Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires: What Do I Need?

There’s a lot to take care of on your vehicle before the winter season hits. Is your battery in good shape? Have you checked the amount of window-washing fluid and the condition of your wipers? Are your brakes working properly?

Perhaps the most important vehicle components to inspect before winter are your tires. They’ll influence your vehicle’s accelerating, braking, and traction ability. Should you shell out extra cash for a set of winter tires or will your all-season tires work?

Here are important comparisons between winter tires and all-season tires that you need to know before deciding what type is best for your vehicle.

Traction

Winter tires are designed specifically to add grip to your vehicle in inclement weather conditions, such as snow, ice, and rain. They have deep treads and tread patterns that aid their grip. The tread cuts work similarly to a squeegee to help them work through slush, snow, and dampness.

Winter tires also have a more flexible rubber construction to allow them to maintain their grip, even in the coldest temperatures. All-season tires may become stiff in cold weather, which can affect their ability to flex and grip.

All-season tires can have deep tread patterns, too, especially if they’re high-end tires. Still, they’re designed to work well in most weather conditions for an overall reliable tire, unlike winter tires with a focus on snowy and icy weather. No matter what tires you have, a 4×4 truck will improve your traction on icy roads

Accelerating and Braking

Accelerating in slush, snow, or ice can be a challenge when your tires don’t have tread that supports the action. Thanks to their unique tread design, winter tires can help you accelerate without spinning your tires or swerving as you try to get your vehicle moving.

You can also reduce your vehicle’s braking time by replacing your all-season tires with a winter set. Several studies show that vehicles with winter tires can stop several feet before a vehicle with all-season tires going the same speed, which can significantly boost driving safety in the winter.

Consumer Reports notes that winter tires can be a helpful addition to any type of vehicle in terms of accelerating and braking, regardless of whether it’s a four-wheel, front-wheel, rear-wheel drive.

Durability

Technically, all-season tires have a longer lifespan because they don’t remain as flexible as winter tires in the cold. Using winter tires all year, even in warmer weather, will result in them wearing down faster than all-season tires because of their flexibility.

However, it’s not advisable to use winter tires all year for this reason. Most people who use winter tires change them in late fall and remove them after the winter weather has passed. Doing so can keep your winter tires in good shape to use for several more winters.

Pricing

Winter tires can be much more expensive than all-season tires. The good news is that you will only use them a few months per year, so they should last you longer than your all-season tires used for a longer portion of the year. So, you’ll spend more upfront for winter tires, but your investment should last for several more years.

For cost-effectiveness, you can increase the lifespan of winter tires during the off-season by storing them in the basement, garage, or another indoor place that’s cool and dry. Avoid leaving them outside, in sunlight, or in areas that get too cold or wet.

What’s Better for Me: Winter Tires or All-Season Tires?

If you live in an area that experiences harsh winters and extreme temperatures, you should consider putting winter tires on your vehicle. Be sure to change all four tires at the same time and use the same type of tire to ensure consistent wear, balance, and grip.

However, if your area only gets a few inches of snow a year and has relatively minor winters, then it probably won’t be worth the cost for you to get winter tires. These tires can be costly, especially if they’re not necessarily needed.

Instead, check the tread on your current tires or take them to a shop for a quick inspection. Replace your tires with a new set if necessary. Ensuring that your tires have plenty of tread for tacking light snow or ice can help you make it through the winter safely.

Are you in the market for a new 4×4 to help you navigate the winter season? Check out what we have to offer at Sherry 4×4, including our selection of lifted Jeeps and Chevy trucks.

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