The climate is changing so much that those who use seasonal tires, replacing tires in their cars twice a year, may feel disappointed this year. All-season tire users are the winners. All-season tires are rightly gaining popularity, they are getting better, but it is still not the optimal option for everyone. So: for whom?
– All-season tires are ideally suited to light winter and not very hot summer conditions
– The contraindication to using all-season tires is the high power of the car’s engine and a sporty driving style
– All-season tires can be legally used wherever winter tires are required
From a formal, and in many cases also from a technical point of view, all-season tires are winter tires that you can also ride in the summer. Every good all-season tire carries the 3PMSF symbol (snowflake against the backdrop of three mountain peaks), which means in practice that it meets at least the minimum requirements for winter tires in winter conditions. All-season tires bearing the 3PMSF symbol can be legally used in any country where there is an obligation to use winter tires. And how do you ride all-season tires? All-season tire performance, which is a good compromise.
All-season tires, when dealing with extreme conditions, cannot provide as good performance as comparable-grade seasonal tires. And yet … very many drivers who use all-season tires declare satisfaction with their choice. Good all-season tires, if we do not demand too much from them and the conditions are moderate, behave exemplary: they are quiet, comfortable, guarantee sufficient grip in all conditions. Not only that, regardless of the rapidly changing weather conditions, the driver may feel prepared for them. There is no need to schedule tire changes at the right time, the cost of replacing entire wheels or tires is no more. The same advantages?
Under extreme conditions, seasonal tires better?
Extreme conditions include both a dozen or even more severe frost associated with snow and ice on the road, as well as … heat that heats the asphalt to several dozen degrees Celsius. The rubber compound of each (!) Tire stiffens as the temperature decreases and becomes more plastic, less stiff when it gets warmer. It’s just that the better the material the tires are made of, the less its response to temperature changes. In addition, the design of tire tread blocks (both winter and all-season) from the top shelf, the details of which are usually invisible from the outside, makes the tread elements sliding between them block each other, stiffening the tire structure exposed to high overloads.
Except that the summer tires are made of a compound stiffer in principle than the one used for winter and all-season tires, while the tread of winter tires is always slightly more plastic at low temperature than the tread of summer and all-season tires. It is worth knowing that modern winter tires, especially the really good ones, are well adapted to the so-called light winter, during which there is little snow and a lot of rain, and temperatures often in the plus. They are also perfect for frost. Only if in winter conditions – not winter conditions can you notice these advantages at all?
Who should not buy all-season tires?
Fast car users who benefit from their maximum performance will be disappointed with all-season tires, especially in summer. Although normal driving on such tires is completely safe and comfortable, dynamic driving a strong car in corners will not only cause rapid wear, but also insufficient stability of the vehicle will be felt when cornering
Users of heavy and strong SUVs should rather use good seasonal tires. In this type of cars, the overloads affecting tires are so great that even good seasonal tires wear relatively quickly, and all-season tires – even faster
People driving a lot on long distances – all-season tires do not make sense, because they are not cheaper than seasonal ones, and they will wear just as quickly – when opting for all-season tires, we give up maximum grip in extreme conditions without measurable benefits in return.
If you have used only premium seasonal tires so far, you will feel the difference in the precision of driving (especially in summer) and this will be a kind of disappointment.
Who should consider riding on all-season tires?
you drive little and rather in the city or its surroundings – many used cars are in such conditions, all-season tires will work perfectly in such a situation; Instead of using two sets of tires that age sooner than wear out, you can have one set of tires that has sufficient performance
you have a car with low or moderate performance, so far you have used medium-class tires – in practice you would not appreciate top-shelf tires because you have no conditions for it
in extreme weather in winter you don’t use the car anyway
you drive defensively as a rule – you don’t need tires that pass the test during offensive, “sporty” driving – so all-season rubbers are something for you, right?
If you meet the above criteria, you can think about buying all-season tires even at the next tire change.
Tip: not wanting to feel the discomfort of using all-season tires, choose premium all-season tires – their performance will roughly correspond to the performance of seasonal tires from a slightly lower shelf, while acoustic and mechanical comfort will be exemplary. You won’t save a lot on the tires themselves, but you won’t change them twice a year, which saves you time and money.
Avoid all-season tires from the lowest shelf of unknown Far Eastern brands – unless used or retreaded tires are an alternative because of the limited budget – then it’s different.