winter driving

What’s The Difference Between Winter and All Season Tires

The winter season is upon us, which means cold temperatures, snow, and ice will cause adverse driving conditions.  Which tire you equip your vehicle with can have a positive or negative effect on your winter driving ability.  This article will talk about the differences between winter and summer tires, more typically called summer tires.

Let’s look at the most obvious difference, tread pattern.  The tread pattern on winter tires are designed to assist in slush, ice, and snow.  The ability to channel snow and slush will assist in keeping rubber contact with the road.  This contact will ultimately lead to a more stable control of your automobile, whether it’s a front wheel drive car, minivan or 4×4 SUV.

Studs and chains are most common in extreme environments.  A typical driver will not associate a studded winter tire and chains wrapped around existing tires a logical choice.  Therefore, for the sake of this article, we are only talking about a moderate winter tire, for the occasional bad weather day and cold temperatures.  The rubber compound or material of the tire, has a large impact on the type of tires most people would be using.

winter tire signWinter tires will be made of a different material than all season or summer tires.  This difference in rubber allows the tire to adapt to near freezing and freezing temperatures.  Again, the composition of the material used to manufacturer the winter tire contributes to it’s overall performance and ability to maintain traction in winter weather conditions.

Another difference between winter and all season tires is a marking that can be found on the tires sidewall.  The snowflake laid over the mountain, which can be found on the side of qualified tires, signifies that it has passed federal snow testing requirements.  Other designations for winter type tires, which are not upheld to the same testing requirements, are LT, Arctic, A/T, and Snow.  There are some other designations, which can be found in winter tire model numbers, which indicate a more aggressive tire.  Ex. stud, ultra-traction, winter.

What’s the difference between winter and all season tires?  In the most basic terms, it’s the tires ability to remain stable in snow, ice and frigid temperatures.  A winter tire will do a better job of maintaining control in winter like weather conditions.  An all season tire may be sufficient in some areas, but a winter tire will do a better job at the specific task of remaining stable in winter conditions.

Buy your winter tires now before the weather gets bad, Grayline recommend buying tires from Tire Rack.

Tire Rack - Make Winter Fun Again

This has been a post into a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.

Other Difference Articles:

What is the difference between Gasoline and Diesel?

What is the difference between US and UK car insurance?

What is the difference between hybrid and regular cars?

What is the difference between automatic and manual performance?

What is the difference between HID and halogen lights?


Photo Copyright – Henri Bonell

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