Tire Talk: The Difference Between All-Wheel And Winter Tires

Car driving through snow

Let’s face it – driving in winter-weather conditions can be unnerving. And when the tires on your car aren’t up-to-par, driving in the winter can be downright dangerous. However, when it comes to choosing which type of tire is best for your car, things can get a bit confusing. Should you purchase a set of snow tires? Would all-weather tires be better for your particular situation? Should you splurge for a set of both, just to be safe?

Pros Of Winter Tires


  • Snow tires have better grip. Do you frequently drive on roads that are covered in snow or a sheet of ice? If so, snow tires trump all-weather tires largely because they have superior grip. Not only are these tires designed with a soft, adhesive rubber, but they also have very deep treads that allow for ultimate traction even in the most hazardous conditions. In fact, studies show that winter tires deliver 25 to 50 percent more traction than all-season tires.


  • Winter tires are best for breaking in bad weather. You’ve probably been there: that moment when you’re driving in snowy, icy conditions and the moment you attempt to break, your wheels lock up and you slide uncontrollably to a frantic hault. With a set of winter tires, the chances of this happening are greatly reduced. Thanks to the exceptional gripping abilities of winter-tire tread, you can break where you need to, when you need to.


Cons of Winter Tires


  • Winter tires wear quickly. Though the soft, grippy rubber is ideal when it comes to providing ultimate traction, the material tends to wear down quicker than all-season or summer tires. Sure, winter tires are great in winter conditions, but dry roads or non-wintery conditions can quickly deteriorate the tread quality of the tire.


  • Snow tires can affect the handling of your car. Snow tires are known for less-precise handling than all-weather tires simply because of the way they are designed. The soft rubber of winter tires has more give and mobility, and the durable rubber of all-season tires offers better handling in dry conditions.


Pros of All-Weather Tires


  • You don’t have to change all-weather tires as the seasons change. One of the greatest benefits of all-weather tires is that you don’t have to worry about changing them the second the seasons change. All-weather tires can stay on your car year-round and are also designed with winter-driving conditions in mind. The tread pattern on all-weather tires was created with high-tech compounds that can handle snow, slush and ice, just as they can handle warm, dry conditions. 


  • All-weather tires are ideal for unpredictable climates. Do you live in a place where it could be a blizzard one day and spring-like conditions the next? If so, all-weather tires are the best solution for you. They work better on winter roads than summer tires and better on summer roads than winter tires. In places where the weather can be unpredictable, all-weather tires are the best solution.


Cons of All-Weather Tires


  • All-weather tires could lose grip as the temperature drops. Though all-weather tires undoubtedly have better grip in winter conditions than summer tires, their quality does deteriorate as the temperature drops. Once the temperature reaches about 44 degrees Fahrenheit, the rubber compound reaction within the tire begins to lose its softness, meaning you could be losing a noticeable amount of traction in any type of wet-weather condition.


  • All-weather tires wear quickly in warm conditions. Most all-weather tires should have a symbol on the side that indicates they are certified for driving in harsh winter conditions. However, in hot summer weather, the temperature within the tire could become too soft for its own good, meaning that spring and summer driving causes significant wear and tear on your all-weather tires and will ultimately require you to change these tires more frequently.


At Heuer Insurance Agency, we deeply value the importance of winter car safety. Use these pros-and-cons to help you determine which type of tire will keep you safe and sound in even the most harsh winter conditions.