If you've just fitted new tyres and they don't seem to be performing as well as the old ones, it’s probably because they need running in. Find out how long it takes to break in your summer, winter or studded tyres.

By Published On: 2 June 2021Categories: Driving style411 words2.2 min read
Breaking in new tyres
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Why do tyres need breaking in?

Tyres are produced using a mould. To prevent a tyre from sticking to its mould, a lubricant is applied to the tyre surface. Traces of this lubricant can remain on a finished tyre, making it slippery when new. After driving a certain number of miles, the remainder of the lubricant will wear off and the tyre will offer optimal grip and driveability. This is why you generally need to run in your tyres before subjecting them to sharp braking, acceleration or cornering. However, summer tyres produced by major manufacturers in recent years no longer require this breaking in period.

Structure of a tyre
© rezulteo – Toyo

It’s also possible that your new tyres will feel less responsive than your old ones. New tyres respond less quickly due to the thickness of the rubber. As the tread starts to wear, this initial feeling that the tyre is slipping will disappear.

How long should you run your tyres in for?

You should aim to break in your tyres over around 300 miles. Before you have driven this distance on new tyres, make sure you drive at moderate speeds and keep your driving as smooth as possible. Avoid any sudden acceleration, braking or changes of direction. Running the tyres in for 300 miles should be enough to remove the last traces of lubricant and ensure optimal tyre performance.

This applies to both winter tyres and summer tyres. However, it’s important to know that your winter tyres will always feel different to drive on than your summer tyres, even after they have been broken in. Winter tyres have a deeper tread and thicker rubber to ensure the best possible performance on snow. They will therefore be noisier and feel less responsive than summer tyres, meaning you need a little time to get used to them.

How about studded tyres?

Studded tyres also require a breaking in period to remove the lubricant used in manufacturing. To help you measure this breaking in period, the studs are surrounded by break-in indicators. These take the form of stand-out patterns on the tyre’s surface which disappear once the tyre has been run in. This breaking-in period lasts for around 300 miles, during which time it is important to avoid sharp acceleration, cornering or braking.

breaking studded tyres by Nokian
Copyright © Nokian Tyres

You should always drive at moderate speeds with studded tyres in order to avoid wearing down the studs too quickly and the risk of them being ejected.

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