Thursday, February 1, 2007

Winter Tires vs All Season Tires

by Wil Yeo

Winter tires are designed for snow, cold, slush and icy weather conditions. They are essentially specialized tires that are designed to be used in the winter season whereas all season tires are meant for used in most conditions.

Some myths to dispel: there are car owners out there who are under the impression that the all season tires of today are so good and can deliver the same performance as the winter tires, and that winter tires are only meant for cars moving in snow clad, mountainous parts of planet earth, these assumptions cannot be further from the truth.�

In particular, winter tires are made of superior rubber compound that have better traction compared to all season tires, and are designed to do well in cold temperature conditions. Special tread compounds are used in winter tires to improve traction. For some winter tires, soft studs tread fibers bite like metal studs are used and yet these compounds do not harm the road. The rubber's flexibility is retained even when the temperature goes up to zero degrees. Having a more flexible (= rubbery / pliable) tread surface means having more control and traction.�The winter tires�have�silica-based, micro pore compounds that is used to 'bite' through the water film and increases the traction in the ice and snow.

All season tires have a different compound in which�they have a average compound that provide�good traction and better delivery in a wide range of road conditions. However, when temperature reaches below forty-five degrees Fahrenheit, the traction decreases. This is the point where all-season tire compounds begin to lose traction because it begins to harden.

Tread Design Differences

Modern winter tires are designed to have a tread that can maintain a more comfortable and quieter ride compare to their predecessors. Its circumferential grooves were made wider in order to efficiently drain water and expel snow at the same time.

In addition, the grooves on the winter tires are made to be about 25% - 35% deeper than that of normal tires and thus provide better grip. It has a groove shape and special lug that allows more snow to be packed into the thread and expelled as it rotates for deep snow traction. It also has a high density and sophisticated spine design that help cut through the water in order for the tread compound to make a better contact with the road. It even has a rounder casing design to add traction by cutting into the snow surface.

Conversely, all season type tires have different features. Its shoulder blocks and groove designs were compromise in order to meet the wear and cornering requirements of all season traction. It is less aggressive in terms of traction�and is designed to deliver more comfortable ride. As a result of its design, it does not pack nor expel snow as effectively as winter tire does.

Flatter tread designs of all season tire�enhances a dry traction but does not cut into snow effectively. Furthermore, all season tires perform effectively for the whole year, catering to both�dry and wet driving on the road�as compared to winter snow tires that are designed only to perform effectively during winter.


Winter tires are more sophisticated than what most common people think - and as mentioned, today's winter tires are more advanced and much quieter than their predecessors.

Winter tires exist for�good reasons are important for you to have them installed for safer journeys on snow and ice. Do not rule them out as marketing gimmicks by the tire companies - winter tires are definitely a necessity and a good form of safety insurance that you want to have in place for yourself and your family - they are� worth their money. Do note that while you are using your winter tires, your all season tires are not used - thus there isn't any wear and tear caused, and you will 'save' some mileage and therefore savings there.

Remember,� all season tires can never be the substitute for winter tires, winter tires are the only tires that will give you the desired traction for your vehicle during the winter season. Make sure you use the correct�set of tires to match�the requirements of�different road and�weather conditions. Drive Safe.

About the Author

Wil Yeo is a mechanical engineer by training and own the business and the site Avani Revolv Chrome Valve Stem Cap ( which features a unique patented anti theft tire pressure valve stem cap product. There site also gives away a handy guide entitled: Tire Maintenance Guide ( He can be contacted at wil[at]