At first glance, it’s hard to differentiate all the types of tires, they may look the same for most people. However, for drivers, it is important to know that there are tires that are used specifically during the summer season, these tires are made of harder rubber to help prolong wear and tear, they have the best handling even in high-speed corners and extremely wet roads as they prevent hydroplaning, but if these tires are used during colder seasons, these tires will become stiff and loss of grip will be imminent.
Luckily, on the other hand, there are tires used specifically for winter or colder season that are made of softer rubber and are designed to plow through snow and water by extracting them and maintaining as much grip as possible, if these tires are used on warming seasons, though, the softer rubber will easily wear down shortening the life span of the tires. This is why it is important to switch tires when the seasons change. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time for this, plus a second set of tires will eat up a big amount of space in your garage or condo locker, and this is why all-season tires exist.
All Season Tires
All season tires are made of a harder rubber than winter tires so it can still be driven on warmer weather without worrying about it quickly getting worn down, but still soft enough to not get too stiff and lose traction. It is also designed similarly to winter tires so that it can expel water and snow giving it enough grip to be used in light snow or wet roads. These tires should be used in areas where weather conditions or temperatures don’t go below 7°C.
Engineered to be driven on light snow or wet conditions by giving you enough traction, this makes it usable all year round in areas that aren’t too hot but also do not get a lot of below zero kinds of weather. They are designed to have symmetrical tread patterns that have deeper grooves that help plow through snow. Having symmetrical tread pattern also gives you more options for rotating your tires giving it an even longer tread life. Keep in mind though that these aren’t good substitutes for winter tires for extreme snow, sleet, and ice, nor are they a match for summer tires during high performance runs.
Types of All Season Tires
There are different types of All-Season Tires, they may all look the same to the untrained eye, but each variant differs in a number of factors including performance and longevity. Other factors the consumers take into consideration are handling, all-weather grip, noise, tread wear and even sometimes the price because one of the reasons why some drivers opt for these kinds of tires is because they find it more expensive having more than one set of tires to use on different seasons or weather conditions, not to mention the hassle of having to change the tires once or twice a year.
On safety-related aspects, you should consider these key performance factors when choosing which tire you should install on your car such as hydroplaning resistance (hydroplaning or aeroplaning is when water builds up underneath the tires preventing it from having full contact with the road and effectively giving you less control) and of course handling. For the aspect of value for money, consider factors like tread life which obviously affects your tires’ lifespan and rolling factor, which is the rate on how much energy your engine needs to produce in order to make your tires move and maintain it in a certain speed, this factors in a lot in your car's fuel economy.
Listed below are the types of all-season tires for you to consider.
Standard All Season Tires – this is the most common type used by consumers, it offers a better all year round grip, more comfortable drive and a longer lifespan. This is best for your everyday car or SUV. A good example of this type is the Pirelli P4 Seasons Plus, which offers amazing tread wear compared to other tires of similar type in the market
Performance All-Season (H and V) Tires – These tires offer improved grip, thus giving you better handling than the standard all-season tires on wet or dry roads, but because of softer rubber it should be expected that this type of all-season tires will have a lesser lifespan. One good model of this type is the Michelin Primacy MXV4 which offers better treadwear than most.
Ultra-High Performance (UHP) All Season Tires – These are used mostly on sports cars or high-performance vehicles, having more emphasis on extremely strong grip on wet or dry roads (or race tracks) giving amazing and responsive handling great for high-speed driving. This, though, sacrifices traction during the winter season, but still far more effective the Ultra High-Performance Summer tires that easily harden in cold weather reducing grip greatly.
All-Season Truck Tires – As the name suggests, these are basically standard all-season tires made for a wide variety of trucks and SUVs and offer the same excellent grip, longer lifespan and smooth rides as the standard all-season tires that are more intended for cars.
Overall, which tires you install on your vehicle will depend greatly on its purpose or what you need. There are a lot of tires available in the market that offer the factors mentioned above, just consider what you need before choosing any one of them.
The Confusion that is All-Weather Tires
One of the things that confuse tire buyers the most is figuring out the difference between an All-Weather Tire and an All-Season Tire. Their names suggest that they are practically the same, and obviously they are not. In fact, they are used in different weather conditions or seasons. All-Weather tires are basically a middle ground between the all-season tires and the winter tires. They are used mostly in urban areas with colder climates, as mentioned above, all-season tires shouldn’t be used in weather conditions that are colder than 7°C as this will cause the tires to become stiff giving it less traction. And yes this is where winter tires come in, which are best suited for colder climates and are designed to expel snow, but then again there’s the hassle of having to switch back to summer tires or all-season tires. This where all-weather tires shine if you live in a place that is usually cold and experience light to heavy winter weather. These types of tires, which are basically derived from performance all-season tires but gear towards winter seasons, have better handling the standard all-season tires on light ice and snow-covered roads but not as much as winter tires, although they have a better tread life than. As these tires don’t have as much braking and handling capabilities as winter or snow tires, they should not be used in extreme winter conditions. Always keep in mind that all-weather tires and all-season tires will never be a match for winter tires and summer tires when they are in their element, extremely cold weather, and extremely warm weather respectively.
Versus Summer Tires – Summer tire as the name suggest are used on warmer seasons or in areas that don’t experience heavy winter weather conditions, they provide more traction, more precise handling, greater resistance to hydroplaning, lesser rolling resistance and overall better traction on wet and dry roads than that standard all-season tires do, but the latter makes up for longer tread life and year-round usability. Summer tires are best used for your everyday driver but also great on high-performance vehicles as it offers great handling even on high-speed corners and better fuel economy because it requires less energy to keep it rolling.
In conclusion, if your area never gets snow or has a temperature that doesn't go below 15°C or warmer summer tires are the best option for you. These are best suited in warm urban areas that get the occasional rain because they offer better resistance to hydroplaning.
Versus Winter Tires – Winter tires as compared to all-season tires are made with softer rubber keeping it soft in extremely cold weather conditions, at the expense of tread life especially when driven in warmer weather conditions. They are designed similarly to all-season tires, or rather all-season tires are designed based on winter tires. They have a more aggressive and deeper tread pattern that helps expel snow as the tire rotates. Closed-cell bubbles that have outer layers that get cut and sharpened with road friction that serve like tiny bristles that wipe away the snow as you drive.
If your place is one that experiences extreme winter weather conditions or anywhere that is below 7°C more frequently, these tires are more suited for you than all-season tires as the latter can never be a replacement for the former.
Versus All-Weather Tires – Ok back to this confusing type of tire again. All-weather tires are derived from all-season tires, they are the middle ground of all-season tires and winter tires, pretty much like the all-season tires are the middle ground of summer tires and winter tires. All-weather tires though are geared more towards colder weather. All-weather tires significantly outperform all-season tires in heavy snow weather but not as well as winter tires, conversely, it will last longer during warmer weathers or during summer seasons but it can not match the performance of all-season tires.
So basically if your area experiences random snow or rain from time to time but not as much as extreme winter weather conditions, these tires should be your go-to set.
So basically, though your driving style and purpose will be a factor, your choice of tire type will depend mostly on the weather conditions of your place. Warmer weather and higher performance call for summer tires, even with the occasional heavy downpour as it provides the best handling in wet roads for its great resistance to hydroplaning. If you live in an area where it snows practically every time, you should opt for winter tires as they have softer rubber that doesn't get hard in cold weather and are designed to expel water and snow.
Now the tricky part is choosing between all-season and all-weather tires (and yes we too wish that they came up with a better name). Basically their performances are almost the same; they are best for places with unpredictable weather conditions. The difference would be that all-season tires are geared towards warmer weather but not in places that it’s always warm, on the other hand, the all-weather tires are geared towards colder regions where they experience light to moderate snowfall from time to time. The best part about all-season tires and all-weather tires is that in the right conditions, they can be used all year round, saving you the hassle of having to change tires once or twice a year. When it comes to saving money, though, some say that having two sets of tires, one for the winter and one for during the summer season, will get you more saving in the long run as you get double the tread life, still, a lot of consumers prefer having one set of tires as not have to go through the hassle of changing tires and being bothered to store them in the garage or condo lockers outweigh the saving you get with two sets of tires.
If you’re not using your car as a high-performance vehicle, we think that going with either all-season tires or all-weather tires (depending on your location of course) is still the best option if you’re using your car as your everyday commute within the city as they offer ample performance in a wider variety of road conditions. Practically, safety will always be more important than saving a few bucks, plus less the hassle of changing and storing the second set of tires.