For those who live in areas where winter gets too cold to drive on summer tires safely, all-season tires become a no-brainer solution. But what about using all-season tires when it’s more than just cold and you have snow and ice to worry about?


As with summer and winter tires, all-season tires are available in an array of performance options, from high-performance to grand touring and beyond. There’s a good all-season tire choice for just about every type of driving and every vehicle out there. 


Can All-Season Tires Really Handle the Snow?

The biggest concern with many all-season tires isn’t how they handle heat. Any all-season tire is going to work fine in the summer as long as you’re not trying to break any records on a race track. Winter driving is where the most concern comes up, especially related to driving on snow or ice.


It should go without saying that performance-oriented all-season tires won’t do very well in the snow. Most will work fine when temperatures get into the mid- to low-40s, but if there’s snow on the ground, extreme caution is warranted.
Most all-season tires have M+S on the sidewall, and that means they’re rated for at least some amount of traction in mud and snow. That’s not saying much about snow traction, however. Some are certainly better than others, but most M+S tires still leave a bit to be desired when there’s more than a light dusting of snow on the ground.


All-season tires with Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) on the sidewall are actually rated by the RMA (Rubber Manufacturers Association) to deliver stricter winter-approved performance. All-season tires with the 3PMSF symbol deliver minimum requirements for severe snow service, so they’ll not only work well at or below freezing, they’ll also get you around safely on roads that have light snow and even some icy surfaces. Obviously, caution still needs to be exhibited, but they are all-season tires than can really handle snow.


Snow Tires vs. All-Season Tires

We’ll cut right to the chase: If you get real winter weather where you live—with consistent temperatures in the 30s or lower, regular snow, and a high potential for ice, then genuine snow tires are a must. 


Even the best 3PMSF all-season/all-weather tires won’t be as good on snow and ice as true winter tires. They are a great compromise for those with mild or intermittent winter weather, though. If you’re unsure about whether you’ll need snow tires vs all-season tires, feel free to contact us at Zohr or take a look at our article on how to decide whether or not you need winter tires for help when making a decision.


What’s the Difference Between Standard and 3PMSF All-Season Tires?

The range of standard, non-3PMSF all-season tires is fairly wide. Much like the variations between summer, all-season, or winter tires, some of the differences are visible just from looking at the tires.


Performance-based all-season tires have less siping and more aggressive tread patterns that help with water evacuation and cornering. The rubber compounds won’t be ideal for ultra-high-performance driving and competition, and the combination of tread pattern and rubber compounds will be okay in cool to cold weather, but extreme caution will be needed in any winter weather.
More typical all-season tires have even more siping, narrower rain grooves, and more tread blocks. The tread designs combined with rubber compounds that are more capable of handling near-freezing temperatures make them good year-round tires in areas with mild winters. The siping and numerous tread blocks give them an advantage over performance all-season tires when there’s light snow on the ground.


All-season tires with the 3PMSF rating bridge the gap between standard all-season tires and true snow tires. They have even more siping along with other technological advancements in tread design and rubber compounds. Most importantly, they’ve been tested to meet industry standards for severe snow service to earn the Three Peak Mountain Snowflake symbol.


How to Choose Between All-Season Tires for Snow and Ice

So, how do you choose what’s best for you? If you’re asking yourself that question, it means you’ve at least decided that true snow tires aren’t necessary for where you drive. If you still need to choose between standard all-season or 3PMSF all-season tires, ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Do we get more than an inch of snow regularly?
  • Is the snow on the ground for a while before getting cleared?
  • Do I have to commute to work, drive kids to school, or run errands even if it’s snowing?
  • Is there ever ice on the ground after rain or melting snow?
  • Do temperatures stay at or below freezing for several days?

If you answered “Yes” to those questions, then 3PMSF all-season tires for snow and ice driving are a good choice for you, especially if you were on the verge of thinking you need snow tires.


If snow and ice are extremely rare where you live, and if temperatures don’t often get into the 30s or lower, then standard all-season tires are probably sufficient. Either option will save you from the expense of changing out snow tires at the beginning and end of winter.
Of course, there’s another driving situation to consider. What if you live in an area that gets a mild enough winter for all-season tires for snow and ice in your city, but you like to drive to the deeper snow for winter sports and other activities? 


In that case, no type of all-season tire will really be sufficient, and bringing a set of winter wheels and tires might be overkill. That’s when tire chains or AutoSocks would be necessary. When it’s extremely cold, you lack the space for a box of chains, and you don’t want to struggle with the hassle of installing chains on the side of a road, AutoSocks are simple yet effective and are recommended by numerous automotive manufacturers.


How to Buy All-Season Tires

Gone are the days of driving to a tire shop to buy new all-season tires. The same is true for browsing online, waiting for them to be delivered, and then still needing to sit around in a tire shop while they get installed. Mobile tire replacement is the most convenient and sensible way to get new for snow and ice or any other condition.


Contact Zohr online or call/text us at 816-800-9175 and we’ll be happy to help you decide what all-season tires are best for you and your vehicle. Plus, we specialize in mobile tire replacement, so our technicians will deliver your new tires directly to you and install them at your home or office.

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