As the weather turns colder, wetter and more autumnal, the types of tyre we use can change. The swap from summer tyres to winter tyres is the most obvious one, but there’s another choice too – all-weather tyres.
Sometimes referred to as all-season tyres, these combine the benefits of both summer and winter tyres to deliver a middle ground of sorts. Let’s take a look at what they are and how they work – and whether or not you should make the switch.
The differences between summer and all-weather tyres are kicked off by the type of rubber compound they use. All-season tyres use a type of rubber which has been designed to give performance at a variety of temperatures – be that warm or cold. However, since summer tyres have been designed to offer the best performance at temperatures over seven degrees, all-seasons can’t quite match summer rubber for outright performance when the weather gets a lot warmer. The contour of the tyres is different too. Summer tyres are round, whereas all-weather tyres are square and more like that of a winter tyre. It’s so that these tyres can give better grip in winter conditions.
In addition, the grooves on the all-weather tyres have been designed to clear water effectively while also helping to add grip in snowy conditions.
For the most part, yes. All weather tyres can be used on the vast majority of standard cars, be that coupes, hatchbacks or estates and everything in between. There is likely to be a more limited range of sizes, however, which means that some people may struggle to find an all-season tyre that fits their vehicle.
Whereas winter tyres should only really be used when temperatures seriously dip, all-weather tyres can be used throughout the year. Yet in light wintry conditions all-weather tyres perform considerably better than summer versions. It does mean that there’s no need to make the switch every six months from a summer tyre to a winter tyre; you’ve got one set of rubber which, essentially, does both jobs to a good standard.
Switching across to all-weather tyres could be a smart decision. After all, it takes away the need to swap your tyres over halfway through the year, without becoming dangerous. However, if you drive a performance car they may not be for you – all-season tyres may not offer the speed rating that higher-output vehicles require. In addition, the tread life of an all-weather tyre is better than either a winter or summer tyre, so they’ll likely last longer while still performing well.
For the UK, where wet weather prevails and snow isn’t an all-that-common feature on our roads, all-weather tyres could be the best bet for those who want to have their cake and eat it.