One is ideal for all seasons, while the other helps you brave the year’s coldest season: it’s the age-old debate of all-weather vs. winter tires.
You may have heard different things from different friends and family members, so we wanted to let you in on how the insurance industry views them.
What are all-weather tires?
All-weather tires are essentially enhanced versions of all-season tires. All-season tires are known for being able to handle most seasons relatively well, but lacking the same level of traction compared to summer tires or winter tires in their respective seasons.
An all-weather tire gains grip during the winter time by using rubber compounds similar to winter tires. However, it’s still sturdy enough to manage both slippery, snowy roads in December and hot highway roads in July. They possess an H and above speed rating (up to 210 km/h), making them durable enough at different temperatures and terrains.
These tires are ideal for use when winter conditions are milder, such as heavy rain, slush, and snow that melts quickly. On wet and dry freezing pavement, these tires hold their own a bit better than standard all-season tires.
What are winter tires?
Winter tires are built specifically for use between December and March, and are the go-to option for many drivers to ease their driving conditions. Studded winter tires are ideal for harsh winter conditions with plenty of snow, ice, and freezing water on the road.
Their non-studded counterparts are also tailor-made for harsh winter conditions, but more so when there are heavy snowfalls and less ice.
Regular tire rubber hardens once temperatures drop below 7°C, making winter tires a necessity due to their flexibility. Their grip improves once the temperature falls under that mark, sporting a tread design with larger gaps (which you can learn how to check here), which allows for increased traction on the road. During the harshest of winter months, these tires will make you feel secure no matter the conditions.
The key difference between all-weather and winter tires
While winter tires tend to be the popular choice for handling driving during colder months, all-weather tires are becoming trendier for their convenience. For urban drivers, all-weather tires are becoming a common go-to solution as they tend to travel on ploughed roads most frequently. These tires also include a winter rating much like winter tires.
However, all-weather tires aren’t ideal for those -10°C days when several inches of snow have fallen and you’re figuring out how you’re going to get to work. They won’t perform as well as dedicated winter tires in the more severe conditions, but they are convenient to access. Winter tires come with tire changeovers and the accompanying costs, but discounts exist to offset those costs.
All-weather tires also have improved mileage and noise levels over winter tires, making them an attractive option for driving up to your cabin or some distant getaway. Tires such as the Nokian WRG3, Toyo Celsius, and Hankook Optima 4S are some recommendations if you’re looking for all-weather tires.
A drawback is that Ontario’s auto insurance companies may decide not to offer winter tire discounts on all-weather tires despite their solid winter safety rating—so be sure to check your policy or with your provider before buying any new tires. For discounts, there’s a clear winner in the debate of all-weather vs. winter tires.
Despite changeover costs, winter tires are safer to utilize as they will get you through those snowstorms safer than their all-weather compatriots. Because their rubber compound is designed to stay soft throughout even the coldest moments of the season, winter tires are wise investments for encountering black ice and hard-packed snow, conditions that often affect long-distance and highway drivers.
Which tires you should invest in
Neither is a bad choice for winter time as they both are designed to withstand winter’s harshness to varying degrees. However, if you live somewhere that tends to have tough winters, winter tires may be your best bet. If your winters are milder and roads are often ploughed, then all-weather tires might be right for you.
In the end, you want tires that will keep you safe. Costs will make you think twice, but choosing the right tire could save your life, not just your money.
Warm up to the auto insurance deals this winter. Get a quote and buy your insurance online.