Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires

Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires

If you are planning to buy new tires, you might be confused between all-weather tires and winter tires. We have provided you with a great comparison of winter tires and all-season tires that will help you make an informed choice.


The primary difference between winter tires and all-season tires is the material. As the temperature drops, the rubber of all non-winter tires, including all-season tires gets hardened. The result is such tires cannot provide good traction performance. Winter tires have specialized high silica tread compounds that perform best at cold temperatures. The specialized material used in the construction of winter tires keeps the tire soft and pliable which translates into better grip on wet road conditions and snow-laden roads. Using all-season tires on snow-laden roads is like rolling hard plastic on wet surfaces where the contact patch of the surface is minimal. In such conditions, there is no grip on the surface at all.

All-season tires are designed to perform well in dry and wet road conditions. According to tire experts, the all-season tire is more suited for the summer season. These tires cannot perform well in wet road conditions when the temperatures also drop significantly. In simple words, the all-season tire could be a good summer tire but not a good winter tire. The rubber used in the construction of all-season tires will harden at extremely low temperatures. Also, the thickness of the rubber in all-season tires is no match for ice.


All-season tires are wider than winter tires. There is no standardized rule for the width of all-season tires. However, most all-season tires have a width of 215mm. On the other hand, winter tires are narrower. Their width is around 195mm or 205 mm. Winter tires are designed narrower as they are required to slice through the snow. With narrower tires, it is easy to drive the car through the snow-laden roads. Also, the risk of hydroplaning decreases with reduced width.

Tread Pattern

Winter tires have an unidirectional tread pattern that helps in evacuating slush and water from the road surface.The open tread design of winter tires is more effective in reducing hydroplaning effects and improving traction performance. On the other hand, all-season tires have a smaller V-groove tread design that reduces noise and provides better traction performance in dry road conditions. The all-season tire provides good traction performance in wet road conditions but they do not have the ability to clear thick, moist stuff like snow.


All-season tires perform best at moderate temperatures and stop performing well below 45°F. On the other hand, winter tires are designed to perform at extremely cold temperatures.

Now that you know the primary differences between both types of tires, it will be easy for you to select the right one this winter. Visit your nearest dealership and consult a certified mechanic before getting the tires changed on your vehicle.