How Are Winter Tires and All-Season Tires Different?

Most people don’t think about their tires very much, at least until they experience a flat or need to replace them. By nature of living in this part of the world, Calgary residents need to think about driving in snow, requiring an entirely different conversation. Hardly a week goes by where someone doesn’t come into the Jack Carter Chevy Service Department to ask, ‘How are winter tires and all-season tires different?’ First, this is a critical distinction for vehicle owners to make. Also, our product experts will be more than happy to walk customers through this important decision. 

Three elements will set various types of tires apart: Tread rubber, tread depth and patterns, and biting edges. In terms of tread rubber, specific formulations will react differently under different conditions. Different kinds of tires will employ different tread depths and patterns that dictate how the tires grip the road. Finally, biting edges are almost exclusively used by winter tires that perform particular functions of their own.

When Are All-Season Tires OK to Use?

As the name implies, all-season tires are used across a broad range of conditions and perform well. Summer driving, wet roads, and average snowfall will be no problem for all-season tires. Additionally, using all-season tires will mean that someone won’t need to store an extra set of tires. 

The cons of using all-season tires will be evident when temperatures dip below 7 degrees C. At this point, the tire rubber will stop being pliable, and traction can be affected. Additionally, all-weather tires don’t perform as well on ice because the tread patterns lack siping.

When Should I Be Using Snow/Winter Tires?

Winter (or snow) tires could easily be classified as specialty equipment. The Alberta government recommends that drivers use snow tires in the winter, especially if they plan to be driving during very inclement weather. Winter tires differ from all-season tires in the way the rubber is made. For a tire to be effective on snow- or ice-covered roads, two things need to happen. First, the rubber needs to remain soft at very low temperatures. And moisture needs to be moved away from the treads. Winter tires employ siping, which are small pockets that trap water away from the tread and expel it as the tire rotates.

The Jack Carter Chevy Service Department is ready to help you make the most challenging automotive decisions. Make an appointment with one of our service advisors today.

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