Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires
Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires
While researching the right tires for the winter season, you will come across two types of tires such as winter tires and all-season tires. Most people get confused between these two and are unable to decide the right type of tire for their car during winter. We’re here to help by comparing winter tires and all-season tires.
The two main characteristics of tires are the chemical composition and tread pattern. The rubber composition of winter tires is specifically developed for extreme, cold temperatures. Their chemical composition includes natural and butadiene rubber, silica, specific silane coupling agent, carbon black and some chemical compounds. All-season tires have a traditional composition that includes natural and synthetic rubber, carbon black, fabric, wire and other chemical compounds.
The tread design is the second most important part in tires. Winter tires have a directional pattern. The tire has a central stability rib that provides firm grip and solid center stability. The tread pattern on both sides expels water quickly and resists aquaplaning. Winter tires tread design have small slits known as sipes. The sipes provide adequate sharp edges to bite through the ice. Siping is also known to increase traction performance. Some winter tires also have metal studs inserted in the tread rubber which enhances traction performance of winter tires further.
All-season tires feature an asymmetrical pattern. The outer shoulder and inner shoulder have different tread patterns. The inner shoulder tread pattern works for faster water displacement and reduces the hydroplaning effect. The outer shoulder tread pattern works for cornering stability and better traction performance. All-season tires have deeper channels running across the circumference that reduce noise and increases ride comfort. In simple words, the tread design of all-season tires aims for traction performance in a variety of road conditions. The tread pattern also reduces rolling resistance which increases tread life.
Performance on Icy Roads
All-season tires don’t perform well in colder temperatures. According to tire experts, all-season tires perform well above 45°F. All-season tires harden at colder temperatures and start behaving like a hard plastic ball. At colder temperatures, they do not provide adequate traction performance and tires slip on icy roads. On snow-covered roads, all-season tires spin fruitlessly and cannot wade through the snow. The deeper channels that run across the circumference get clogged by snow and slush leading to dismal traction performance. According to tire experts, on icy roads, all-season tires increase the chances of “at fault” accidents significantly.
The tread rubber of winter tires stays soft even at subzero temperatures and grip even minute protrusions on smooth, icy roads firmly. The tread pattern on both sides expels water but grips ice which enhances traction performance.
Which Tires are Right for the Winter Season?
All-season tires are right for you if the area you live in does not receive heavy snowfall. If the roads are only covered with snow for five to six days and only for a few hours, you don’t need winter tires. If the area you live in receives heavy snowfall and temperatures fall below 32°F, your car needs winter tires.