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All-Season tyres or winter tyres – what is the difference

All-season tyres are clearly the trend right now. More and more motorists are opting for all-weather tyres to save themselves the trouble of changing tyres every season. Manufacturers and the industry are often reluctant to follow the trend toward all-weather tyres, but the all-season tyre tests of the past years show that the tyres are getting better. This article shows the advantages and disadvantages of all-season tyres compared to winter tyres and if the "all-rounders" are a worthwhile investment for you.

What are the differences between all-season and winter tyres?

As you might guess from the name, the all-season version is a combination of summer and winter tyres. Both the material and the tread combine the special summer and winter functionalities. Some all-season types on the market are more like winter tyres, others more like summer tyres for car.

all season tyres vs winter tyres difference

All-season tyres have fewer sipes in the tread

The so-called sipes, fine grooves in the tread of winter tyres, are also found on the all-season types. However, the sipes, which increase grip on snow, are not evenly distributed over the entire tread as they are on winter tyres. On most all-weather tyres, the winter sipes are located in the central part of the tread. You can easily imagine the performance consequences of snow. In heavy snowfall, all-season tyres are, on average, less able to "grip" snow than winter tyres.

Are all-season tyres legally considered winter tyres?

All-weather or all season car tyres are allowed for use in winter if they bear the 3PMSF snowflake symbol. Tyres with this marking on the sidewall are legally approved in the UK for use in winter road conditions.

all season tyres vs winter tyres

Are all-season tyres just as safe as winter tyres?

This is a complicated question. There are many differences between tyres for summer and winter. Both the rubber compound and the tread structure differ significantly. After all, tyres in our part of the world have to cope with completely different road conditions in winter or summer. So basically, despite the existence of all-weather tyres, it can still be said that winter tyres are specialists for winter and are generally superior to all-season tyres in winter weather.

The development of all-season tyres is making great progress

As the GTÜ all-season tyre test 2017 shows, among other things, many all-season tyres have been able to make significant gains in quality. This finding applies in particular to examples from some major manufacturers, who have had to bow to new market developments, and are investing in the development of new tyres. This still makes the decision for an all-season tyre a compromise that needs to be well thought over since the cheaper "all-rounder solution" is also becoming more attractive for qualitative reasons.

Good all-season tyres cost money

The all-weather tyres of many manufacturers are improving greatly. But quality has its price. For a really good set of all-season tyres, drivers can quickly spend as much as £1,000. Therefore many drivers decide to purchase cheap winter tyres and save their money for a rainy day.

For whom are all-season tyres worthwhile?

So let's assume you decide to compromise with an all-weather tyre. This way you can save yourself the annoying seasonal tyre changes in the future. But good tyres are quite pricey, and since all-season tyres are much softer than summer tyres due to their winter properties, a lot of expensive rubber will remain on the road over the warmer half of the year.

Basically, the more you drive, the less economical it is for you to use all-weather tyres. If you drive more than the average 8,600 miles per year, the tyre loses a lot of tread over the summer and is less suitable for the coming winter. However, if you do not drive long distances, all-season tyres can be a cost-saving alternative. Even more so if a direct TPMS system is installed in your vehicle, because these make every tyre changed in the workshop on average £5-£8 more expensive.

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