All Weather Tires: What to look for

Do I Really Need All Weather Tires?

This is probably the first question on a person's mind when considering purchasing all weather tires. The answer will be determined by your driving needs and often by your location. If you drive in an area with regular heavy rains such as Florida or the Northwest, which combines heavy rains with steep terrain, then you would definitely benefit from owning good all weather tires. Standing water can cause your car to hydroplane and lose control if your tires are not designed to keep traction in heavy rain conditions. If you drive anywhere in areas that experience heavy snow, then a good all weather tire is almost imperative. Snow combined with icy conditions, especially in steep terrain, requires winter tires, possibly ones with studs.

The choice of whether to buy all weather tires is up to you. When you consider that your car is a large investment, it is important to protect that investment by having the best equipment for safe driving. More importantly, your passengers are precious cargo. Your car has a lot depending upon its performance, and your tires are the only things keeping your car on the road.

How They Work

All weather tires are designed to have good traction on all road conditions, from wet to icy to dry. While they are not designed specifically for snowy conditions, they can be used year round in most driving conditions.

All weather tires are designed to have good traction on all road conditions, from wet to icy to dry. While they are not designed specifically for snowy conditions, they can be used year round in most driving conditions. The design of the tread allows water to flow off of the tire with minimal hydroplaning during rainy weather. The best all weather tires will also provide good speed, control, and traction in all weather conditions.

All Weather Versus Traditional Tires

The main difference between all weather tires and standard tires is the way the tread is designed. All weather tires have grooves in the tread that run at a V towards the center of the tire. This helps direct water away from the tire while avoiding hydroplaning. Traditional tires have slightly less of a V shape to the tread. Also, the best all weather tires will be made of compounds that are not sensitive to climate changes.

Who Should Use All Weather Tires?

The people who will get the best benefit out of all weather tires are those who live in climates where the weather changes frequently. In areas where it rarely rains, there is little benefit to using all weather tires. Also, even the best all weather tires will not be sufficient in bad snowstorms without chains. However, people who live in moderate climates can benefit from all weather tires throughout most of the year. These tires perform well on slightly snowy roads. Also, these tires respond well to temperature changes, which is important in moderate climates that have all four seasons.

Understanding Tire Rating Lingo

Tires have ratings, and understanding these ratings will help you choose the right tire for your driving conditions. For instance, tires will be given a traction rating, which is indicated by a letter from AA to C. The highest rated tires are the AA tires, and the C tires are the lowest rated tires. The higher the traction grade, the faster the car will stop on wet roads. Also, with all terrain tires severe weather rating indicates that the tire will perform well in extreme rain or snow. Since these are also all terrain tires, they make excellent all weather tires for people who drive in a variety of conditions.

Tires also have a tread wear grade. This indicates how quickly the tread will wear down. All weather tires need to have good tread to function properly. The higher the number, the slower the tread will wear down. This rating is a number between 100 and 700. Finally, the temperature grade is something you also must understand, particularly for all weather tires. This is another letter that indicates how resistant the tire is to heat. Hot weather can wear down a tire, so the best all weather tires will have a high temperature grade. This rating is indicated by another letter, A, B, or C, where A is the most resistant, and C is the least resistant.

Types of All Weather Tires

There are several different types of all weather tires on the market. Standard all weather tires are called passenger all weather tires. These have decent traction, but lack handling and steering response of some of the fancier versions. Touring all weather tires provide a smooth ride with decent traction and performance. Those who are concerned with performance will want performance or high performance all weather tires. Along with year-round traction, these tires have a nice appearance and provide superior handling and performance. Some would say that ultra high performance all weather tires are the best all weather tires on the market. These not only provide good traction through the tread design, but also through being made out of compounds that stay flexible in cold weather. This means that these provide the best traction in winter driving conditions. They also have the best high-speed capabilities.

Buying All Weather Tires Online

While this may seem surprising to you, you can actually buy all weather tires online. Most major tire companies sell tires online. Shopping sites like NexTag also sell tires. However, if you really want to save money on your all season tires, you need to look for a discount tire seller. There are several of these sites available, such as www.discounttire.com, www.americantiredepot.com, and www.tirerack.com. On these sites, you can shop for a variety of all weather tires from different manufacturers, compare the ratings of these tires, and even read consumer reviews of the tires in order to choose the one that best fits your needs.

When using an online source to purchase all weather tires, be sure to check for hidden fees, especially shipping. Sometimes the shipping on tires that you buy on the Internet can be high, and this cost will counteract the savings you found by buying your tires with the discount company. Also, make sure that you are getting new tires, not repaired tires. Check consumer reporting sites to ensure that you are dealing with a quality, legitimate site. If you do your homework, you can safely and affordably buy tires online.

Searching for tires is one of those things. Armed with a little basic information, this task can be a bit more interesting and less of a chore.

Are All Weather Tires Really Different?

Tires are a compromise. Performance tires are designed to grip the road as the tires heat up. This doesn't work in cold weather, as these tires become as hard as plastic below 32 degrees. The average long wear tire is built with rubber composites and tread patterns that are designed for long, even wear. Even some all weather tires are meant to be driven year round and are not specifically designed for deep winter traction.

All Weather Tires

What exactly are all weather tires? The easy answer is that they are tires that help keep your car on the road in any type of weather. Rain, sleet, or snow can make it difficult for your tires to keep traction. All weather tires are designed with certain features that increase traction and channel water and ice out from under the tire, reducing the chance of slippage. All weather tires often feature deeper, wider treads in specific patterns for this purpose, but some tires meant for driving in heavy snow or ice have studs on them, similar to the cleats on golf shoes. Most all weather tires are meant to be used year round; however, studded tires should only be used in winter conditions, as the studs can get worn down too rapidly on bare roads and can damage road surfaces.

Which Type?

The type of all weather tire you choose depends upon the types of conditions and terrain you expect to encounter in your area. A good all weather tire meant for every day driving will work fine for you, if you are in an area that experiences heavy rains. The tread pattern for all weather tires is designed to channel away the extra water and help the tires keep traction. However, most all weather tires are meant specifically for dealing with snow, and that's where the differences come into play.

Which Brand?

The sheer number of options when it comes to tires can be daunting. Of the dozens of tire companies, nearly all of them offer an all weather tire, so choosing can be a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, there are a number of magazines and websites that do the work for you by reviewing tires and publishing the results.

According to ConsumerSearch.com, the best high-performance all-season, wet climate tires are the Bridgestone Turanza LS-H. http://www.consumersearch.com/www/automotive/tires/index.html

"Turanza LS-H tires get excellent scores for resistance to hydroplaning and wet-road cornering ability; experts say the tire's water-evacuation channels work very well. As a touring tire, the Turanza is meant to ride a little better than a high-performance tire like the BF Goodrich Traction T/A, which is optimized for cornering and quick maneuvers."

The best all season tires, according to ConsumerSearch.com, are Yokohama Avid TRZ.


"Among standard all-season tires, the T-rated Yokohama Avid TRZ gets excellent ratings in reviews for wet and dry acceleration and braking, along with a comfortable ride and low noise. A new silica tread compound has improved traction in snow, allowing the tire to remain pliable at lower temperatures."

The results from http://www.tirerack.com/ confirm that these are the two top tires for all weather travel, listing the Yokohama Avid TRZ as the top rated all weather tire, followed by the Bridgestone Turanza LS-T.

You can check out the full list here:http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/surveydisplay.jsp?type=ST

The results for winter tires were a little different from the all weather tires. Of the performance winter tires, the Dunlop SP Winter Sport 3D came out on top, with the Dunlop Winter Sport M3 and the Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25 following. For studless ice and snow tires, the top three were the Michelin X-Ice, Bridgestone Blizzak REVO 1, and Bridgestone Blizzak WS-50 respectively. There was only one studded tire that made the list. The Pirelli Winter Carving studded tire received the highest rating in this category; however, it is unclear how many studded tires were tested. Results seem to indicate that the Pirelli was the only one in the running.

Check out the full results here:http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/surveydisplay.jsp?type=W & amp;VT=C

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