When you buy a car, you’ll hear a lot about all-season tires. Generally, they seem to be the most common type of tires installed on cars. Many drivers wonder if all-season really means all-season. If so, why do we need winter tires on our vehicles? The answer is a little more complex than you may think.

For northern communities like Brockton, Randolph, and Stoughton, there may be a good reason to switch to winter tires vs. all-season radials in the colder months of the year.

There are a few important differences betweenwinter tires and all-season tires. These differences can make a huge impact on your car’s handling and ability to navigate through difficult weather and environmental conditions depending on where you live. What are the key differences between all-season and winter tires and why can’t you use winter tires year-round?

All-Season Tires

roadtirelowWhen your car first left the factory, there’s a good chance it was outfitted with all-season tires. These are designed to provide good, solid handling, a quiet and smooth ride, ideal fuel economy, and strong tread life. They tend to be versatile in the weather conditions they can handle, including rain and light snow. In the end, they’re designed to provide a neat balance between touring tires—which you’d use just in the summer—and winter tires.

They don’t, however, offer the best of both worlds. Rather, they represent a solid middle ground. That means they make compromises in performance between conditions. They don’t provide the grip and handling of touring tires, nor do they provide the traction offered by winter tires.

Winter Tires

Winter tires, on the other hand, are specifically designed for maximum tread on the unpredictable road conditions of winter driving. Between cold temperatures, snow, ice, and other environmental hazards, driving in the winter requires tires that use the right type of rubber, have high tread depth and patterns, and can grip the ground solidly.

The rubber of winter tires is much softer than that of all-season, which tends to get hard and less pliable in the cold. Winter tires also have exceptionally deep treads and patterns that channel snow and slush into the tire and expel water out to keep the tire in contact with the pavement.

Why Not Just Use Winter Tires?

The trade-off of the increased traction you get with winter tires is that because winter tires grip so much and their rubber is so soft, if you use them outside of their intended conditions, they tend to wear out fast. They also don’t provide the handling that all-season tires do, so in the warmer months, your fuel economy will suffer, as will your steering capability, especially at higher speeds.

If you need new tires or would like more information on different types of tires and you live in the Stoughton, Randolph, or Brockton areas, visit us at Collision 24 for your vehicle needs or for more information on our services.