All Weather Tires: The Ultimate Solution for Safe and Easy Driving in Changing Weather?

Dear Mike,

I have been doing some research online and came across the concept of an “all weather tire.” As someone who lives in a region with various weather conditions, I am intrigued by this idea. Can you provide me with more information on what an all weather tire is, how it differs from an all season tire, and whether it is recommended for my car? I appreciate your expertise on this matter!


Dear Gretchen,

Thanks for reaching out and asking about all weather tires – it’s always good to see people looking to improve their vehicle’s performance and safety, especially through the treacherous Canadian weather. You’re absolutely right, these tires are a recent innovation by tire manufacturers, and they’ve come a long way in terms of development and availability.

So, what are all weather tires, and how do they differ from all season tires? Well, as you mentioned, all weather tires are sort of a hybrid of all season and winter tires – they’re designed to provide good performance in a wide range of weather and temperature conditions, including cold and light snow. This is accomplished through a combination of specialized tread design and a softer rubber compound which allows the tire to remain effective at low temperatures.

All season tires, on the other hand, are designed to perform well in a variety of conditions, from hot summers to mild winters. They usually have a harder rubber compound than winter tires, which means they tend to wear more slowly on the highway but aren’t as effective in very cold or slippery conditions.

As for whether all weather tires are recommended for your car – the answer, as always, depends on your specific needs and driving habits. If you’re someone who’s mostly doing short trips around town and doesn’t want the hassle or expense of switching between winter and summer tires, all weather tires might be a good choice for you. They’ll provide good enough performance across a range of temperatures and conditions, without needing to have a second set of dedicated season tires shipped in.

However, if you regularly encounter heavy snow or ice, or if you’re someone who puts a lot of mileage on your car, you may still want to consider having separate sets of winter and summer tires. The softer compound of all weather tires means they’ll tend to wear more quickly on the highway, and they may not provide enough traction in very slippery or challenging conditions.

That being said, there are definitely some excellent all weather tires on the market today which are more than capable of handling Canadian winters. Some good brands include Michelin, Goodyear, and Nokian – all of which produce models with the ‘snowflake and mountain’ symbol on the sidewall, indicating they meet the standards for true winter tires.

To give you an example, I had a regular client of mine who had an all wheel drive Jeep Grand Cherokee with Michelin all weather tires. This guy lived on a rural road and needed to be able to get in and out of his lane way easily throughout the winter. After several years, without having to switch between tire varieties each season, he rated their performance in the snow as “solid”. On the highway during the summer he didn’t experience any kind of slipping, losing traction or spinning out of control.

In conclusion, all weather tires can be a great option for drivers who don’t want to worry about switching between winter and summer tires each season. If you’re someone who mainly does short trips around town, or who doesn’t regularly encounter extreme weather conditions, they can provide good enough traction and handling to keep you safe. However, if you regularly have to deal with heavy snow or ice, or if you put a lot of miles on your car, you might still want to look into dedicated season tires. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local tire shop or expert if you have specific questions or concerns about your vehicle’s performance.

Drive safely!

Mike Urban