- Car Care & Maintenance
The dilemma: Winter tires or all season tires?
Winter or all season?
While weather in north side of the equator is getting colder and colder it also more and more often reminds me that i have to buy new tires for my car. Every driver has to choose whether he will buy more expensive winter tires, or use all season tires for a slightly lower cost. As i am student, it should be understandable if i choose all season tires, but i do not. And here i will tell you why.
Term of service
Let's think now about some example. You have just bought a football. There are balls for indoor and outdoor use. To own's cost i know, that if you use indoor ball outside it becomes just a bag or something in a few months. It's just made for other purpose.
The same is with tires. They can't have the same good conditions at -20 °C (-4°F) and +20 °C (68°F) so the rubber wears much quicker.
If you buy all season tires you will probably drive those for about 15-35k km (9-20k miles), which even for me is not more then one and a half year. But if you use winter and summer tires you will be able to use both of them for 3 seasons. Mathematically it's just the same but the additional safety? But it's on the other section.
Difference on braking distance
Safety is what goes first. This is the phrase that i hear very often and that is true if you choose winter tires. It does work from 25 to 50 percent better than all season tires, it's tests verified. Think of dark winter evening you're driving home and as from nowhere there's an a pedestrian on a crosswalk! Think of times it happened in winter. Those pedestrians are much harder to see then. And now think of those meters (feet) that shortens your braking distance? And you must understand that is safes not only the pedestrians, but at first YOU and your PASSENGERS.
If you have a chance take a look at tire tread. And compare tread on winter and summer tires. Can you see that they are different? Of course you can, because it's obvious. It can't be other way. The summer tire's tread is made to easily get rid of water if it rains, and to get it's best conditions at warm weather. And winter tires are absolutely different, they don't need to push anything from it and it gets it's best conditions in cold or very cold weather.
There might be also studded winter tires. One more option that all season tires can;'t offer you and that is very good if you live in countries where black ice on the roads is usual.
The rubber that tyre are made from is the other very and might be even the most important indicator about how winter and universal tires differ.
Winter tires are made from softer rubber than any others, and in that way, it keeps more elastic when it's cold, and it gives a better grip with the track. Those who use their winter tires in summer have probably realized that they wear much faster. That precisely because of the fact that rubber is softer. In fact, winter tires loses their grip when used in warm conditions, so try to think of how all season tires should solve this problem. Answer is simple - it can't you just get worse driving comfort, and less safety.
Price does mater to, but you all understand that price ranges are from a to z, so you can't properly compare them. What i advise is don't try to buy very cheap winter tires. But at the same time don't spend all your savings on tires. There are many relatively cheap tires that perform's well, but at the same time it's sometimes better to use some good branded 3rd season tires, then a new ones for a few bucks each. Companies take a lot of time and money on tire researches, so it's something to pay for. You can try to search for subsidiary companies of worlds biggest brands like Goodyear's Sava or Kelly.
There won't be any cons and pros here. There is only one reason why i agree you should use all season tires - If the lowest temperature in your area is always positive by Celsius (something about 5-12 °C).
Let's take a look
do you buy all season tires?
If you decide to choose winter tires
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