What's the Difference Between All-Season and All-Weather Tires?

  • Oct 28, 2022
image of technician mounting tires image of technician mounting tires

Putting the right tires on your car is essential, but how do you know what type of tires to install on your vehicle? In your search, you might come across tires labeled as “all-season” or “all-weather.” While these names might sound similar, the two tire types actually perform differently depending on the weather. Learn the key differences between all-season and all-weather tires so you can decide which options might be best for your ride. 

What Are All-Season Tires?

Your vehicle likely came equipped with all-season tires, which are designed to perform in both wet and dry conditions. They feature moderate tread depth and are made from rubber components that help increase tread life. This increased tread life attracts many drivers. However, all-season options don’t always work better than a dedicated tire type. For example, all-season tires perform well in warmer weather, but they may provide less traction than summer tires during the hotter months. 

What about the opposite season? Can you drive in winter with all-season tires? It depends on your region. Options like the Firestone Firehawk offer great control on wet roads and increased traction in snowy conditions, so using all-season tires in cold weather is usually okay for milder climates. But many all-season tires have rubber that stiffens in extreme cold, which affects traction. If you live somewhere with heavy snow, ice, or freezing temps, you might need to change your tires in the winter.

What Are All-Weather Tires?

Similar to all-season tires, all-weather tires perform well in dry, warm, wet, and cold conditions. Unlike all-season tires, they are designed to perform well in more severe winter conditions. All-weather tires combine the best of both worlds between all-season and winter tires, offering excellent traction in icy, snowy weather while still being usable throughout the rest of the year. 

Keep in mind that all-weather tires have tread designs that may be noisier than all-season options. If you don’t need the additional winter traction from all-weather tires, you might want to stick to quieter, comfortable all-season tires.

Should I Get All-Weather or All-Season Tires?

Even knowing the difference between all-season and all-weather tires, it can be hard to know which is the right fit for your vehicle and lifestyle. Before selecting your tires, there are a few personal factors every driver should consider.

  • Climate: If you live in an area with milder weather, you can likely get away with using all-season tires year-round. However, if you often experience harsh winter weather, consider all-weather tires or purchasing a set of winter tires.
  • Vehicle Type: All-season tires are a go-to for many car manufacturers and are suitable for almost everything from sedans to SUVs. All-weather tires are newer to the U.S. market, which can make it challenging to find a set that fits your vehicle.
  • Budget: Whether you’re getting all-season, all-weather, winter, or summer tires, a quality set will usually cost around the same. However, if you expect to switch out your tires for winter driving, you need to budget for an additional set of tires.
  • Storage Space: If you choose all-season tires and are prepared to swap them out during the winter, you also need to consider your available storage space. After all, you’ll need somewhere to store your other set when it’s not in use. 

Find the Right Tires at Tires Plus

Have you decided on the perfect tire type for your ride? If not, that's okay too! Stop by your nearest Tires Plus location, and our trained technicians can help you make the best choice for you. Shop tires online or schedule your appointment today.

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