All-Weather Tires – The Tip of the Iceberg

If you experience a cold and snowy winter, you are no stranger to snow tires. But you don’t need full on winter tires for some light snow or slush. All-weather tires are making a splash for drivers in the colder parts of the country, and a case to replace snow tires outright – here’s what you need to know before putting them on your vehicle.

What’s the difference between all-season and all-weather tires?

All-season tires All-season tires literally stand for what the name suggests – tires that are able to get you through the mildest conditions you might face in all seasons. Whether it’s baking hot asphalt in the summer, some spring rain, the early-morning coolness of fall or light snow in winter, a good set of all-season tires should be able to handle it.

However, if you’re in a part of the country that gets a lot of snow (especially all at once) you’re at the very least going to need to use tire chains on top of your all-season tires. Keep in mind that local laws may vary on where tire chains and studded tires are allowed.

Here’s where all-weather tires come in. All-weather tires are designed to deliver a strong performance year-round regardless of weather conditions (so long as snow weather is light). The tread blocks on all-weather tires are set apart to cope with snow while lessening the need for snow chains or for owning a separate set of snow tires.

With crisscross and zigzag tread patterning designed specifically to get a grip on snow and ice, they also usually retain a deep, straight tread channel in the middle that expels water and slush out from the tire to prevent hydroplaning.

All-weather tires vs. all-season tires:

  • Performance – All-season tires usually have shorter stopping distances in dry weather and may ride or handle better. All-weather tires are usually superior on wet roads and will have a clear edge in ice, slush and snow at a compromise of some ride comfort, tire noise and handling sharpness.
  • Convenience – All-weather tires definitely win this one. Because you can leave them on between seasons, you don’t need to change to full-on snow tires or purchase separate steel wheels for winter driving. All-season tires don’t offer the same luxury.

Since all-weather tires can go on your stock wheels like any other tire, your factory TPMS system can be used when changing to all-weather tires – giving you an extra safety buffer when the first cold front rolls in, while saving you considerable money on new tires, wheels and TPMS systems.

While we don’t have a dedicated section for all weather tires (yet), some specific all-weather tire models we carry include the BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport, BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT and Nokian WR G3, which include specific SUV variants.

Are all-weather tires as good as winter tires?

All-weather tires offer comparable, if somewhat diminished winter tire performance both in stopping distances and acceleration grip in snow – but with none of the inconvenience of winter tire changeovers or any extra purchases of specific winter tires and wheels.

However, legitimate winter tires, especially heavy-duty and snow tires or tire chains are currently still the best-performing, most reliable and safest options in whiteout conditions.

At the end of the day, the best winter tire for you could have a lot of factors. It’s based on the kind of vehicle you drive, the severity and predictability of snow in your region, your budget, your schedule and more. However, keep in mind that you won’t go wrong with a set of all-weather tires if you’re looking for an upgrade over your original equipment all-season tires.

Whichever you're leaning toward, give us a call or stop in at your nearest Discount Tire location and we'll get you taken care of!

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