If you live in an area that is prone to winter weather conditions, you’ll want to do everything possible to prepare for snow storms. From stocking up on salt to investing in a new shovel, there’s a lot to take into account. One of the most important considerations is the tires on your car, which help ensure that you can get from one place to another safely amidst a snowstorm. It’s not uncommon for people to debate between putting seasonal snow tires on their cars and just going for all-season tires. Read below to learn the pros and cons of the all-season choice to help you decide what's best.
What Is an All-Season Tire?
Before getting into the pros and cons of this type of important vehicle component, you may be wondering what exactly constitutes an “all-season” tire. Well, they’re exactly as they sound: tires that can be used on your car throughout every season of the year. These tires don’t have the same compound in their rubber that winter snow tires do, but they’re made specifically to provide stellar all-season performance, providing a smooth and quiet ride that is also fuel-efficient.
The Pros Of All-Season Tires
Saying yes to all-season tires has a wide range of benefits. Read about them below.
As mentioned above, all-season tires are suitable to use throughout the entirety of the year. They’re designed to take on all weather conditions, and they’re approved for mud and snow by the Rubber Manufacturers Association. Because they’re made to stand up to all kinds of weather, they’re durable, possessing treadwear that performs well in both wet and dry conditions. Most all-weather tires are marked with an “M+S” label on their sidewall to symbolize that they’re certified to stand up to mud and snow.
Notably, all-season tires are less costly than snow tires. It’s as simple as that! Opting for a specialized set of snow tires means that they’ll need to be professionally changed when the season hits, which isn’t the case with all-season tires. Snow tires, with proper care, can usually last about six years, but most of the cost associated with them revolves around having them put on and taken off by a professional each time winter rolls around or comes to a close. The use of all-season tires means fewer trips to the mechanic and fewer car-related expenses.
As conveyed above, all-season tires stay on your car all the time, which means less time spent at the repair shop for tire swaps. It goes without saying that this is a huge convenience factor in anyone’s hectic schedule.
The Cons Of All-Season Tires
To counter the pros of these tires, there are also some downsides. Let’s explore them below.
They're Geared More Towards Light Snow
If you live in an area that receives heavy snowstorms (think frequent blizzards or storms dumping feet of snow), all-season tires may not be the right route for you. This is because they’re geared more towards light snowfall as well as more mild temperatures. While they can stand the test of cold weather, anything well below freezing may make things tricky, as it may cause tire treads to harden, reducing the traction between the tire and the road. The more cold weather these tires are faced with, the more likely they are to lose elasticity, which doesn’t mean good things for their performance or lifespan.
Shallow Tread Patterns
This con is along the same vein as the one above it. All-season tires have shallow tread patterns, which are usually good at providing a smooth ride. However, shallow treads don’t work well with deep snow. They’re simply not designed to grip heavy snow and ice, making driving in those conditions less than safe.
While all-season tires may be the right choice for some climates, they may also not provide enough safety for those who live in areas with harsher weather conditions or for those who are prone to an abundance of snow and ice throughout the winter. This comes down to making a personal choice surrounding what works best for your car, location, and family.