Choosing between summer and all-season tires
To many drivers, summer tires and all-season tires are the same thing. However, this is not the case as they are both created for different purposes. Find out which product is more suited for your needs below.
These tires take their description after the season in which they are intended to used, namely summer (warmer) months. They are manufactured using a base rubber compound that is soft in nature to help it conform to and grip the road better. There are several kinds, ranked in order of performance. Higher performance examples will possess attributes such as stiffer sidewalls to increase cornering capability, typically installed on sports cars or luxury sedans.
Regardless of the segment, summer tires will provide optimal handling for your vehicle under the right conditions. There are some downsides, however, such as reduced tread life due to the rubber’s pliable nature as well as a noisier ride. The purchase price may also be higher.
All-seasons are actually a bit of a misnomer, since many either don’t work in snowy conditions or behave poorly when compared to a dedicated winter tire. Whereas summer tires are manufactured to be softer, all-season rubber is made tougher with a mixture of ingredients designed to last longer, reduce noise and produce less rolling resistance for better fuel economy.
This results in a compromise between handling ability and cost. Those who want the quickest responding tire possible, i.e. for performance and/or safety reasons, may want to opt for summers, while budget-conscious drivers piloting a compact car could be fine riding on all-seasons.
Whatever the choice, bare in mind both types lose functionality below approximately 7 C. Beyond that and the compound hardens and no longer maintains proper contact to the road. That is why it is important to switch to a snow tire when the temperature dips low.