Are all-season tires sufficient to use in winter?

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It’s the same question every year: Should we change our tires? Anyone who relies on all-season tires does not have to deal with this issue. And demand for these practical all-rounders is growing.

But how do they fare during the winter?

Their numerous sipes can identify winter tires, which provide sufficient grip in snowy and icy conditions. They are made of softer rubber than summer tires to ensure driving stability and a short braking distance even in sub-zero temperatures.

Summer tires do not have fine sipes, but several wide longitudinal grooves should absorb as much water as possible in wet conditions. Even in challenging driving circumstances, safety is guaranteed by as few rigid tread blocks as possible.

What are all-season tires?

With their small sipes and pronounced longitudinal grooves, all-season tires are visually a mixture of a winter and a summer tire. The rubber compound must be designed to function at temperatures between minus 30 and 40 degrees.

Anyone who wants to opt for all-season tires should know precisely the individual application profile of the vehicle as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the tires.

After all, all-weather tires remain a compromise that cannot match the performance of good specialists for summer and winter.
For drivers who live in a moderate climate region and are not planning a skiing vacation or summer vacation in the south, the all-weather tires that scored “satisfactory” in the ADAC test are an alternative.

This also applies to owners of second and small cars who travel short distances, particularly in urban areas, and to anyone who needs to save money for the conversion and can leave the car in inclement weather.

It should be borne in mind that they do not achieve the best performance of specialized summer or winter tires.

ÖAMTC is also increasingly confronted with whether all-weather or all-season tires are a good option. Steffan Kerbl, an AMTC technician and tire expert, can unambiguously respond “yes” to the following: “It depends on the individual situation. There are good all-season tires, but they are always a compromise compared to summer and winter tires. However, this can be an alternative if, for instance, you frequently drive in well-lit, urban areas throughout the year. It saves having to change tires twice a year, paying tire depot fees or storing them in the basement. On the other hand, all-season tires last correspondingly fewer seasons.”

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