Summer Tires vs. All Season Tires vs. Winter Tires – What’s the Difference?

Row of tires


Switching tires with the change of season can be a hassle. So, you may be thinking that you can just install all season tires and your car will be fine all year round. Not so fast. All season tires can be a great choice for moderate climates, but they’re not ideal for some of the particularly harsh winters we get in the Ridgeway area. To help you determine when and if to switch your car’s tires, we compare below summer tires vs. all-season tires, winter vs. summer tires, and all-season tires vs. both types.



Summer Tires vs. All-Season Tires

All-season tires perform reasonably well during the summer, but not as well as summer tires, especially on wet Martinsville roads. All-season tires are designed to perform in a much wider range of temperatures than summer tires but have to make some compromises to do so. Here are some conditions where one type of tire performs better than the other:

  • Wet roads – Summer tires perform better
  • Dry roads – Summer tires perform better
  • Lower temperatures – All-season tires perform better

Winter Tires vs. Summer Tires

Winter tires are specially made for temperatures under 45 degrees. They have more flexible rubber that will not stiffen in temperatures below that mark, and thicker treads that help with traction in snow and ice. However, they do not do well in warm weather, especially on wet roads. Summer tires should never be used in temperatures below 45 degrees, however.

Depending on the road conditions, either summer or winter tires will be better:

  • Wet roads – Summer tires perform better in temperatures over 45 degrees
  • Dry roads – Summer tires perform better in temperatures over 45 degrees
  • Lower temperatures – Winter tires are always the best choice for temperatures below 45 degrees

All-Season Tires vs. Winter and Summer Tires

All-season tires handle cold weather better than summer tires, but not as well as winter tires. Likewise, they handle warm weather better than winter tires but not as well as summer tires. All weather tires sacrifice some wet road traction to get a moderate amount of traction in ice and snow. They also sacrifice some flexibility and grip in cold weather to extend the life of their treads. See how these tires do in the following conditions:

  • Wet roads – All-season tires are outperformed by either summer or winter tires depending on weather
  • Dry roads – All-season tires are outperformed by either summer or winter tires depending on weather
  • Lower temperatures – All-season tires are outperformed by winter tires below 45 degrees

Let the Tire Experts at Gunter Nissan of Martinsville Help

If you feel it’s time to replace your tires or switch them out for a type that’s more appropriate for the season, schedule an appointment with our tire center. And, if you found this guide to be helpful, check out our guide on how to do a tire rotation. We’re just down the road from Roanoke, so drop by or contact us today.


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