What's the difference between winter and all-season tires?

When do you put on snow tires?

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

It can be hard to know which tires are best for your car and for your geography. Should you get all-season tires, or does it make more sense to take off your regular tires and put on winter or snow tires once the temperatures drop and the roads become icy? Let’s take a closer look at the difference between winter and all-season tires. 

[READ MORE: How to Drive in a Blizzard]

Winter Tires

Winter tires were designed to deal with the challenge of icy roads. This means they need to be able to grip the road a little better. They do this by being a little softer and more flexible. While these characteristics are a benefit on the ice, they also mean that the tires will wear out more quickly. As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t remove your snow tires until you’ve had a full week of temperatures over forty degrees. It’s hard to say when you might have an unexpected snowstorm, but you also don’t want to leave them on so long that you are wearing them down.

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All-Season Tires

Dad and daughter changing tireWhat is an all-season tire? Most cars leave the factory with an all-season tire. They are good in the rain and in light snow. They are less effective on icy roads because they are not pliable in freezing temperatures and this affects their grip. What an all-season tire does deliver is a quieter ride and good fuel economy. It makes sense as these tires are used the most over time and seasons. However, if you live in an icy area or use a lot of tertiary that aren’t salted or de-iced, it is very important that you have winter tires.

After Winter

Once you have had a week of above 40-degree temperatures you can switch from your winter tires to your all-season tires. If you like we can do this for you. You may also want us to look at the front alignment, as winter can lead to potholes and other maintenance issues. Why not schedule a maintenance appointment? Or come in and talk to someone in parts about tires?