It is no news that the weather changes from time to time throughout the year. By implication, it is pertinent that you have the proper tire installed to ensure safe driving conditions. Regardless of time and season, you want to be sure your tires grip and brake as they should.
Bear in mind that tire manufacturers build every tire to serve a purpose. There are three main types of tires available to car owners: winter, summer, and all-season tires. The self-explanatory names suggest that each tire is perfect according to season. Winter tires are ideal for cold seasons, summer tires for warmer climate conditions, and all-season tires for every weather.
A winter or snow tire is a tire designed exclusively for cold climates. They have deeper tread depths, perfect for icy conditions such that they provide your car with better traction and grip. Winter tires are made with rubber compounds to maintain flexibility in low temperatures and winter roads.
Also, its unique wide and deep tread pattern allows for optimal grip on wet roads and packed snow. However, driving on winter tires in summer will only lead to the fast wearing of your tire, hence shortening its span of roadworthiness. At the same time, when the local climate and temperature dip below seven degrees Celcius, you need to install winter tires for safe driving. To avoid wasting money, mounting winter tires on your second wheelsets is a good option.
Most cars come out of the factory with all-season tires; needless to say, they are the most popular of all types of tires. Also, they are the most versatile alternative as they can run all year round, regardless of the weather. In other words, all-season tires consist of make-up that makes them perform optimally in both summer and winter conditions.
However, there is a limit to how well they perform in extreme cold, dry, icy, or wet conditions. The best way to avoid problems with your vehicle during prolonged winter months is to invest in snow tires. In straightforward terms, the grip strength of all-season tires will drastically fall in extreme snowy and icy conditions.
Similarities Between Winter Tires and All Season Tires
Besides the fact that both are tires and black in color, there is almost no similarity. The only fundamental similarity is that the two will run perfectly on light snow.
Both Work Well in Mild Winter Conditions
Due to the versatility of all-terrain tires, they serve well in cold temperatures. However, there is no way all-season tires will outdo winter in winter driving conditions. In the same vein, winter tires will not outshine all-season tires on dry pavement.
Overall, within temperatures above seven degrees Celcius, you do not necessarily need to switch to snow tires as both tire types will give almost the same result.
Generally, both types cost about the same, depending on size. A full set of high-end winter and all-season tires costs roughly $750 and $1000. Low-end tires cost half as much – $360 – $500. Nonetheless, we don’t recommend that you go for that option.
Read also: Popular Off-Road Tires for Jeeps and Trucks
Differences Between Winter Tires and All Season Tires
Durability Per Season
As you already know, all tires are built to serve specific purposes. Therefore, it would not be wise to use snow tires the same way you would all-season tires. Winter tires are made with a softer tread compound, subject to faster wear than the all-weather alternative.
Consequently, it would be a sheer waste of resources to drive winter tires in warmer temperatures. In contrast, all-season tires can run all year round, summer, spring, or winter. This means all-season tires have a longer tread life regardless of climate. Generally, winter tires last two winters, depending on how often you drive.
One of the most noticeable features distinguishing a winter tire from all-season is its tread pattern and depth. Winter tires generally have deeper treads of about ten millimeters, while all-season tires have about half as much. Winter tires also have more biting edges than all-weather tires possess.
These provisions allow them to cut and navigate through snow efficiently without skidding, at least not as frequently as other types of tires. In short, winter tires provide superior grip even in deep snow, unlike all-season tires.
Performance Per Season
Whatever the weather, you can count on all-season tires to perform in different driving conditions. However, there is no chance all-season tires will outperform winter or summer tires in extreme conditions. For example, all-season tires will inevitably get hard on icy roads, providing less grip. In other words, all-season tires can only do well in moderate climates.
To buttress this point, according to a study by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, winter tires provide more potent traction, handling, cornering, and braking in the winter season. Therefore, If you live in areas that experience extreme weather conditions, your best bet is to get a complete set of summer or winter tires, whatever the case.
Even though both cost roughly the same, all-season tires have longer tread life than snow tires. Since they are built to serve multiple purposes and climate, all-season tires are more durable than other types. Generally, all-season tires last about two years, while winter tires span two to three winters under the right conditions.
To the big question, which is better in winter tires vs. all-season tires showdown? First off, both types have individual benefits, and none overshadows the other. Secondly, making a choice would border primarily on temperature per location.
Before opting for either option, you need to consider location and how often you drive. If you reside in areas with minimal and moderate climates, you should go for all-season tires.
On the other hand, having winter tires would be an intelligent move in regions with extraordinarily snowy and icy conditions. Mind you; you should only use them during winter. Also, whether your car is a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, ensure you replace all four tires to avoid skidding.
At this point, you should know that there are different types of tires, all suitable for different situations. But which ones are better, winter or snow tires? The answer here depends on the seasons. We strongly advise against driving on winter tires in summer or summer tires during cold weather.
Perhaps the most important consideration before buying tires is the weather in relation to the location. As the saying goes, “different strokes for different folks,” as the weather demands, consider swapping tires accordingly.