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.

Winter Car Safety Checklist

snow car

Winter driving can often be unpredictable and change in the blink of an eye. A seemingly sunny day can turn dark and stormy, leaving you in harrowing driving conditions. It’s important to be prepared for hazardous driving conditions even if you don’t expect them. Here is a checklist of safety preparations you should make so you can safely get yourself from A to B this winter season.

Before the storm hits


It’s a good idea to get some things ready in the summer or fall so you don’t have to scramble when the bad weather hits. Here are some things you can do in advance to prepare for winter driving:

  • Have your battery checked and replaced if necessary.
  • Check your belts to make sure they’re not cracked or fraying.
  • Check the hoses in your engine to make sure they’re not brittle or leaking.
  • Check the tread on your tires and consider investing in some snow tires or all-season tires that will handle snowy or slippery roads well.
  • Check your tire pressure, because the pressure will drop with the temperature. Properly inflated tires are important for maintaining good traction.
  • Coolant levels should also be checked when the engine is cold. You can pick up an inexpensive tester to check the level of antifreeze protection at any auto parts store.
  • Make sure all lights are working properly and replaced if any bulbs are burnt out.
  • Check that your wiper blades are working and thorough in their wiping abilities. You can buy rubber boots to put around them to prevent ice or snow from building up on them.
  • Refill the wiper fluid if necessary so you can keep your windshield clean after dirty precipitation falls on it.
  • Have your brakes professionally checked to make sure they’re fully functional. Have the brake fluid checked and refilled, as well.

Items to keep in your car

In the event that you are affected by hazardous winter driving conditions, there are a few things you should keep with you to help get you out of a bind. These include:

  • Ice scraper
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • A spare tire and tire-changing tools
  • A snow shovel and salt/kitty litter to help if you get stuck
  • Reflectors or flares so you’re visible if you do run off the road
  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit
  • Emergency survival kit, including blankets, nonperishable food, first aid kit, and warm clothing

In the midst of winter

When winter arrives and you inevitably must come face-to-face with the snowy and icy roads, there are still additional measures you can take to ensure your travels are safe. Here are some safe-driving practices that will help you stay safe on the road:

  • Plan ahead. If you can avoid the storm by running your errands on another day, plan for that. Checking the forecast alone can save you a lot of grief.
  • Warm up the car
  • If your trip is long or outside of your usual route, tell someone where you’re going and check-in so somebody is aware if something goes wrong.
  • Don’t use your parking brake to slow down
  • Give yourself more time to stop and more distance from other cars to protect yourself if someone else loses control
  • Don’t use cruise control
  • If you do find yourself stranded, stay in your car to keep warm.
  • Always keep your gas tank at least half-full

Even if you follow every tip and precaution, accidents can and do happen. The best protection for winter driving is a good auto insurance policy. For more information on how to keep safe this winter on the road, talk to the professionals at Heuer Insurance Agency today.

Summer Car Safety Checklist

Is your car ready for summer weather? Although road conditions are usually milder in the summer, it is still important to prepare your vehicle for summer weather. The heat and humidity can still take a toll on your vehicle. Whether you’re getting a tune up after a harsh winter or preparing for a summer road trip, you should check the following things:

1. Check And Change Your Oil

Oil keeps your car’s engine running smoothly. Take your vehicle in for oil changes on schedule, and keep it topped off with fresh oil in the meantime. Checking your oil is simple.

  • Open your car’s hood and secure it.
  • Locate the dipstick.
  • Pull it out and wipe it with a clean cloth.
  • Replace it and pull it out a second time.
  • If the oil looks dirty and gritty, it may be time for an oil change.
  • If the oil looks clean and normal, look at the level. If it is below the fill line, you should add some more.

2. Check Your Tires

Winter roads can be hard on your car, and especially on your tires. Check the tread depth and look for cracks and bulges in the sidewall of your tires. If the tires are too worn out, have them replaced. If they aren’t worn out yet, have them rotated to help them last longer.

3. Have Your Brakes Checked

Brakes are one of the most important safety features on your car. Signs you should replace your brakes include:

  • Your brake pedal feels mushy and unresponsive.
  • You hear grinding noises and scraping sounds when you brake.
  • Your brake pedal is hard and resistant.

If you notice any of these warning signs, take your car to the mechanic.

4. Check The Coolant And Radiator

You need coolant to keep your engine running properly all year round, but it is especially important during the hotter summer weather. Keep coolant levels full and have your radiator flushed every 1-2 years.

Prepare your car for summer weather with the checklist above. For more help taking care of your car, visit Heuer Insurance.



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