It’s a longstanding debate that’s brought up every single year as the snow begins to fall.
Are winter tires truly better than all-season tires?
The answer? It depends on where you live.
Unfortunately, while all-season tires are often described as tires which can withstand all types of weather, it’s not actually true. The tires are misnamed, but still very popular with drivers. All-season tires are built to provide the ultimate year-round performance. They are capable of providing decent traction on wet roads and even in light snow, but as soon as the snow becomes heavier and the weather drops below 7°C, all-season tires begin to lose their traction.
Winter tires, on the other hand, are specifically designed to withstand colder temperatures and maintain better traction on icy roads. The rubber in winter tires is able to remain softer and therefore more flexible as the temperature drops, whereas the rubber all-season tires are made of tend to harden, making the tires unable to grip the roads properly. Therefore, unless you’re living somewhere which doesn’t see a lot of snow and freezing temperatures, winter tires are the best way to stay safe on winter roads.
Does this mean I can keep my winter tires on all year?
We suggest you don’t.
Similar to how all-season tires have less traction in temperatures below 7°C, winter tires will lose their traction in warmer weather. The softness of the rubber in winter tires, which is good for colder weather, will actually start to wear faster on warm, dry pavement. As the snow and ice melt away, you no longer need the deeper treads and flexibility winter tires have, therefore it’s better for your vehicle (and your wallet!) if you switch your winter tires out for summer or all-season tires.