Hotter weather and longer days in the summer are when you need to think about replacing a new tire.
While all-season tires maintain average performance on dry or wet roads, the best summer tires should be your top priority if you want to maximize your vehicle’s performance.
Among many products from different famous brands, how to pick up a version that best suits your budget and needs?
I’ve tested several models over the years and come up with some of the best value recommendations in the article below. Scroll down for more details!
In-depth Reviews Of The Best Summer Tires for 2023
Choosing the good summer tires has never been easier. But I’ve done all the hard work for you. During more than a year of experience, I have tried many different models of top rated summer tires.
The versions on the list below met the standards and passed my tests perfectly.
Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
Best for Overall
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S is one of the best summer performance tires I have ever experienced. This product possesses almost all the features of a typical product that everyone needs.
The response speed of Pilot Sport 4S is excellent, and the driving feels that the product brings is also very perfect. I quickly made continuous turns at 90km/h without my car drifting.
As an impressive summer tire model, it is understandable that the wet and dry performance of the tires is both outstanding.
At dry road conditions at 48 degrees Celsius, Sport 4S can still move smoothly. Even stopping the car and accelerating to 100km/h takes less than 10 seconds.
Moving through wet areas with standing water also cannot create many difficulties for Pilot Sport 4S. I can corner even when the liquid covers up to one or three tires. I also tried braking several times, and the stopping distance measured only about 15m.
On the downside, the rubber material of the tire is quite durable but very sensitive to low temperatures. When I left the tire outdoors, I discovered that 10 degrees Celsius is the lowest temperature this product can withstand.
- Quick response
- Good driving feeling
- Impressive wet and dry performance
- Can move on even flood when the water is high
- Sensitive to low temperature
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500
Best for Durability
The durability of the Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 is much higher than many summer tires I’ve tested. This durable use is essential to move in the unusual weather conditions of summer.
The construction of the Firehawk Indy 500 is quite solid with a sturdy polyester and nylon surface. Inside is a solid belt to stabilize the tire’s shape and elasticity.
From there, it provides the product with excellent impact resistance against rock or glass.
The combination of dry traction and good heat resistance are the factors that make up the tire’s impressive dry mobility.
Through some tests, I can be sure that the Indy 500 is fully capable of traveling up to 110km/h with an outdoor temperature of 47 degrees Celsius.
Even when rolling over a series of obstacles, the tire does not create too much reaction. Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m moving through unstable areas.
The biggest problem that Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 still faces is unstable performance. Its sudden drop in performance often caught me by surprise, and failed to respond to an emergency.
- Good anti-collision
- Smooth operation
- Excellent dry performance
- Unstable performance
Continental ExtremeContact Sport
Best for Performance
The manufacturer has integrated many features for stable control and high performance in this version. That’s why I found that ExtremeContact Sport’s brake feeling is always at a high level. Both in terms of slip and response time, all are within the allowable level to ensure safe movement.
On a dry surface, this tire model has shown relatively good controllability. But even when operating on wet pavement, the product still delivers a compelling performance.
During a test, the car in front had an accident, and I was forced to brake at 80km/h in heavy rain. When the brake is finished, the car starts to slide, but the sliding distance is only about 15m. Fortunately, the space was short enough to keep me out of any danger.
ExtremeContact Sport also provides us with excellent handling at high speeds. I tried taking this product on the highway and traveling at a maximum speed of 120km/h. As a result, the tire still feels pretty great to drive.
Continental models often share a common drawback about temperature sensitivity. Exposure to high or low temperatures causes it to deform and lose strength. If you don’t want to replace a new one quickly, store it carefully under optimal temperature and humidity conditions.
- Good response
- Real driving feeling
- Suitable for fast travel
- Good braking in all terrains
- Deformed by heat easily
Michelin Pilot Super Sport
Best for Tread Design
The surface of the Michelin Pilot Super Sport comes with quality grips and is highly impact resistant. Therefore, you will not have to worry about durability if you choose this product.
The high-quality Michelin construction materials give the Pilot Super Sport a great grip. Excellent traction makes its stopping distance super short. In fact, at 112 km/h, the product only slipped about 11m, which convinced me quickly.
In addition, its acceleration power is also a significant advantage. It only took about 5 seconds for my car to reach 80km/h with Michelin Pilot Super Sport.
Although it comes with high dry traction, the manufacturer does not forget to add perfect control features to this version.
At 80km/h, I tried to corner continuously in a small alley. After about 3 minutes, I could drive the car out and did not experience any damage.
The drift of the wheel is at a reasonable level when the tire tracks that I observe are not too far apart.
To maintain maximum tire strength for the longest time, Michelin provides each Pilot Super Sports product with a 30,000-mile warranty.
This figure is relatively impressive compared to many other summer tire models.
This product will be the right choice only if you can stand the annoying noise it makes on the highway. Compared to many other summer models, this product works much more loudly.
Quite sensitive to noise, I often have to slow down to eliminate the annoying friction sounds.
- Good spike design
- Short brake stroke
- Impressive dry traction
- Effective cornering
- Noisy activity
Continental SportContact 7
Best for Dry Grip
Continental SportContact 7 is the most suitable choice if you are a speed lover and always want to move quickly on all roads.
Few in-class products can achieve the perfect traction like the SportContact 7.
Not only that, but the tire also gives us the same feedback force on many surfaces. This Continental tire allows me to accelerate to 100km/h in more than 6 seconds in dry and hot road conditions.
In contrast, the tire needs 10 seconds to reach this speed mark in wet road conditions. Whether it is 6 or 10 seconds, this number is still relatively small compared to other competitors.
Along with impressive traction is an equally high grip. Even if I let the car drift away, it takes less than 5 seconds for the vehicle to stop.
Tests by moving quickly on wet roads also gave entirely satisfactory results. At 90km/h, the vehicle only skids about 10m, which gives me more confidence to go long distances.
The Continental SportContact 7 deserves a higher price with all the above advantages. But the manufacturer still decided to keep it highly reasonable to make it more accessible to users.
On the downside, this tire version has quite a few size options. Therefore, some less popular models may not be able to be used with SportContact 7.
- High acceleration
- Outstanding grip
- Good traction on dry roads
- Excellent high-speed performance
- Works well even in wet areas
- Size is not diverse
Pirelli P Zero
Best for Size Diversity
Almost any car model can use the Pirelli P Zero because the manufacturer of this tire model gives us dozens of different sizes to choose from.
It’s one of the few products I can use on all three cars. SUVs and sedans aren’t too picky, but my sports car isn’t.
Fortunately, the P Zero has the right size, so I can fit it into the car and use it.
In addition to the advantage of diversity, Pirelli P Zero is famous for its fast response and high sensitivity. To test this possibility, I have arranged a series of obstacles that are large stone blocks of various shapes. As expected, this tire provided such reasonable control that I didn’t even move any challenges.
The tire’s cornering ability is also at a reasonable level, thanks to the responsiveness of the feedback system. I once tried dropping 25 degrees in combination with cornering while using P Zero.
It’s dangerous, but the product’s solid construction, grip, and responsiveness have kept me safe from dangers on the road.
Besides significant advantages, not high durability and fast tire wear are the things that I still wonder about Pirelli P Zero.
Its surface life is even shorter if there is frequent friction with gravel surfaces. So, you must carefully consider your moving terrain before buying this product.
- Good response
- High sensitivity
- Stick to the road
- Many sizes to consider
- Fast wear
Continental PremiumContact 6
Best for Wet Road
Continental PremiumContact 6 has enough capacity to help us navigate safely through wet and stagnant areas. Tire elements such as treads or surface textures are suitable for stable operation on dry or damp terrain.
Besides the impressive dry performance of a summer tire, PremiumContact 6 also has good wet handling. Considering the general level of wet mobility, it is clear that few versions can surpass the Contact6.
Summer tire products usually have a high-speed braking distance of 15-20m.
However, after testing many times on dry and wet roads, I was shocked that this Continental only slid about 12-13m before stopping. Even when I move quickly on the highway, the braking performance is very stable to ensure my safety.
In terms of controls, its design allows maximum interaction between the tire and the operator. Therefore, I can quickly control the tire to increase and decrease speed and turn corners without resistance.
Tires will be even better if they increase their resistance to hydrolysis in wet areas. I rarely experience hydration when using summer tires.
But with PremiumContact 6, this phenomenon happened. Even if it doesn’t create too much impact due to the low water level, it’s still impossible to ignore this issue.
- Good wet brake
- Good tire interaction
- Reduce the effort required to control
- Suitable for moving in wet areas
- Need to improve resistance to hydration
Bridgestone Potenza Sport
Best for Budget
I did not believe in a product that could combine high performance and reasonable price until I tested the Bridgestone Potenza Sport.
This tire model is 2-2.5 times cheaper than in-class versions. If you buy a set of 4 tires, you can save up to 8 times the cost. It also has many different sizes for choosing the right one for your rim size.
Its extreme dry performance helps my car easily overcome quite a few obstacles on the road.
I tested a highway’s traction, responsiveness, grip, and tire resistance at 49 degrees. Its performance from the start to the end of the 50km route is almost unchanged.
Accelerating from 0 to 100km/h only takes me less than 7 seconds. Even when the road surface is hot and unstable, the Potenza Sport’s dry traction is highly stable.
The wet performance of the tires is not too impressive but still enough to keep us safe when moving. You don’t need to worry too much about the problem of slipping when walking in the rain. However, the hydrolysis resistance of tires is relatively low, so you need to avoid deeply flooded areas.
- Sufficient wet performance
- Excellent dry performance
- Good high-temperature resistance
- Exceptionally comfortable and low noise
- Poor hydration resistance
Things to consider when choosing best tires for summer
While many characteristics determine a tire’s quality, only a few significantly affect performance. Here are the relevant knowledge and the most critical factors you need to consider to choose the most suitable version
What are summer tires? How to identify summer tires?
It will be challenging for newbies to distinguish summer tires from other tires by common sight. However, I have listed a series of specific characteristics below for you to grasp and understand why a standard summer tire is easy.
- Summer tires are usually performance tires. Of course, there will be some exceptions, but to combat the effects of bad weather, the performance enhancement in this tire model is quite understandable.
- The dry performance of summer tires is consistently good. There are even products that allow users to overcome scorching roads without any difficulty. The rubber compound of this tire line will undoubtedly have good resistance to high temperatures for a long time.
- The construction of summer tire products tends to be deeper with wide center grooves. In addition to increasing stability, this mechanism, when combined with the slits on the tire surface, will significantly enhance water transfer performance. Thereby limiting dangerous hydration.
- The steering feel of summer tires is quite responsive, especially when we turn around in rugged terrain.
When should you buy or use summer tires?
Without a doubt, the best time to use summer tires is definitely in the summer.
You can change your current tire model to summer tires, whether it’s early or late summer.
The structure of this product line is also suitable for operating in weather from 7 degrees Celsius or more. Although not an all-season tire, you can still use summer tires at different times of the year. As long as the outdoor temperature is high enough, the excellent features of these products will work properly.
If you are in tropical areas with heavy rainfall, summer tires are the first choice you should buy and use.
What Are The Types Of Summer Tires?
There are different ways to classify summer tires products. But for me, I am still often classified based on usage needs. We can classify tires into 3 different groups: city tires, highway tires, and off-road tires.
- City tires
Products with a speed index from S to T with a cross-section of 60% or more will be in the city car tire group. They are usually relatively cheap and easy to find replacements at most repair shops. The most significant disadvantage of this type is its low average performance.
- High-speed tires
These products usually have a speed index from V to W to be suitable for high-speed operation. The profile of high-speed tires is stable at less than 55% to ensure controllability. The spikes of this tire line also have many improvements to enhance grip.
- Off-road tires
The texture of off-road tires is always deep cuts and long grooves with impressive obstacle removal. Usually, this type will have symbols like C and LT on the sidewalls for you to distinguish easily.
Summer tires vs. All season tires
Summer tires are a great choice if you live in warm areas and need to operate in different weather conditions. Summer tire’s performance is also top-notch, so you don’t have to worry about traction or cornering.
Meanwhile, all-season tires are inferior to summer tires, from performance to grip and impact resistance. However, this product provides performance in some low-temperature terrain, which summer tires cannot.
We must use all-season tires if we have to move through places with snow or temperatures below 7 degrees. Under such conditions, summer tires will lose their inherent capabilities.
Key features to choosing summer tires
To calculate the size of a tire model, you need to use a multiplication formula to calculate the ratio between width, height, and outside diameter.
After getting the exact number, we will have to compare it with the manufacturer’s specifications. This measurement ensures the rim fits snugly against the tire.
- Tread patterns
You can choose from three tread patterns: non-symmetrical, symmetric, and asymmetrical. Non-symmetrical products will be suitable for moving in ideal conditions such as city roads.
Meanwhile, symmetrical tires will be more durable and ideal for use on roads that need to move at high speed.
Finally, the asymmetrical tire allows us to move well through challenging terrain.
- Speed index
A speed index is a unit that represents the maximum speed that a tire model can achieve. M is the lowest with 130km/h, and Y is the largest, speeding up to 300km/h. Depending on the needs, we need to choose the tire models with the appropriate index
- Load index
Like the speed index, a load index is a unit of expression that indicates a tire model’s load capacity. You can ignore this factor if you don’t use SUVs or small trucks. At the lowest level, the tire’s capacity will be equivalent to 335kg; at the highest level of 120, this number will be up to 1400kg.
- Wet Traction
Wet performance is also what quality summer tires need. To ensure the performance of this tire model, you should not ignore the wet performance.
Are Summer Tires Good In The Rain?
Besides being able to perform well in dry conditions, summer tires also have excellent performance on wet surfaces when it rains. With a good hydrophobic texture and increased friction, you will no longer need to worry about the risk of slipping.
Are Summer Tires Louder?
Despite being a high-performance product, it is surprising that summer tires operate pretty quietly. Compared to other tires such as touring or all-season, summer tires still operate much quieter.
Can Summer Tires Be Stored Outside In Winter?
Even if you are not operating, you should not leave your summer tire products outside when it is cold. The rubber construction of this tire has never really been able to withstand low temperatures. Finding a suitable storage location is significant if you don’t want your tires to have problems or be completely damaged.
Can Summer Tires Be Driven In Winter?
In theory, summer tires can still move in winter weather conditions. However, this action is quite dangerous because almost all the safety features of this product line do not work in cold weather. You will face dozens of different dangers if you continue to travel on summer tires.
How Long Should Summer Tires Last?
20,000-40,000 miles is the average number that summer tires can achieve.
Durability may vary depending on your usage habits and the environment in which the products move daily.
I have provided you with the top 8 best summer tires to consider and choose from. From my point of view, each version has its advantages and disadvantages.
Firestone Firehawk Indy 500 always gives impressive durability for many years. Meanwhile, the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S offers a balanced experience on dry and wet roads. Consider your needs carefully and make the final choice!
Image credit: Bridgestone.com
Alvin Reyes has expertise in automotive evaluation. He collaborated with famous newspapers and is still making efforts in tire review for DrivingPress.com