tires and increases the maintenance costs in the long run.

  • Poor Performance in Cold Weather conditions

Another downside of choosing summer tires is their poor performance in cold weather and aren't suitable for icy or snowy conditions. As the temperature falls below 7 degrees Celsius (40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit) they have to be replaced with winter tires. Summer tires lose their flexibility and become rigid during winters which can lead to cracking and thereby ruin your tires.

Summer Tire Vs Other Tire Types

You must have heard of all-season tires and you might be wondering how different they are from summer tires. As the name indicates, all-season tires are designed for different weather conditions and have different handling and performance characteristics. A major difference between the two types is the tread depth. All-season tires come with a deeper tread depth and last longer compared to summer tires. Furthermore, they are not as responsive as the summer tires but are very adaptive and unlike summer tires they can be used during winters too. All-season tires offer a decent performance during winters but are not as good as winter tires that are dedicated to harsh snowy conditions. Check out our winter tire guide if you are looking to replace your summer tires with winter ones.

Summer tires have a sticky tread compound that provides optimum grip and avoids hydroplaning during heavy rains whereas all-season tires are moderately good on wet surfaces. Designed for spirited drivers and sports car owners, summer tires offer improved braking and cornering. All-season tires however are the best bargain between summer and winter tires and are perfect for everyday drivers, commuters, and people who travel to places where roads may be wet and slick. For further information on all-season tires and if you want to purchase one for your vehicle, refer to our all-season tire buying guide.

Winter TiresAll-Season TiresSummer Tires
Good For Use Year AroundNoYes (for areas with snow that melts quickly)Yes (for areas where it never snows)
Temperature For Best Performance<7°C>-10°C>7°C
Handling In Dry Conditions3/54/55/5
Handling In Wet Conditions3/54/55/5
Handling On Ice And Snow4/52/51/5
Average Life~40,000 KM~100,000 KM~50,000 KM


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Yes, summer tires are designed for both dry and wet conditions and they offer superior traction and handling during rains compared to all-season or winter tires.

Summer tires have a shorter lifespan compared to all-season tires and last around 50,000 km approximately. This happens because of the rubber compound used in summer tires and the heat that takes its toll on the rubber. Over time, the summer tires lose their elasticity and develop cracks. However, the life of tires also depends on the driving style and vehicles they are fitted on.

The design and compound used on summer tires improve the overall driving experience but this comes at a cost. Improved grip and performance offered by high-performance tires also lead to quick wear and reduced life. The driving style also affects how quickly the tires wear out.

High-performance tires offer better handling and performance on both dry and wet roads. If the place where you live has both dry and wet conditions, these tires are perfect for your vehicle. Some summer tires are offered with treads with fewer grooves for enhanced road contact that reduces road vibrations and offers a comfortable ride.

Summer tires perform optimally in temperatures 7°C and above. Usually, one should remove the summer tires below 7°C and put them back on when the temperature rises. Overall, 7°C is a good temperature reference point to have in mind before changing tires.

Choosing the perfect tire for your vehicle depends on your location and your requirements. You can opt for all-season tires and go through all seasons without changing them. If you want performance and can change your tires often, summer tires will be great for you. For further information, you can refer to our comprehensive tire buying guide which will help you make an informed decision and choose the perfect set of tires.

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Mike Morrales
Automotive Product Expert
A super dork when it comes to new automotive tech. Part manufacturers are constantly making revolutionary product updates for their aftermarket line up. However, knowing what changes were made and how they could affect your day to day driving adventures is something our automotive product expert will definitely be chiming in on, stay tuned !.