If you’ve ever been tire shopping during the winter months, you’ve no doubt seen advertisements for winter or snow tires in addition to all season tires. But what is the difference between snow tires versus all season tires?
Although Atlanta doesn’t get a lot of snow, we often see ice during the winter months. If you’re planning to travel into states with snowy conditions this winter, knowing what type of tires to put on your car can help you stay safe this season.
Snow Tires Versus All Season Tires
You may be thinking that one tire is the same as another. In fact, different tires are designed for different types of conditions. Specialized tires may be designed for snow and ice, track days, offroading, summer driving, and more. Let’s look at the difference between snow tires versus all season tires.
What are Snow Tires?
As the name suggests, snow tires are designed for wintry conditions. The materials that are used in snow tires stay soft and pliable even in cold weather, which gives them more traction. In addition to this, their tread design has wider gaps than those used on summer tires.
Because snow tires need to maximize traction in wet or slippery conditions, the tires themselves are designed to increase the amount of contact between the snow and the tire while minimizing slippage.
Snow tires may also feature metal studs that protrude from the rubber where the treads touch the road. You’ll need to check with your county or city jurisdiction to make sure that tires with studs are legal before you buy. Your local tire shop will also be familiar with the regulations in your area.
What are All Season Tires?
Most new cars come outfitted with all season tires by default. These tires are designed with longevity, a quiet and stable ride, and fuel economy in mind. They strike a median balance between summer and winter tires in terms of function and performance.
Although the name suggests that all season tires are usable in any condition, this is true up to a certain point. It may be helpful to think of them like wearing tennis shoes to the beach or the mountains. Tennis shoes work fine in either scenario, but there are shoes designed with a more specialized fit in mind.
All season tires are great for moderate driving conditions. They offer good performance whether the weather is hot, cold, wet, or lightly snowy or icy. But when it comes to heavy winter driving conditions, they simply aren’t as effective as snow tires.
If you have the ability to keep a spare set of tires in your garage and expect to be driving in snowy, icy conditions regularly, it may be a good idea to keep two sets and change your tires depending on the demands of the season.
Winter Car Maintenance at T3 Atlanta
T3 Atlanta recommends having an annual winter car inspection in order to change out fluids, add antifreeze, and any other outstanding items before the weather gets below freezing. If you haven’t had your winter car maintenance yet, make an appointment today. We are Lexus, Toyota, Infiniti, and Nissan specialists with convenient locations in Smyrna and Decatur.