All Season vs. Winter Tires: Choosing the Right Traction for Your Climate

When winter hits, are all season tires or winter tires best? 

That’s a common question we get since we’re located in Northern Indiana where we see snow, sleet, ice, and every other kind of winter weather. 

So, here, we're going deep into the great debate of all season vs. winter tires. Let's get into it. 

Understanding Winter Tires: From Snow to Multifaceted Traction

The shift from "snow" to "winter" tires came when tire capability broadened to include more than just dealing with snow. Winter tires are engineered for enhanced grip on multiple surfaces, like slush, ice, and standing water. They use narrower lugs and intricate sipe cuts that move snow, slush, or water away quickly to give the tire direct contact with the road. 

Performance: The Grip and Lifespan Equation

All season tires are great for 90% of circumstances. If you’re buying winter tires, it’s probably because you live somewhere with occasional  big snows or ice storms. 

The critical advantage of winter tires is their exceptional traction, especially in slippery conditions like ice-covered surfaces. Unlike all season tires, winter tires provide remarkable grip, significantly reducing the risk of sliding and accidents. 

Did you know: Some winter tire distributors will put a car on an ice hockey rink with winter tires and let people try them out! They’re really built for that level of traction. 

Traction and Safety: Beyond Acceleration to Braking

Winter tires improve traction during acceleration and braking. When your vehicle transfers weight, winter tires use their superior road grip to minimize sliding and enabling more controlled deceleration.

Lifespan Realities: Balancing Traction with Wear

However, the trade-off is that winter tires are a softer compound and heat sensitive, affecting their longevity. They usually last around 30,000 miles, and should be replaced every few years. Their lifespan shortens if used on high mileage trips or are exposed to heat. 

Tips for Effective Winter Tire Purchase and Usage

Get Your Winter Tires Early 

We recommend buying your winter tires in August or September, especially if you have a unique tire size. Waiting longer puts you at risk for them selling out. 

Buy Them in the Off Season for the Best Deals 

Buying winter tires in the off season usually means you’ll save money and have your tires well before winter hits. There are often great deals on winter tires off season if they are leftover models.  

Ask if Your Local Service Center will Store Them For You During Warm Months 

If you have a separate set of wheels with your winter tires on them, ask your service center if they’ll store them for you throughout the rest of the year. At our shop, we’re happy to store those for our customers who want extra winter safety without taking on additional storage. 

Prioritizing Safety and Comprehensive Service

Choosing between all season and winter tires isn't merely about traction but also about ensuring safety and longevity. Recognizing the importance of tire quality and comprehensive service centers can reduce stress about driving in winter and improve your safety in inclement weather.  

Investing in quality tires, especially for challenging conditions, significantly impacts driving safety. Opting for reputable service centers that offer comprehensive services alongside competitively priced tires ensures both quality products and post-sale support, streamlining car maintenance needs.