Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires

Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires

One common question car owners hear during the winter is why you are not using winter tires. Most cars that roll out of the factory are fitted with all-season tires. The big question is whether or not all-season tires are right for winter. To help you find the right answer, we have compared winter tires and all-season tires to help you know which one is best for you.


All-season tires function well above 45°F. These tires are designed for performance and good tread life. All-season tires give you good traction performance on dry and wet roads. The tires also provide adequate traction performance in light winter driving. However, these tires fail miserably when it comes to driving on ice or trekking through snow. The reason is that the rubber of all-season tires hardens at extremely cold temperatures. The rubber acts like a hardened plastic ball that has minimum grip on ice or snow covered surfaces. All-season tires just roll on snow-covered roads.

Winter tires are specially designed to handle extremely cold weather conditions. The rubber of these tires stays soft even at subzero temperatures. Since the tread rubber stays soft in cold temperatures, the tires grip the icy road surface and provide good traction performance.

Rubber and Other Compounds

Rubber is the main raw material used in all tires. The primary difference is the types of rubber and other compounds used to construct tires. Winter tires have a larger amount of natural rubber and silica in the mixture that keeps the rubber soft even at subzero temperatures. On the other hand, the all-season tire has predetermined amounts of natural and synthetic rubber, carbon black and other chemical compounds.

Tread Design

Winter tires have a directional pattern. The channels that run across the circumference of the tires are wider which helps in expelling snow and slush faster. The tread design of the winter tire also has sipes which are small slits in the tread design. Sipes give more traction in wet and muddy roads which are common in winter. All-season tires have an asymmetrical design and the tread design is different on the inner and outer side of the tire. The tread design on the inner side helps with faster water displacement and also prevents aquaplaning. The tread design on the outer side helps with better grip while turning. Since the all-season tire is designed for prolonged life, the asymmetrical design also helps in controlling uneven wear of tires.

Does Your Car Need Winter Tires?

It depends largely on the climate of your region. If the place you stay receives moderate to heavy snowfall during the winter season, winter tires will increase your safety while driving. If the place you stay receives less snowfall and the roads are not covered with snow, you can continue with all-season tires.

Depending on these factors, you must choose the right type of tires for your vehicle.