Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires
Today, the majority of cars rolling out of the factory are fitted with all-season tires. As the winter approaches, car owners are in a dilemma whether to purchase winter tires. Some car owners have the opinion that all-season tires are good for winter too. We have provided you a comparison between winter and all-season tires that will help you make the right decision.
What is the Main Difference Between Winter and All-Season Tires?
The main difference between winter tires and all-season tires is the rubber composition. The rubber of all-season tires is not suited for temperatures below 45°F. The treads of all-season tires harden at temperatures below 45°F. According to experts, the tread rubber should be soft for better grip of the surface.
On the other hand, the rubber composition of winter tires is suited for extreme cold temperatures. This means the tread of winter tires stays softs and makes good contact with the surface for better grip on snow and icy roads.
Tread Design of Winter Tires and All-Season Tires
The unique feature of winter tires is the tread pattern and deeper tread depths. The tread patterns are designed to expel water and channel snow toward an outward direction. The tread depth of winter tires is deeper in comparison to all-season tires. The deeper tread channels prevent snow build up. The winter tires are narrower than all-season tires which helps the tires wade its way through the snow.
Winter tire treads also feature a number of slits which break the tread pattern into smaller blocks. It increases the tread area leading to increased traction performance. Some winter tires also have metal studs inserted in the tread pattern to increase traction performance further.
On the other hand, all-season tires are wider. The tread depth of all-season tires is less in comparison. In fact, the unidirectional tread pattern is specifically designed to reduce rolling resistance and noise.
Braking Performance of Winter Tires and All-Season Tires on Icy Roads
Braking distance is an important safety factor related to tires. According to experts, winter tires have shorter braking distance on icy roads. At speeds between 5 to 20 miles per hour, winter tires had a braking distance of 6.7 meters on roads covered with moderate snow. In other tests, winter tires stopped six meters shorter than all-season tires on loose snow.
When Should You Use Winter Tires?
If the region you live in receives moderate to heavy snowfall, winter tires are a must for your car. However, if the roads are not covered with snow in the region you live, your car can do better with all-season tires. You need to understand that the winter tire is specifically designed for performance and safety while driving on snow-covered and icy roads.
With winter tires, the risks of an accident with you “at fault” are greatly reduced. Consider these factors to make an informed decision.