Car Maintenance Car Safety

Winter Tires Versus All-Season Tires: Which are Right for You?

This time of year, many drivers start to wonder if they should invest in winter tires or if their all-season tires will be enough to get them through the upcoming season. While the answer varies depending on the driver and location, we thought we would offer some advice to help you stay safe on the roads this winter. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of both all-season and winter tires, as well as which option is right for you based on the weather and road conditions you typically drive in.

All-Season Tires

Most vehicles nowadays come off the line with all-season tires because they offer incredible versatility for those who drive year-round. They tend to have a great tread life, provide a smooth ride, and perform well in all types of road and weather conditions, including wet and light snow-covered roads. They are incredibly convenient, and for those who aren’t planning on driving in extreme weather conditions, they can be a fantastic option.
But that is where the trouble comes into play. An all-season tire isn’t designed to handle heavy snow and icy roads. It isn’t designed to give you a top performance in summer weather conditions either. For these things, you need a specific type of tire. What an all-season tire is designed to do, is provide a fantastic performance in moderate weather conditions year round.

Winter Tires

Unlike all-season tires, winter tires are built specifically for driving in extreme winter weather conditions — but you probably already knew that. What you want to know is why and how they enhance your winter driving ability. Well, in simple terms, snow-tires decrease your stopping distance on ice, increase your traction on snow, and can assist you in maintaining control of your vehicle even when confronted with black ice, white-out snowfall, and sub-zero temperatures. This is due to two distinct features:

  • Tread Rubber Compound – To understand what makes a snow tire fantastic on a winter road, you must first understand how a tire works. Tires are able to stick to the road by gripping and conforming to small imperfections in the road’s surface. The rubber treads in your tires essentially wrap themselves around bumps and other protrusions so that they can grip their driving surface. In the winter, cold temperatures make the rubber in all-season tires stiff and inflexible, preventing them from properly adhering to the road. Winter tires, however, are made from a rubber that keeps them pliable year round.
  • Tread Design – Tread design is another factor that influences your vehicle’s traction on the road. Winter tires are designed with a deeper tread depth than all-season tires, which prevents snow, sleet, ice, and other particulates from clogging them up. A tire that is packed with snow cannot properly grip the road and thus provides less traction.

So, winter tires or all-season tires?

The answer to this question depends entirely on the driver. If you typically face heavy snowfall and icy roads during the winter, snow tires are a fantastic investment to make. They will provide you with better traction and handling during the winter, and (assuming you typically have all-season tires on your vehicle) they will lead to a longer life for your all-season tires. If, however, you live in a location where winter weather conditions are minor, all-season tires should be excellent for year-round driving.

As Michigan and Indiana natives, we know all about winter.

Here at Car City, we have locations across West Michigan, as well as in South Bend, Indiana. This time of year, we like to reach out to non-driving commuters and let them know that a vehicle is an option for them. We don’t like seeing our neighbors and friends walking through the snow, riding bikes on icy roads, or waiting for the bus in below freezing temperatures. That is why we’ve committed to getting anyone in a vehicle for just $39 down — no matter their credit score.
If you or someone you know needs to get a vehicle before the winter weather really hits, please contact us. With our extensive inventory of vehicles, we can find the perfect car for you at the perfect price. Bring a little warmth to your winter and schedule a visit with us today!