Winter & All Season Tires, Whats the difference? Many Albertans switch tires between all season tires and winter tires as the weather and seasons change. Making the decision between purchasing winter tires and all season tires can be a tricky one if you don’t know anything about tires. Do you really need to change tires seasonally? Why are some tires more expensive? what is the difference between a good, great, or excellent winter or all season tire?
All tires are not created equally and many manufactures use different materials and processes. There are some regions of Canada have actually made changing tires mandatory in the winter months. Especially where there is a lot of snow and hilly terrain such as British Columbia. Alberta does not have a law for seasonal tire changes, most likely due to the fact is is mostly flat. There is no doubt that a good set of winter tires are going to perform better in the extreme cold and snowy conditions as opposed to a good all season tire. Some people think that having a 4×4 SUV or truck makes winter driving more manageable, and mayeb they dont need winter tires? Although there are many benefits to a 4×4 or AWD vehicle in the ice and snow, there are also some drawbacks. For example, a 4×4 will get more traction when taking off from a set of lights, or not spin as easily when the accelerator if pressed, but some driver fail to realize stopping in a 4×4 or 4×2 vehicle is the same. When applying brakes there is absolutely zero advantage to the 4×4 or AWD system. The difference how quickly you can stop is dependent on the ABS system and the type of tire on the vehicle. Winter tires will reduce the the stopping distance more than all season tires when is comes down to the tire compound and how well it grips on ice and snow.
Winter tires for are made of a compound rubber and silica that is designed to stay softer even in very cold temperatures. The softer the rubber has a tendency to grip better than a hard rubber. If you think of a hockey puck and how the hard hard rubber allows the puck to slide better on the ice, the opposite is true of a soft pliable rubber compound tire. The best manufactures keep testing and improving the compounds in their tires. Some of the very best winter tires for Canadian winters Are Michelin X-ICE, Nokian Hakkapeliitta, Bridgestone Blizzak, and more…
All season tires are made from harder rubber and stand up in the heat very well in hot to cool temperatures and are good in rain and mildly cool conditions. Whether you choose to switch over to Winter tires or use all season tires year round, do your research to determine whether to switching is beneficial to you and if it suits your lifestyle.
Personally living in Alberta for over 50 years, I can tell you that tires have changed over the past few decades and I always switch over to good winter tires.