If you are in need of new tires, you may be asking yourself whether or not you need winter tires vs all-season ones. While the choice may seem pretty straight forward if you are living on the coast where winter weather conditions are pretty mild(though the coast does see some snowy weather which can limit […]
If you are in need of new tires, you may be asking yourself whether or not you need winter tires vs all-season ones. While the choice may seem pretty straight forward if you are living on the coast where winter weather conditions are pretty mild(though the coast does see some snowy weather which can limit mobility ), if you happen to travel to the interior during the winter months, you may need more than all-seasons can offer. Which tire you need will largely depend on how and where you drive your vehicle. At any rate, here is a little information on the differences of each type of tire to help you choose the right one for your needs.
What are winter tires?
Winter or snow tires are tires that are designed exclusively for use in colder weather, snowy and icy conditions. Their higher traction capabilities enhance vehicle mobility, stability and control in adverse weather to reduce the number of road-related accidents, which are the result of skidding. Tires designed for winter conditions can safely withstand temperatures below 7 °C.
Winter tires are suitable for a variety of surfaces, which include pavement (wet or dry), mud, ice, or snow. Their build boasts metal pins that protrude from the tire and reduce skidding and accidents on snow or ice-covered roads. The tread design of winter tires allows for snow to pass into the tread, where it compacts and provides resistance against slipping. For safety purposes, it is recommended that winter tires are fitted to all wheel positions, which includes duals, to improve vehicle mobility and control.
What are all-season tires?
An all-season tire is meant to be used in any temperature above 7°C; that means that it performs best in warm climates – the spring, summer, and fall. The rubber that an all-season tire is made with is designed to extract water and provide traction whenever the temperature is above 7°C. If an all-season tire is used when the temperature drops below 7°C, then the tire will become stiff and will not grip the road or evacuate ice and snow, leading to an increased risk of sliding.
This tire category is engineered for use across a wide range of climate and road conditions. You might have believed this basic, broad performance was a given for all tires, but actually, that’s not the case.
Take summer tires, for example, which are limited by temperature and experience a steep and dangerous drop in traction when temperatures approach freezing. By contrast, all season tires keep rolling, mostly unaffected, in colder temperatures. Unlike summer tires, all-season tire compounds are engineered to function and stay pliable across a broad range of temperatures.
All-season tires are rooted in North American driver convenience and economic factors. While tire changes due to seasonal weather changes are the norm in Europe, a minority of North American drivers are similarly inclined. This process requires drivers to store and swap tires according to the season, buy multiple sets of tires, and generally stay in tune with their tire status as it relates to changing weather and road conditions.
In general, all-season tires do an excellent job of delivering convenience and reasonable performance in most conditions, but there are definite performance limitations when faced with more extreme winter conditions.
Now that you know the difference between all-season and winter tires, you are better equipped to choose the tires best suited to your needs. However, if you would like assistance with choosing your vehicle tires or just have a few questions, please contact us any time. If you are ready to purchase your tires, you can order them from us at Gerry’s OK Tire here.