Your Guide To Choosing The Right All Season Tires
If you are lucky to be living in countries that experience all four seasons, you will have to change your tires as the season changes. A tedious task for sure, changing tires can be expensive while also requiring storage space. Thankfully, this problem can be easily addressed by installing a set of all-season tires that enable you to drive in any weather and driving condition throughout the year, without having to change to a different set of tires for each season. In this article, you’ll understand the importance and application of all-season tires. Read along to get detailed answers to related queries and problems as well.
In this article:
- All-Season Tires vs All-Weather Tires
- Are All-Season Tires Good In Snow?
- Difference Between All-Season Tires & Winter Tires
- All-Season Tires vs Summer Tires
All-Season Tires are designed to provide sufficient traction on wet, dry, and snow-covered roads, which allow them to be used in varied weather conditions. These tires are engineered to run in different driving environments and have unique rubber compound and tread patterns that enable them to withstand light snow, ice, and wet roads. The special configuration of all-season tires makes them a perfect choice of increased balance and traction in all seasons and weather.
All-Season Tires have specially designed tread blocks that help expel water in wet driving scenarios and grip snow better. The increased amount of sipes also helps with snow traction. On dry roads, all-season tires work similarly to summer tires offering a comfortable ride and sharp handling performance. Thus, all-season tires are among the first choice of installation for many manufacturers as they perform well across all weather conditions and on any vehicle, be it a sedan, hatchback, SUV, truck, or crossover.
2 Types Of All Season Tires
All-season tires are further classified based on their application. Following are the various types of all-season tires available in the market:
- Ultra-High Performance Tires – UHP all-season tires provide exceptional handling dynamics with year-round capabilities. Provide adequate ride comfort and work well in dry as well as wet driving conditions with reasonable winter traction. They can be availed with the M+S symbol, making them a good choice for winters, they work well in low-temperature conditions.
- High-Performance Tires – Good balance of handling, control, traction, and tread life. Branded with M+S, these are designed for sports coupes and sedans for added traction, even in light snow.
- Performance Tires – Branded with M+S, these tires provide better grip compared to standard tires. They perform well in varying temperatures at a much lower cost.
- Grand Touring Tires – Designed to give a quieter and smoother ride with better handling with high-speed capabilities, these tires also offer an upgraded appearance over the standard touring or passenger all-season tires.
- Standard Touring Tires – Focused towards comfortable and quieter ride quality than performance tires. They are also offered in higher aspect ratio size while having a similar appearance to performance tires.
- Passenger Tires – Significant focus on stable handling, smooth ride, long tread life, quieter operation, and increased durability as opposed to increased handling performance.
3 Benefits Of All Season Tires
Since all-season tires have to be your vehicle’s ultimate companion all year round, they offer a handful of benefits over other tire types. Take a look at the major benefits of all-season tires and understand why they are the top pick of many manufacturers.
- Improved Performance – All-Season Tires are designed to provide smooth driving and handling over dry, wet, and slick surfaces. These tires have longer tread wear and last long with improved gripping, handling, braking, and fuel economy.
- Quiet Operation – Every vehicle cabin is designed to restrict road-noise, thereby improving the ride quality for the passengers. Vehicle tires also contribute significantly to such noises, and all-season tires possess smoother tread patterns that produce much less noise.
- Safety – All-season tires can handle wet surfaces, lowering the chance of hydroplaning. This increases passenger safety tremendously while also providing smoother handling and ride quality.
- Traction – Standard tires have thinner tread lines than all-season tires and offer lowered traction and handling over slippery surfaces. All-season tires provide added grip and traction under tough weather and work great in both dry and wet seasons and even in light snow and mud.
- Year-Round Application – All-Season tires eliminate the need to switch between various tires, as they are compatible in various seasons as well as driving conditions. They boost drivability year-round and easily adapt to various road conditions.
- Tread-Wear Warranties – Since all-season tires are built to handle varying weather and temperatures, it is no surprise that these tires are made to last long. Thus, the treadwear warranties of all-season tires can even go up to 90,000 miles, which ensures long service life and functionality.
- Affordability – All-season tires are cheaper than winter tires, about the same cost as summer tires. Opting for special season tires requires proper storing and installation when the season hits, which leads to added costs. Ultra high-quality all-season tires marked with the ‘M+S’ symbol are certified to handle mud and snow and will significantly reduce your trips to a professional mechanic and diminish the related expenses as well.
4 Disadvantages Of All Season Tires
While all-season tires seem flawless there are some limitations in design and environmental constraints. Following are the disadvantages of all-season tires:
If you live in a region that receives heavy snowstorms, all-season tires may not be the perfect choice for your vehicle. This is because these tires are geared more towards light snowfall and mild temperature variations. While they can stand the test of cold weather, anything well below freezing can be tricky, as it may cause tire treads to harden, resulting in reduced traction. As the temperature drops, these tires can lose elasticity, which directly impacts their performance and reduces lifespan. It is best to switch to winter tires if the temperatures fall below 7℃ (45℉), as all-season tires are much less effective below such temperatures.
Shallow Tread Pattern
While all-season tires have better tread patterns than summer tires, they are not as good as specialized winter tires. A shallow tread pattern provides smoother and quieter operation, but can’t handle heavy snow easily. This makes driving conditions less safe, with reduced traction and control in heavy snow. Similarly, these tires can easily handle dry and warmer surfaces, but won’t offer the same level of handling and grip as summer tires.
5 Factors To Consider When Buying All Season Tires
Now that you are familiar with the merits and demerits of using all-season tires, let us have a look at all the factors that govern the choice of installing all-season tires on your vehicle.
All-season tires are offered in three types of tread patterns, as per their application. These are named as unidirectional, symmetrical, and asymmetrical.
- Unidirectional/Directional: This tread pattern is designed to move in one direction only. Such a pattern is found standard in most vehicles and is the quickest to get worn out.
- Symmetrical: These tread pattern tires can run in different directions and contain long-lasting grooves that enable even wear and tear, thus ensuring a longer operational life span.
- Asymmetrical: These pattern tires are found mostly in muscle cars and sports vehicles. This pattern is designed to provide excellent grip at high speeds on both wet and dry surfaces.
The car tires have to bear a lot of weight including the load of the car, all its components, passengers, and even cargo. All these naturally add a lot of weight and pressure to the vehicle tires. All-season tires are available for all vehicle types from tiny hatchbacks to large SUVs and even heavy-duty vehicles.
Uniform Tire Quality Grade (UTQG)
The UTQG rating originated in the US and is used as an informed way of making the right tire buying decision. The UTQG rating grades the tires based on tread wear, traction, and temperature. You can read more about the tire UTQG codes to find tires matching your requirements.
The size of the tire is one of the most important aspects when choosing a new set of tires. Always check for the vehicle’s owner manual to know the recommended size for your vehicle or check the size of the pre-installed factory tires on your vehicle. Wrong sets of tires can cause a lot of damage to the brake, suspension, steering, driveline components and affect the fuel economy, handling, and safety of the vehicle. You can calculate your tire size using this guide.
A new set of tires can increase vehicle mileage by 20 percent or more. This is because new tires will have a lower rolling resistance and will handle the weight of the car well. The low rolling resistance significantly depends on the tread design, tire size, and the rubber compound used to make the tire. For a much more detailed description of all the factors that determine the buying decision of different types of tires, see our comprehensive Tire Buying Guide.
6 All-Season Tires Versus Other Tire Types
When you are in the market for a new set of tires, you will encounter many other types of tires with varied specifications, advantages and disadvantages. Read along to know how each type differs from all-season tires.
All-Season Tires vs All-Weather Tires
Winter Safety & Reliability:
- All-Weather Tires – Designed to handle winter snow and ice. Better performance and handling in winters. Works better than all-season tires below 45ºF or 7ºC.
- All-Season Tires – Not meant for temperatures below 45ºF or 7ºC. Not useful in snow and ice. Works well in summers, spring, fall, and Rain.
- All-Weather Tires – Provides superior grip with cornering control. Have an aggressive tread pattern with chunky tread blocks for increased grip along with stability.
- All-Season Tires – Small, smooth tread blocks that slide on snow and ice. Designed for increased comfort and fuel economy.
Slushplaning and Hydroplaning:
- All-Weather Tires – Wide channels and grooves that capture and push away water/ slush so your tires always have sufficient contact patch with the road, preventing slush planning and hydroplaning.
- All-Season Tires – Thin channels clog with snow and slush in the winter, creating an unsafe, slippery surface. However, they perform well in wet driving scenarios and are comparable to all-weather tires.
Are All-Season Tires Good In Snow?
All-Season Tires are designed to provide smoother and quieter operation in almost all driving conditions. These tires perform well in rain and bare surfaces all year round. All-Season Tires work the best in temperatures above 45ºF or 7ºC and can provide good traction as well as control in light snow.
If you live in the regions where the temperatures easily drop below 7ºC (45ºF) and experience prolonged winters with heavy ice and snow on the road. For such conditions, you will require a much more flexible and softer rubber compound on your tires, which can only be fulfilled using a good set of winter tires. Such tires will provide the ultimate winter traction, handling along with safety in extreme weather and can even include studs for added grip on icy surfaces.
Difference Between All-Season Tires & Winter Tires
- All-Season Tires – Rain, dry, some light snow ~45ºF (7ºC) and up.
- Winter Tires – Snow, ice, rain, and slush ~45ºF (7ºC) and below.
- All-Season Tires – Shallower grooves offer comfort and control in most road conditions.
- Winter Tires – Deep, wide, jagged tread offers better traction in winter road conditions.
- All-Season Tires – Rubber compound performs best above ~45ºF and is designed for long tread life.
- Winter Tires – Rubber compound stays soft and flexible in cold weather to help with grip.
- All-Season Tires – Siping in all-season tires dissipates heat and offers some added traction in wet conditions.
- Winter Tires – Winter tires will typically have more siping to maximize grip in winter-driving conditions.
All-Season Tires vs Summer Tires
While all-season tires can handle moderate driving conditions throughout the year, summer tires are designed especially for regions that face mostly summers with minimal wet and snow conditions. Following is the comparison between all-season with summer tires based on various factors:
Wet Performance/Hydroplaning Resistance
- All-Season Tires – Moderately good traction on wet surfaces.
- Summer Tires – Sticky tread compounds prevent hydroplaning even in heavy rains.
- All-Season Tires – Amazing traction in dry conditions, but not meant for performance handling.
- Summer Tires – Great cornering, handling, braking, and durability.
- All-Season Tires – Made for moderate temperatures and riding conditions.
- Summer Tires – Used when daily temperatures are above 45ºF (7ºC).
- All-Season Tires – More rolling resistance causing decreased fuel efficiency.
- Summer Tires – Increased mileage due to stiffer construction and reduced friction.
- All-Season Tires – Tires typically replaced at 2/32nds inch of tread left.
- Summer Tires – Often replaced at 4/32nds inch of tread for better hydroplaning resistance.
- All-Season Tires – Tread life warranty ranges between 30,000 to 80,000 miles.
- Summer Tires – Tread life warranty lasts for about 50,000 miles.
- All-Season Tires – Used on passenger cars, SUVs, CUVs, and light trucks.
- Summer Tires – Great on both high-performance vehicles and regular passenger cars.
Q) How Much Do All Season Tires Cost?
After considering all the factors that determine the choice of all-season tires, it is the pricing that becomes the next important point of discussion. Varying price points means variations in build quality, application, size, tread pattern, and much more.
- $50 to $100: This price range offers entry-level all-season tires that can moderately handle both wet and dry driving conditions. These tires won’t be able to provide enhanced levels of traction in extreme weather and are ideal for regions facing moderate natural seasonal changes.
- Over $100: Tires above this price range are offered from the most well-known manufacturers in the market that offer performance-worthy specifications. Such tires can provide increased traction in both dry and wet seasons and can easily handle mild snow. They also contain more elastic rubber compounds, have sophisticated tread patterns for better grip and handling.
It is important to note that if you take professional help while installing your new set of all-season tires, it may cost you extra labor charges. However, it is recommended to go for professional assistance as the installation of new tires requires performing proper wheel balancing and alignment.
Q). How Long Do All Season Tires Last?
Since all-season tires are manufactured to run throughout the year, it is easy to comprehend that they may wear earlier than summer or winter tires that are only used in the respective seasons.
All-season tires bear many kinds of weather and driving conditions, and the ones marked with mud and snow rating can easily handle light snow and wet conditions. These tires have especially designed tread designs that increase the functionality while reducing the tire wear significantly over the course of their life.
Normally, a new set of all-season tires can easily last from 50,000 to 70,000 miles, while some manufacturers even provide treadwear warranties of up to 90,000 miles of run time. Thus, a well-maintained set of all-season tires with rational driving proves to be a sensible and economic choice over other specialized tires.