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Are all-season tires worth it?

Choosing which tires to put on your vehicle can be an overwhelming process. There are several tire types and hundreds of different models manufactured by many different companies. All-season tires have been the standard used by many drivers as their year-round tire but are they the best choice?

The Benefits of All-Season Tires

The benefits of all-season tires include:

  • Cost
  • Ride comfort
  • Reduced noise level
  • Functions well in dry warm weather
  • Outperform summer tires in wet weather
  • Longer tread life (and therefore longer tire life)

The Cons of All-Season Tires

Here are some cons of all-season tires:

  • Lose effectiveness (such as with grip handling braking) below 7C
  • Treads are not engineered for heavy snow or slush
  • Poor performance on ice and snow

With all the different models of tires available however individual performance will vary. Some tires also have a M+S stamped on them meaning they are better suited for mud and snow driving. These tires will have better traction.

Don’t get confused between all season and all weather tires – they’re very different ! All weather tires are manufactured with a different rubber compound that allows them to perform well beneath 7C. This combined with different treads translates into better performance on the ice snow and even plain wet roads. The compromise is a noisier less comfortable ride and a higher purchasing price.

Winter tires are another option. They provide even better functionality in colder temperatures and adverse weather conditions but must be changed out in warmer weather to prevent excessive wear on the treads.

All-seasons are good tire for late spring summer and early fall but they are not the best choice when the snow starts to fall and the temperature starts to get cold. They won’t brake grip or handle as well as an all-weather or winter tire in winter conditions.

Things to Consider Before Buying All-Season Tires

Here are a few things to consider before you buy all-season tires (or any tires really):

  • Cost
  • Longevity/tire life
  • Local weather
  • Type of vehicle
  • Kind of driving
  • Tire/wheel size
  • Installation included
  • Storage

These considerations will help you choose the best tire type and the best model. Look for tread types and speed ratings that match the kind of driving you do but know that higher performance also comes at a cost.

All seasons are an excellent choice for later spring summer and early fall months. They perform well in dry conditions and can handle the wet weather in these seasons. But as Canadian winters are cold long and often bring seriously adverse weather conditions all-weather and winter tires are by far the safer options.