Trips by Car – Summer vs All-Season vs Winter Tires

Most of us don’t think about our tires until they start causing problems, but when the weather starts to get colder it’s time to start thinking about what type of tires we really need. What type of tires do you really need for your car, and what should you be asking yourself as the weather shifts to makes sure you have the safest tires for your situation?

What’s The Difference Between Summer, All-Season and Winter Tires?

First, what is the difference between these three different types of tires?

Summer tires are designed for warm and wet weather.  They’re harder than the other two types of tires to keep them from softening in hot weather and have shallow groves for both wet and dry driving. If it gets too cold, though (under 45 degrees) these tires lose traction.

All-Season tires can work in hot or cold weather, as long as the cold weather is above freezing. They’re softer than summer tires, but still made of firm rubber to withstand hot weather and have shallow grooves similar to the summer tires for wet and dry driving conditions.

Winter tires are made of a softer rubber, so they keep traction in colder conditions (below 45 degrees Fehrenheit) and have deep groves to help them shed ice and snow on the road.  The softer rubber means they wear out faster though, and aren’t good for year-round driving.

For more information about the differences between these three types of tires, check out the infographic below by CJ Pony Parts:

What Type of Weather Am I Driving In?

Look at the average weather where you live. Roughly 70% of the roads in the US are located in regions that receive snow. Even Florida got snow this past winter!

If you live in the southern areas of the country where you don’t get tons of cold weather and rarely (or never) get snow, a good set of all-season tires is probably all you need. They’ll be able to handle cold weather if it comes, but they have everything you need to drive in most of the weather conditions that you’ll encounter.

If you live somewhere that gets regular snow, invest in a set of winter tires.  They’ll last you a few years, if you get them changed out once the weather starts warming up a little bit.  If you drive on them all year, they’ll wear out plus they don’t have good traction in warmer weather.

Remember — more than 70% of all weather-related crashes occur on wet roads.  Make sure you have the right tires for the job!