All-season versus snow tires: What’s the difference?

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

All-season versus snow tires: What’s the difference?

All season tires can perform reasonably well in most weather, but not quite as much on snow and ice.

When you think of ‘all-season’ tires and ‘winter’ or ‘snow’ tires, do you think that they’re the same, or that they perform equally?

Many people think that all-season tires work equally well in all weather conditions, but when it comes to snow and icy patches on the road this winter, those tires may not be your best option.

According to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire manager Rich Campbell, all-season tires are designed to perform reasonably well in all seasons, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best tires to put on your car for the winter months.

“In an all-season tire you’ll feel relatively comfortable, but as soon as you get some snow and ice in there, they don’t perform nearly as well. You may lose the ability to brake – which in winter driving, is one of the important things is being able to stop. You can get moving on almost any tire, but they will lose grip when you start to apply the brakes, whereas a winter and snow tire, you’ll gain that grip back,” said Campbell.

All-season versus snow tires: What’s the difference?

Winter and snow tires give you extra grip on those icy roads.

One way to ensure that you get additional traction, grip and safety without purchasing winter or snow tires is to select tires with the mountain snowflake rating. But if you’re serious about ensuring that your vehicle has as much traction as possible in the snow and ice, then snow tires are the way to go, according to Campbell.

“Typically snow tires are purposefully built. They have a chemical compound that keeps them pliable – or soft – in the extreme cold, to maximize grip. They also are designed with certain siping, a certain tread block, to give maximum traction. Also, some of those come with the ability to be studded,” said Campbell.

Many performance vehicles, like Audi and BMW, tend to come with a summer tire, which won’t safely get you through the winter months.

“You can’t really put a price on being able to stop 10 to 15 feet sooner, to avoid an accident,” said Campbell.

All-season versus snow tires: What’s the difference?

Those extra 10 to 15 feet of brake time you gain with snow tires can make a huge difference.

Drivers can invest in a good set of winter or snow tires for the colder months, and then store them during the summer, and switch over to summer or all season tires. This helps keep your vehicle and passengers safe in all weather, throughout the year.

There are many options available for winter and snow tires. HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire carries winter and snow tires from several established tire companies including Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear and Pirelli.