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Are All-Weather Tires Better Than Winter Tires? [Infographic]

BY: Dario DiGiuseppe
Close up shot of a tire on a snowy road

When the cold weather of winter is in full swing, driving conditions can deteriorate rapidly. All drivers must prepare their vehicles for this weather and the continued winter. This starts from the bottom up – meaning you must ensure your vehicle’s tires are prepared to handle current weather conditions.

Generally, you will be considering two types of tires: all-weather and winter tires. While one of these tire types can be used year-round, the other can only be used during the wintertime. Learn everything you need to know about the right tire type for your vehicle.

Understanding Different Tire Types for Seasonal Driving

Many drivers overlook the fact that there are different types of tires to consider putting on a vehicle. Each type offers certain benefits and drawbacks depending on the type of year and the type of vehicle in question. The most common types of tires include:

  • Passenger tires
  • All-weather tires (or all-season tires)
  • Winter tires
  • Competition tires
  • Summer tires
  • Touring tires

The primary difference between the majority of tires lies in the size of the treads on the tires and the design themselves, which impacts traction levels. For perspective, summer tires tend to be geared towards performance and quicker responsiveness on the road, whereas winter tires are designed to enhance traction due to the slicker conditions. Most manufacturers indicate which type of tire is best for your vehicle, though this isn’t always the case, which is why learning the difference between the types is so important.

Infographic of all-weather tires versus winter tires

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All-Weather Tires: Features and Performance Overview

Starting with all-weather tires, as the name indicates, these tires can be driven around during any season of the year. All-weather tires are designed with a specific rubber compound, which is meant to stay flexible in winter conditions while also performing strongly in the summer. Given this, these tires are superior on wet roads and in certain winter conditions, though when temperatures stay consistently below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the performance will falter.

The treads on all-weather tires are deep enough to cut through snow, but they are meant to be used on vehicles that may only experience quick fluctuations in temperature rather than consistently low temperatures. This is why all-weather tires can also stay on your vehicle year-round. It’s worth noting that all-weather and all-season tires are not the same despite their terms being used interchangeably sometimes. All-weather tires can be driven in winter conditions without concern, whereas all-season tires shouldn’t be used in true winter driving.

All-season tires are good in wet conditions, but the sidewall is often smaller than that on all-weather tires, and the resistance to cold temperatures is not as strong. The tread life on all-season tires also tends to be shorter than all-weather tires. While you aren’t in immediate danger if some light snow starts to fall, you should park your vehicle inside as soon as possible to avoid accidentally going off-road.

Winter Tires: Design and Advantages in Cold Climates

On the other side of things, winter tires are tires that are designed specifically to be used on a vehicle when the temperature stays beneath 40 degrees Fahrenheit for a lengthy period of time. The design on these tires is specifically meant to channel snow and slush and expel water, allowing for far better traction in deeper snow.

In addition, winter tires also feature more “biting edges” on them. These refer to the gaps in the tire between the treads, which assist more in gripping the snow and ice on the road. The advantage of this in colder climates is strictly greater traction in worse conditions, but these tires do not perform as well in warmer temperatures. This means they must be switched out for different tires after the winter months have passed.

Comparing Traction and Handling in Snow and Ice

As mentioned in the descriptions of both types of tires, winter and all-weather tires offer strong traction and handling in the snow and ice. With that said, there is certainly a winner between the two: winter tires.

This is because when the temperature falls beneath the cutoff, the treads on all-weather tires stiffen up, impacting traction. The compounds built within the rubber on winter tires allow those tires to stay flexible at all cooler temperatures, allowing for improved traction and handling.

Keep in mind, though, that all-weather tires are designed to be able to handle wet road conditions. Therefore, if winter and the cold weather are starting to end, you can feel comfortable switching to the all-weather tires once most of the snow has passed.

Longevity and Durability of All-Weather vs. Winter Tires

Both winter tires and all-weather tires are durable, dedicated winter tires. The tread pattern on all-weather tires allows you to drive on those tires throughout the year, meaning they have an average lifespan of around three to five years. Conversely, the specialized rubber in the treads of winter tires allows them to perform well in cold weather but can quickly wear them down in warm weather.

Given that these tires are only used during one season out of the year for a number of months, the average lifespan is around four to six seasons, depending on your car. The best way to extend the longevity and durability of winter tires is to change them out as soon as the worst of the snow has passed.

Cost-Benefit Analysis of All-Weather and Winter Tires

One of the biggest factors you will need to consider when thinking about putting either all-weather or winter tires on your vehicle is the cost. Regardless of the type of tire, the price range for tires can vary drastically. For all-weather tires, that range is between $49 on the low end and $873 on the high end, whereas winter tires have a range of $57 on the low end and $1,311 on the high end. Remember that if you choose to purchase winter tires, though, you will also need to pay for another set of tires you will use for the remainder of the year. For those who live in an area where the winter temperatures don’t drop too low, this may make or break your decision.

However, if you experience a harsh winter or serious icy conditions during the winter months in your area, investing in winter tires is a necessary expense. While cost should be considered when considering tires, always prioritize your safety above everything else.

Benefits of an Extended Warranty

Given the cost associated with tires, the last thing you want while on the road is to hear some odd noise only to feel your vehicle start to bump around. Whether it’s a flat tire or smaller damage, knowing you may need to pay for a new tire shortly after buying a complete set can cause serious stress. Fortunately, those with an extended warranty (more accurately called a vehicle service contract) from Endurance don’t need to worry about this!

All Endurance plans come with standard perks, including 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, lockout services, rental car reimbursement, and more. New customers can also take advantage of the Endurance Elite Benefits package, providing bonus perks beyond your extended warranty contract. One of the most important of these benefits is that you can access four tire reimbursements per year. In addition, more Elite Benefits such as complete tire coverage, collision discount coverage up to $500, and total loss protection up to $1,000 can also offer financial assistance.

Infographic of Endurance tire benefits

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Select the Best Coverage (And Tires) for Your Driving Needs

Every driver needs to take the time to figure out which tire type suits their vehicle best. Consider all of the above factors when thinking through your choice and balance the cost of the new tires against your needs. In addition to getting the right all-season tires or snow tires on your vehicle, consider other ways to winter-proof your car.

Little details such as replacing your windshield wipers, inspecting fluid levels, looking at tire treads, and more can all help keep you safe in poor weather conditions. However, in the event of a mechanical breakdown, having an effective extended warranty can help with the costs of covered repairs while getting you back out on the road quickly.

In addition to offering the aforementioned benefits, Endurance offers three primary vehicle service contracts with coverage ranging from simply stated coverage all the way to near bumper-to-bumper coverage. You can also customize any of our plans based on your needs and budget!

To learn more, call our award-winning customer service team at (800) 253-8203 or request a FREE quote. Alternatively, take the time to shop online to see your price right away.

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