All-season Tyres vs. Winter-Summer Tyre Switch: When Do You Really Win?
In countries like the UK where the winter season is mild, snow covered roads are not the norm so most people opt to use all-season tyres. Did you know that there are other types of tyre? There are Winter tyres and Summer tyres too. These tend to be used only for extreme climatic conditions becuase we need a good reason to bother swapping our tires. But are all-season tyres really capable of substituting both the reliable grip of winter tyres and perfect performance of summer rubber?
When all-seasons are good and when not
All-season tires are marketed as the jack of all trades. But you should get it right. ‘All-season’ doesn’t mean that the tyre performs great in all seasons. It just means it can be used in all seasons as a compromise. It was designed to give some kind of year-round performance and save some space in your garage.
They generally offer decent wet and dry grip in warm weather however they do not grip as well as Summer tyres in hot dry conditions. All-season tyres provide a little performance on ice and snow. However, ‘little’ doesn’t mean ‘great’, and can even mean ‘none’ in certain conditions. All-seasons lose their grip, handling and braking properties once the temperature drops below 7 degrees Centigrade. They are miserable on slush and heavy snow. So if all-seasons can somehow compete with Summer tyres in warm weather (above 15 degrees Centigrade), they are simply unsafe at near-freezing temperatures in winter when the Winter tyre is the only acceptable option.
Read more about Winter Tyres on the GOVERNMENT’S Tyresafe website.
All-season tyres still have advantages neither winter nor summer tires can provide. They are low noise, provide a softness of ride, a longer lifespan and a low cost.
How to make a wise tyre choice?
So if top performance and safety are your highest priorities, you should stick to the winter & summer tyre tandem, but if you are looking for economy, all-seasons is the way to go. However if snow, slush, ice, and rain are what you have to deal quite often during the winter, you should consider buying winter rubber even if it means that you’ll have to switch it over to summer or all-season tyres when the weather gets warmer than 7 degrees Centigrade. If snow is a rarity in your area during the cold season, you can opt for all-season tires.