5 differences between all-season and winter tyresWednesday 15th February 2023
Have you considered purchasing winter or all-season tyres but don’t know which is the best option for you? These 5 differences may help you decide.
Do you live in an area with winter tyre legislation?
In some parts of Europe, fitting winter tyres to your vehicle is mandatory, so if you live in such an area, you will need to use winter tyres. This requires a changeover from summer tyres when the temperature falls below 7 degrees, however different countries will have their own local laws specifying when winter tyres should be fitted from and to. Generally speaking, it is advised to drive on winter tyres between October and April.
The differences in performance and capabilities between all-season and winter tyres lie in the compound.
Winter tyres are made with an advanced silica compound that is generally softer than all-season tyres to allow it to grip better in extreme snow and ice. However, this makes them unsuitable to be driven on during summer in the dry or the wet as they wear quicker.
All-season tyres are developed with a harder compound than winter tyres, but not quite as hard as summer tyres, providing a middle ground which allows the tyre to be adaptable. The hardness of the compound provides good grip in wet and dry conditions for extra durability in summer, while it also offers a degree of flexibility for endurance in cold temperatures.
All-season tyres can be left on all year round
As the name suggests, all-season tyres are built to adapt from season to season, which means they don’t need to be changed over from summer to winter and vice versa. This eliminates the financial burden of switching and the logistical difficulties of storing them correctly.
Winter tyres can’t be used all year round
Winter tyres are specifically designed to perform best in wintry conditions. As soon as the temperature starts to get warmer, the softer compound becomes even softer, so grip is compromised, which in turn increases the wear on the tyre. They are also louder than summer tyres which is more noticeable in the warmer weather, making the overall driving experience less pleasurable.
Braking distances differ
All-season tyres have a longer braking distance than winter tyres in cold conditions due to the harder compound. However, in summer they are superior at braking over winter tyres.
In summary, winter tyres and all-season tyres each have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the needs of the driver and their locality.