All-Weather and All-Season Vs Winter Tires

A strong concern for every motorist should be the quality and design of their tires. This is especially true for Canadians, who have to contend with tough road and weather conditions during the long winter season. Choosing the right tire for you is a matter of knowing the seasonal weather patterns and provincial laws of your geographic location, your driving habits, and the design and construction of the tires themselves. Ultimately, you will have to choose between all-season, all-weather, and winter tires. For those of you wondering what the difference between all-weather, all-season vs winter tires is, Kenny U-Pull has put together a quick guide to help you weather the choices!

All-Season Tires

“All-season tires” is a bit of a misnomer, in that the tires are intended for use in the spring, summer, and autumn. The design for the treads on these tires is often smooth, thin, and straight. This allows for water to repel easier during rainy periods and for a better grip on roads during periods of warmth and heat. 

Unfortunately, the design of these treads is not optimal for snowy conditions, as the space between treads gets packed quickly, and slipping or skidding becomes more likely. So in comparison between all-weather and all-season vs winter tires, “all-season” tires are only good for the seasons for which they were designed, and are not to be used during winter!

All-Weather Tires

All-weather tires are designed with slightly larger tread depths and blocky tread patterns that can push away slush and light snow. Additionally, these tires can be driven during warm, hot, and rainy conditions, making them the perfect tire for spring, summer, fall, and light winters. Unfortunately, the treads don’t grip well on very slick and icy surfaces, making them unsuitable for driving through tough Canadian winters. 

So like all-season tires, the “all-weather” moniker is a bit of a misnomer. While they work well during the spring, summer, fall, and mild winter months, you’ll need a more heavy-duty tire for places that experience heavy snowfalls and frigid temperatures. 

Winter Tires 

Most Canadians live in areas of the country that experience harsh winters, where record snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures are a way of life. In such extreme conditions, motorists need a tire that can navigate heaps of snow and slush, centimeters of thickness of ice, and roads that are subject to routine salt dumps and -20°C temperatures. 

Winter tires are designed with thick, blocky treads of maximum depth, which can grip snow easily and push away slush more efficiently. Additionally, the softer rubber allows for a greater grip on colder roads, and the option to have metal studs on the tire ensures an almost iron-clad grip. For the harshest of winters, choosing between all-weather and all-season vs winter tires is no choice at all: winter tires are a must. 

All-Weather and All-Season Vs Winter Tires: The Verdict

All things considered, all-season tires are the best choice if you live in a geographic location that sees spring, summer, and fall-like weather conditions all year round. For those who live in areas where the winters are extremely mild, you’ll want to seriously consider buying all-weather tires. However, if you live in an area that experiences harsh winter conditions, with heavy snows, icy roads, and frigid temperatures, you’ll definitely need winter tires. 

Of course, depending on what part of the country you live in (like Quebec), switching between all-weather or all-season tires vs winter tires may not be a matter of choice, but is mandated by law. To see if a similar law applies in your region, check the Transport section of your provincial website.  

For more information on all-weather and all-season vs winter tires, or to inquire about used tires for your vehicle, contact Kenny U-Pull