Winter Tires Vs. All-Season Tires

There are a lot of questions that circulate about what kind of tires are recommended going into the winter months. The most common being, “Do I need winter or snow tires?” It’s not uncommon to be confused and frustrated when researching tires online.  There are a lot of different options and a lot of opinions regarding the best brands and tire manufacturers.

Living in the Mid-Atlantic region, snow-covered roads and icy road conditions are common during the winter months. And while it can seem like a hassle and a really large expense to have two sets of tires for your vehicle, but it can be an expense that saves you and your car a lot of damage when the roads get slick.   

Not sure what kind of tires you need? Let’s compare winter tires with all-season tires and see what a huge difference a set of tires can make.

Winter Tires: Made for Ice and Snow

Between heavy snowfalls and black ice, winter roads can be very unpredictable, and scary if you aren’t equipped with the proper tires. Winter tires are made with snow, ice, and wintery conditions in mind. These tires use a specific rubber compound that stay pliable in the cold temperatures. This gives the tire better grip and improved braking when the roads are slick.

The tread pattern on winter tires is larger with deep grooves that pushes the snow away from getting stuck in the tires, preventing the snow from getting stuck in the tread. This allows for greater grip and traction.  

Regardless of whether you have a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle, winter tires should only be installed as a set of four. Using two different kinds of tires can cause poor handling, safety, and vehicle control, not to mention the tires will wear down unevenly.  

All-Season Tires: Made for Moderate Temperatures

All-season tires are built to handle a variety of road conditions: dry, wet, and even light snow. But as temperatures drop, these tires will harden. This creates less traction between your tires and the road, leading to sliding and skidding on harsh winter roads.

The tread on all-season tires is designed for traction in all types of moderate weather – rain, dry, and slight snow. Unlike winter tires, they are not designed with the deep-grooved tread. However, because they have smaller tread, all-season tires generally provide a smoother ride and have become the standard on vehicles.  

If you don’t live in an area that typically sees a lot of snow, tires that handle better in wet conditions and provide maximum traction on wet roads are your safest choice.