All-season tyres appeared on the market because the gap between summer and winter rubber had to be filled. Summer tyres (also referred to as ‘high-performance tyres’) offer unbeatable performance in wet and dry warm conditions, but harden and lose grip once the temperature drops below 7 degrees Centigrade. Winter rubber, however safe on ice and snow it is, on the other hand, is clumsy, noisy and for somebody becomes an expensive overkill. With that said, all-season tyres are a compromise many people are happy with. All-seasons are either praised or criticized, so we’ll try to objectively sort out their pros and cons.
What’s good about all-season tyres?
- All-season tyres use compounds that retain the required density in hot months and some grip in cold ones. More expensive high-end all-season tyres are able to adjust their performance to the temperature changes, but it’s rather an exception.
- All-season tyres have more blocks on their treads and deeper grooves to evacuate water.
- You save twice: at first when you buy only one set of rubber and drive on it all the year round and then every time when you refuel your car because all-season tyres are more fuel-efficient than their summer or winter counterparts. Add to this that all-season tyres are cheaper than specialised tyres.
- Different types. There are all-seasons that are best for driving on dry roads at warm temperatures. They provide good handling and a comfortable smooth ride. If you have to deal with cold and wet conditions, you should better opt for all-season tyres having a V-shaped tread pattern. They are good for heavy rains and moderate ice, but as a trade-off, they are noisier, more prone to fast wear, and less fuel efficient.
- Mild winters. All-season tyres are a winning solution for the areas with mild or short winters when snow or ice seldom appear and quickly give place to dry asphalt. Winter tyres wear down faster when used on dry asphalt.
What’s bad about all-season tyres?
- It’s all about compromises. A compromise here, a compromise there… It often happens when you try to create a product for use in conditions that are polar opposites such as hot/dry and cold/wet. Winter rubber is always better for winter conditions the same as summer rubber is best for summer ones. Buying all-season tyres, be ready to discover that your tyres perform not great but satisfactorily in any given condition.
- All-season tyres aren’t designed for high speeds. Manufacturers develop generic models for use at modest speeds and often colour up the dynamic characteristics.
- All-seasons have a softer compound and, therefore, it wears down faster in summer. So all-season tyres should be called 3-season tyres because they are good only for autumn, winter, and spring.
All-season tyres also harden at near-freezing temperatures although not so much as summer rubber does. This hardening effect results in a longer stopping distance and a worse grip.