Depending on which part of the world you live in, it’s that time of year again! When we’re left deciding whether to buy, all-weather tires, winter tires or to stick with our all-seasons. This is one of those choices that always gives drivers a hard time because they worry about cost and necessity.Tires, which are usually considered as being the most basic part of a car, have undergone several changes over the years. Tire technology has also come very far in recent years with many positive changes affecting the modeling, threading and components of tires. Additionally, there are now many more options available for drivers to choose from.
Let’s take a more detailed look at various tire types, what they offer and their differences. For the purpose of this post, we’ll categorize “all-weather” and “all-season tires” under “all-season tires” to keep things less confusing for our readers. If you’re having trouble, these comparisons should make you arrive at a decision right for you.
The term “all-weather tires” is often used interchangeably with all-season tires but they do have some differences. One difference is that all-weather tires actually carry a Transport Canada pictograph which means that it’s suitable for all types of weather including below freezing. According to an article by a trusted automotive source, wheels.ca, the pictograph also means that all-weather tires have excelled in a test as a “snow tire” while all-seasons haven’t.
All-season tires on the other hand (still not to be confused with all-weather tires) are made to provide stable handling and traction or grip in wet and dry conditions. What this means is that all-season tires are basically designed with a variety of conditions (specifically spring, summer and fall) in mind. Does this mean they surpass winter tires? Although having the ability to adapt to different conditions is nice to have, all season tires don’t actually outperform winter tires in icy and snowy conditions because winter tires provide better traction in those scenarios. However, all-season tires still present an advantage to drivers by not needing to be constantly stored and changed year-round.
Seasonal Tires (Winter Tires)
As mentioned earlier, winter tires carry an advantage over all-seasons when it comes to traction in cold conditions. Winter tires are built for cold temperatures, meaning they have treading and compounds that perform better at lower temperatures compared to all-seasons. However, winter tires also come with additional costs too, meaning you’d need to change all four tires, and rims (optional). Also, take into consideration that there are different types of winter tires; the variations depend on where you’re shopping. Some places offer studded, non-studded and performance winter tires and it’s super easy to figure out what each tire offers just by looking at the names. You can check out this list of “top winter tires” for 2016 to see the wide selection that is available for cars, minivans, SUVs and light trucks.
Do note that if you regularly encounter snowy and freezing conditions, you’ll need tires that have extra grip and control which winter tires deliver.
Which One’s Right?
Now that we’ve taken a more in-depth look at all-season and seasonal (winter) tire categories, you now know what all-season tires offer that seasonal (winter) tires don’t and vice versa. It’s now time to think about your tire needs more carefully. Although needs differ based on the driver and the kind of car, similar questions and concerns still arise. This post should serve as a guide to help you arrive at that decision, we still encourage you to do extensive research and talk to tire professionals before you make that all important purchase for your vehicle. Remember that whatever choice you make will have consequences for your commute depending on the time of year and season. Also select the type of tire based on the driving conditions you face most often. If your concern is cost related, be aware that buying cheap tires won’t really save you money. Instead, go for high quality tires that won’t stretch your budget and will last longer.
You should take into consideration several factors in deciding the best tires for your car. Things like your geographic location, weather, your driving routes, and more, factor into whether or not you need studded, non-studded, performance winter tires, all-weather or all-season tires. Having the best tires for your car provides a sense of safety for both you and your passengers, especially in the harsher winter conditions we often get here in Canada.
Remember, whichever decision you make, you should always install four set of tires. It’s good practice to make sure all four are the same so that they’re all uniform and can perform effectively. Another good thing to note for winter tires unlike all-seasons or all-weather tires is that they’re not meant to be used year-round. If you’re deciding to go for winter tires in the colder months, make sure you swap out all sets once the season is over. Finally, check with a tire professional or study your vehicle manual to see the recommended tire size for your vehicle as these statistics could impact the handling of your vehicle in different weather conditions. Taking the time to choose your tires is important because not all tires are equal, look for value and don’t be too scared to ask questions about the benefits and drawbacks of your tires. There’s a wealth of information on the internet so be sure to do extensive research and make comparisons based on your tire needs and budget. Once you follow these steps, your trip to your local tire store should be far less frustrating and confusing.
There you have it, these are just a few pointers to keep in mind when you’re thinking about purchasing tires and whether it’s worth switching your all-seasons or all-weather tires to winter tires when the temperature drops during the cold weather months. Once you’ve gained a full understanding of the pros and cons of each tire type, you’re good to go!
If you have further questions, feel free to drop us a line! We’re happy to help.