Many drivers believe that having all season tires on their car means that they don’t need winter tires, whereas the others wonder could they use the snow one year round. This discussion keeps happening every day and we have received lots of questions like those. So, today, I am going to help you distinguish the winter & snow tires and the all season tires and you will get your own answer. Let’s go.
Winter and Snow Tires
In the winter, you may have no choice but driving with quite extreme weather status. Then, you must have the right tire to deal with from heavy snowfall to black ice.
Winter & snow tires are the special type of tires which maintains better traction in extreme cold, or on icy, snowy, slushy roads. We can say that this tire is born to meet the combination of cold temperatures, ice, and snow.
There are four specific features of winter tires that make them unique: tread rubber, tread depth and patterns, and biting edges.
1. The tread rubber
In extreme cold temperatures, the tread rubber of an all season or summer tire stiffens and will be less able to provide sufficient traction. To solve this problem, tread rubber compounds of winter tires are designed to remain flexible, allowing the tire to grip the road better.
2. The tread depth and patterns
Another unique feature of winter tires is deeper tread depths and unique tread patterns. Deeper tread depths will help reduce snow build-up and provide better traction on the snow at the same time. Winter tire tread patterns are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water.
3. Biting edges
Winter tires also feature an increased number of biting edges and high sipe densities, or in other words, thousands of tiny slits in the tread that provide traction on ice.
Due to any conditions, you might meet while driving in cold weather, this type of tires is invented for you. A winter tire in the winter can be seen as the boots for the snow.
A great deal of vehicles is fitted with all-season tires when they are about to leave the factory. Because they are built to provide a smooth quiet ride, good tread life, and fuel economy, there is no wonder why they are so popular.
All-season tires offer versatile performance and are designed to perform in a variety of conditions including wet roads and light winter driving. All season tires are designed to offer a combination of benefits from summer and winter tires.
Being ready for both summer and winter means all-season tires are built to combine the best abilities of summer and winter tires, doesn’t it? Unluckily, it doesn't. In other to provide good performance in most conditions, all-season tires tend to compromise just some of summer and winter performance capabilities. So, what does it mean? It obviously means all-season tires can’t provide the same amount of extreme grip and sharp handling the same as a summer tire. As a result, an all-season tire is not designed to deal with extreme winter conditions like trekking through snow or driving on ice. Now, try thinking of all-season tires like tennis shoes. You are able to wear tennis shoes all year, but exactly they aren't ideal for all situations. It would be much better to have flip flops on the beach in the summer and boots for the snow.
Therefore, all-season tires are a great option for drivers who live in moderate climates and do not encounter extreme cold, ice and snow in the winter months.
Snow tires and All-season tires: which is the better?
The answer to this question depends on some aspects. Firstly, it will depend on where you live and the conditions in which you drive.
Only see a few snow falling down each year and slick, icy roads are appeared no more than the annual one, you should take on all-season tires. However, if you know there’s an issue such as icy roads, mounting winter tires may not be the top precaution but it’s an essential safety assurance that could save your life from accidents.
When you use winter tires for the season, always remember to install a full set. Just changing out the front tires will increase the ability that the rear tires will skid. On the other hand, just putting snow tires on the rear wheels could cause the front tires to lose traction and make it impossible to steer your vehicle.
Should or shouldn't use winter and snow tires all the time?
Now, when you finally get the differences between the two tires and find out which are suitable for your car, we will answer the last question: Should we use winter tires all year?
The answer is you shouldn’t. Winter tires are specially designed only for cold temperatures and winter conditions. When the weather is getting warmer, you may not need any deep tread depths to handle snow or biting edges for traction on ice. Take a look at some specific reasons to understand why using winter tires all the time is not highly recommended.
Faster wear on warm, dry pavement: the tread rubber of winter tires is absolutely more flexible than of all-season and summer tires. Therefore, the special tread rubber which is used to add traction in winter will wear down so quickly in warm weather. Now, we have summer and all-season tires which are built to withstand warm temperatures, provide long wear life.
Decreased performance: In warm temperatures, winter tires cannot supply the same handling capabilities like summer or all-season tires. To be more clearly, imagine when you needed to make a quick maneuver and unfortunately, your tires were soft and squishy. There no doubts that you won't get the crisp response from a winter tire in warm weather. Winter tires use that flexibility to handle ice and snow, but it's no longer useful in warm weather.
To sum up, the specialized compounds and tread designs of winter tires are not designed for optimal warm climate performance and wear. In general, the softer tread of a winter tire will wear out so fast in warmer temperatures. When you keep winter tires on your vehicle after winter has come and gone, you will have to replace them sooner than had you removed them for springtime.
We have learned lots of things today, right? Now, I’m sure you totally know which to use, winter & snow tires and all-season tires. Check your driving condition again and then, choose the better for your car and have a good drive. Don’t forget to tell us what you have bought and your experience. See you next time.