All weather all-season or winter tire?

Probably you alredy noticed tire manufacturer’s advertising,  the term “all-weather” tires. Are they different from “all-season” tires?

For me the term “all weather” tire sounded like the tire manufacturers had come up a new catchy way of marketing all season radial tires for winter driving.

However all weather tires are more than all season tires. All weather tires are a little bit both, like hybrid… They suited for winter driving in a relatively mild winter, but okay for warmer weather  driving too.

The question is; Is our winter, or your winter is mild? It depends on where you live in, and it is a decision that you need to make when you buy your winter or all-weather tires.

In basic terms, an all-weather tire has passed the Transport Canada tests for a winter tire. Unlike winter only tires, all-weather tires can be driven all-year round.

Are the better than winter tires?

All weather tires and winter tire are not the same, they are better for winter driving than all season tires, but not that good as winter tires.

The big difference is between all-weather tires and winter tires is,  that all-weather tires  meet the established standard for winter use, as indicated by the snow flake or mountain icon on the sidewalls.  Plus unlike winter tires, they can be used in spring, summer and fall driving too.

Several major tire companies are producing all weather tires, including Goodyear, Hankook. Nokian, Vredestein and Yokohama. But these same companies produce true winter tires that perform better at low temperatures and in any winter driving conditions.

Yokohama winter tireYokohama Winter Tires from

The worst choice you can make is to drive on all season radial tires at winter time. Transport Canada tests show all season tires take twice as long to stop in winter time, than winter tire.

Tests conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation showed a subcompact car needs 11.6 meters less distance to stop with winter tires compared to all-season tire. It says a minivan traveling at the same 50 km/h on the same five cm of compacted snow, in below zero temperature, required 12.8 meters more distance to stop on all-season tires compared to winters.

When the temperature drops to or below the freezing point, regardless of road conditions, dedicated winter tires are your best bet. Add a winter storm with freezing rain, snow, ice, slush or other winter conditions and their advantages become even more obvious. If you drive in winter time, winter tires are should not be an area to be satisfied with compromise.


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