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Snow Tires vs All-Season Tires: Can They Really Handle Winter?

Winter is a handful for drivers —  from slippery roads to car unanticipated car issues popping up. One of the most important elements of your car during wintertime is the tires. After all, they are what keep you on the go. Choosing the right types of tires for specific times of the year can be the difference between smooth driving or catastrophe. With all-season tires being considered the year-round solution, many drivers may opt for them as opposed to snow/winter tires. But are they really suitable for all types of winter roads? What is the best choice for local Torontonians? Let’s dive deeper to understand the key differences.

Are All-Season Tires Good For Snow?

Many new cars come with all-season tires in place, but do you keep them or opt for a tire change? Whether all-season tires are good for snow or for winter are actually two different questions. The subtle difference between the two lies in the harshness of the weather conditions. All-season tires are actually great for areas that experience light winters. What is considered a light winter though? Winters that only consist of mostly rain and light flurries every now and then, all-season tires are completely enough to withstand the roads. However, an area that witnesses snowfall is one where winter/snow tires are not only recommended but mandatory. Snow is difficult to drive on as it is and it has a tendency to turn into black ice or mud during the next few days, making the roads even more difficult to drive on. So if you’re wondering if all-season tires are good for winter, the simple answer is yes. However, it depends on the harshness of the winter.

What Are Snow Tires?

Winter tires or all-season tires? There are a few characteristics that differ among them. First, the type of rubber used on snow tires is different. They are specially designed to remain more flexible and durable on winter roads. The tread depth is another difference that promotes better grip on the roads in the case of snow tires. The tread depth is much deeper in this case and even have varying patterns which allow it to tread better in even the harshest weather conditions. Finally, snow tires typically have more biting edges which allow the car to steer like normal on black ice and slippery roads. It is generally recommended to change to winter tires when the temperature begins dropping below +7 degrees Celsius. Beyond that point, you may risk waking up to a surprise snowstorm and need to somehow manage to get your tires changed to be able to drive safely. Snow tires are often considered as an inconvenience due to their cost, storage, and yearly need for replacement. However, having a sturdy pair of winter tires on your car is not just a preference but rather a safety precaution.

Should I Get All-Season Or Winter Tires?

So do you go for all-season tires or snow tires? It primarily depends on the road conditions in the area you are driving. Here is a detailed breakdown of when to opt for which choice, taking into consideration everything we covered above.

All-season tires if:

You live and drive in an area with light winters (no permanent snow or ice)
You aren’t going to go on road trips to regions with snow, ice, and sleet.
You are driving during spring, summer, or autumn.
Driving on wet, warm, or dry roads.

Winter/snow tires if:

You experience heavy snowfall, snowstorms, black ice, and rough winter roads in your area.
You plan on taking trips outside of your area to mountainous or rural areas during wintertime.
Temperatures drop below freezing for the majority of the winter.

There isn’t a clear-cut winner if we pin all-season tires vs snow tires. Each one is appropriate for a specific condition on the roads to maintain your safety and a smooth driving.

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