Tires for winter use

Choosing between all-weather tires and winter tires

All-weather tires

If living in an area with severe winter weather the choice is between equipping your car with all-weather tires or winter tires. All-weather tires can replace the need for dedicated winter tires and thereby eliminate the need to change tires in the winter. Advances in all-weather tires make them just as good on snow and ice as winter tires. This is because with improvements in the rubber compounds and tread patterns they are able to handle the most severe winter conditions. This is also why they hold the same “Three Peak Mountain Snowflake” symbol as winter tires. This emblem branded on the tire’s sidewall indicates that the tires have met required performance criteria in snow testing and are considered severe snow service rated. Since winter tires are made only for the winter season they need to be changed after the winter is over whereas all-weather tires can be used all year round.

The option to use all-weather tires instead of winter tires allows for a much more flexibility as there is no need to time when to put on winter tires. This can be quite tricky as in many areas in the United States there is not a clear-cut time for when winter is there to stay. With all-weather tires you can make the transition between fall and winter with no worries while resting assured that you will have reliable winter grip.

If wanting to invest in dedicated winter tires then the general indications for when to change into winter tires is when the temperature drops near freezing which is vague as many areas might have weather that is unpredictable with a cold front moving in quickly, that is then is followed with warmer weather. If using studded tires this becomes even more complicated as each state in the United States has different laws for their use. There are some States that allow their use as early as September while others not at all. There are also some States only allowing rubber studs while others allow both metal and rubber studs. When to put them on depends on where in the United States you live. This is something that is not a problem if using all-weather tires.

Whether you decide for all-weather tires or winter tires you need to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommended tire dimensions for your make and model of car. In other words, if the recommended tire dimensions for your car is 265/70R17 then you would need to install either 265/70R17 all-weather tires or 265/70R17 winter tires. Keep in mind if you do install winter tires instead of all-weather tires, it is important that winter tires are installed in sets of four to help maintain control and stability of your vehicle in winter conditions.

You should choose all-weather tires or winter tires if you live in an area that has severe winter weather as both these tires hold the 3PMSF emblem, in comparison to all-season tires that do not.

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