Snow Tires Versus All Season Tires. What’s The Difference?

Snow Tires vs. All-Season Tires: What’s the Difference?

With winter just around the corner, anyone who is considering buying tires may be wondering if they can simply purchase a set of all season tires or should they invest in a separate set of snow tires. It has not been that long ago that, in some areas of the country, it was necessary to buy a separate set of tires for the winter months in order to get the best traction. Today, however, this may no longer be necessary especially if you live in an area where winter is fairly mild. Before you choose all season tires vs winter when you buy tires, it is important to understand the difference.

Better Performance from Winter Tires

Winter tires, the new name used for what used to be called snow tires, outperform all season tires in snow, ice and even rain. Snow tires have a more aggressive tread pattern and are created from a softer rubber compound. The softer compound allows the aggressive tread to compact snow and toss it from under the tire as it rotates. There are also brands of winter tires for car owners that incorporate bubbles in the tread. The road cuts into the outer layer creating sharp edges that act as a squeegee to wipe the road and give you better traction.

Improvements to Winter Tires for Car Owners

Today’s tires for winter are much improved over the ones you may remember when you were young. The rubber compounds are new, containing silica. Tread designs are far more aggressive than they were years ago. In one recent test, one car with all weather tires and the other with tires for winter accelerated to 30 miles per hour and then hit the brakes on a snow-covered surface. The car with tires designed for winter stopped 66 percent faster than the car with all weather tires. On ice, the car equipped with winter tires stopped 48 percent faster.

Military deals on tires

New Tires Deals

One thing you may want to do is find tires deals for tires designed for winter as they are often much more expensive than all season tires. You also want to remember that tires cheap may not be your best option if you need to use them in winter weather. Four tires for snow will cost as much as $600 or more and you will want to have the tires on all four wheels. You will also have to pay to switch them each spring and fall which may cost you about $18 each. You could save money by purchasing an extra set of wheels so the tires are always mounted. You may also be able to find tires on sale that are already mounted that will fit your vehicle. Keep in mind a set of wheels could cost you $480 per set. If your car has tire pressure sensors, it could cost as much as $50 to switch each season as the shop cannot legally install new tires without tire pressures if your vehicle requires them.


Mild Winters

If the area you live has relatively mild winters with just a few snow flurries each year and very few times when the roads are icy, it is probably fine to buy tires that are all-weather. Unless you deal with snow and ice on a regular basis, it is probably not worth the cost of the car tires and installation each spring and fall. When vehicles leave the factory, they are equipped with all-weather tires. Tests by Consumer Report have found that all season tires vs winter tires handled fine in dry and wet braking circumstances. Some even handled well in snow and ice although tires designed for winter weather handled better in heavy snow and ice. It is also important to remember the size and weight of your car will also have an impact on how well it handles in snow and ice, not just the car tires. If your vehicle is four-wheel drive, it may handle just as well with all-weather tires as it would with tires designed for winter or chains.

Snow Chains

On the other hand, if you live in an area where you get heavy snow or ice, even tires designed for winter may not be enough. Some states have traction laws that require snow chains during certain conditions. Tire chains are webs of cable or chain that you put on the wheels, often the front tires, to aid in traction. Tire chains are much more effective in snow than most tires designed for winter and in some mountain areas, traction laws require that you have them even if you have tires designed for winter. Snow chains should only be used when you are driving in heavy snow or ice, they don’t stay on your tires all year. Recently, manufacturers began offering a different alternative to car snow chains. Snow socks are a textile covering that slips over the tires. They are less bulky than car snow chains but work best on cars that don’t have the clearance around the tire to accommodate chains. Snow socks are slightly more expensive than tire chains. Attaching chains can be difficult alone so experts advise having someone behind the wheel who can move forward as you begin attaching the tires.


When it is time to purchase tires online or at a brick-and-mortar store, you want to get the best tires deals possible. You could spend your day searching for tires on sale or you can find tires cheap somewhere that may not meet traction laws in your state. Rather than searching for tires online, consider visiting EmployeeandMemberDiscounts.com. We have collected discounts on many new tires that used to be available only to certain employees and members of specific organizations. We make buying tires much easier and less expensive. We can even help you set up a customized discount program that will allow your employees or members to save money on car tires, health needs, vacations and more. Learn more by filling out the easy online form or give us a call today. There is never a membership fee and your employees can begin accessing discounts immediately.

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