When Are All-Season Tyres Best?
A lot of drivers think that choosing tyres is just a question of choosing a specific tread. In fact, it’s a lot more involved than that. There are many kinds of tyres that suit different driving environments and specific situations. In today’s piece, we’re focusing more on all-season tyres and the conditions that call for these kinds of tyres.
What are All-Season Tyres?
To begin, let us clarify what we are referring to when we talk about “All-Season” tyres. These tyres date back to the late 1970s, when Goodyear released the first all-season tyre as a way to ease the burden on drivers who for years prior to 1977 had been switching from summer tyres to winter tyres as a matter of course each time the seasons changed. Goodyear defined their new tyre as one that was suitable for most places most of the year. Today, we understand this as meaning a general-purpose tyre that is good for temperate climates.
The UK is blessed with exemption from much of the world’s most extreme weather. Outside of excessive and frequent rainfall, the seasons do not get anywhere near as extreme as locations further afield. This makes the UK, along with a number of other European countries and locations within the US, prime target markets for all-season tyres.
When are All-Season Tyres Best?
To borrow from the above section, the keyword we need to answer this question is “extreme.” Whenever the weather is not creating extreme conditions on the road, then all-season tyres are the perfect steed upon which to ride. They have much better traction than summer tyres, which makes them ideal for wet conditions and light wintry conditions where the roads are made slicker by the naturally cooled and dampened weather.
The rubber in these tyres has been especially designed to be, above all, flexible across a wide range of temperatures. Cold winter temperatures and warm summer temperatures do nothing to hinder the pliability of the rubber, whereas summer and winter tyres are vulnerable to these conditions. Where all-season tyres can’t help as much, however, is in the extreme sub-zero freezing temperatures of a deep winter, nor in the extraordinarily soaring temperatures of a sweltering summer.
In general, the UK is free of such extremes, which once again is why all-season tyres are generally considered to be the most ideal tyre type in the country.
What are the Benefits of All-Season Tyres?
Another good way to understand when exactly all-season tyres are the best choice is to know their benefits. Anyone seeking or needing such an advantage on the road would be best-placed to purchase all-season tyres for their car.
1. Effective in a Wide Temperature Range
From a little below freezing point all the way up to temperatures in the 20s sand even 30s in Celsius are all acceptable and manageable to an all-season tyre. Summer tyres, on the other hand, only are effective from about 10 degrees and over at the very least, and winter tyres are only for temperatures well under 5 degrees Celsius.
Therefore, all-season tyres provide a great amount of overlap, allowing drivers to keep the same set through all the seasons. If you live in a rural area or somewhere like the highlands of Scotland, or Snowdonia in Wales, they you might need the additional traction that winter tyres, or even special off-road tyres, bring to your vehicle. For the majority of people, however, the all-season tyres provide more than enough traction.
2. Longer Lifespan
If you don’t want to have to change tyres as often, then all-season tyres are best. Because they are designed to work across multiple conditions, the rubber and other materials used are all that much hardier and more durable. Some have a lifespan lasting up to 80,000 miles. Depending on your annual mileage and typical everyday driving habits, that could mean as much as 8-10 years of driving.
3. When You Need Traction in Wet Conditions
It’s no secret anywhere in the world that the UK is synonymous with rainy weather. This makes British drivers very used to driving on slicker wet roads. To stay safe, they need tyres that are able to provide adequate traction for these conditions. All-season tyres are arguably the best way to achieve this.
4. They Work on All Vehicle Kinds
Whether you’re driving a saloon car, hatchback, SUV, crossover or something else, they all can accept and work well with all-season tyres. This means that all-season tyres are best regardless of what car you have or are planning to buy. Using all-season tyres means you don’t have to limit what kind of vehicle you buy and operate.
5. More Budget Friendly
If you use season-specific tyres, then the inevitable result of that is you will spend more money on an extra set. Besides the tyres themselves, you’ll also need somewhere to store them. That works out fine if you have a nice, big and empty garage to use, but what about people who don’t? They may have to spend extra money to have their summer/winter tyres stored somewhere. Therefore, all-season tyres are the better option for the more budget-conscious driver.
Under What Conditions Must You Use Season-Specific Tyres?
As is suggested above, the key is to look out for more extreme conditions. The less extreme the conditions are, the less your need for season-specific tyres. Locations where winters are particularly harsh, for example in the far north of Scotland, may experience conditions that are conducive to winter tyre ownership. Equally, residents of the southeast of England, where summer temperatures may exceed 30 degrees Celsius, may prefer to use the rubber of a summer tyre on those roads. The vast majority of UK residents, however, do not experience any particular conditions that warrant season-specific tyres.
Sometimes, the need can only be defined by the individual driver. When a driver feels they need more traction than an all-season tyre can offer, then they could make the switch to winter or off-road tyres. When they want to feel more freedom on the road, then they may consider summer tyres. In a place where the conditions so rarely call for it, however, every month of the year is best for all-season tyres.