If you need new tires for your car this upcoming winter, you may be deciding if you should get snow tires or ones designed to be used all season. Both have their own advantages that are worth knowing to make an informed decision.
Start by looking at the unique features of the tires that impact performance.
The tread grooves on winter and all-season tires are their most defining factor. You'll notice with winter tires that there are deep grooves along the outside of the tire, as well as irregular and sharp edges that will help the tire go through snow. The tires will be better at gripping onto the road and navigating slippery terrains because of it. All-season tires are going to have treads designed to be used all year round. The grooves are straight, which helps water flow through the tire when you are driving over a slippery surface. The grooves also assist with snow, but they are not nearly as effective as winter tires.
There is also a big difference with how the tread reacts to different temperatures. A winter tire is going to have treads that remain flexible when temperatures are below freezing. This helps the tire grip to the road in weather conditions where the road isn't completely flat, including those sections covered with snow and ice.
All-season tires have tread that is going to get harder when the temperature gets colder outside. You may find that the tires slip on a snowy road more often but perform great on flat roads all other times during the year.
If you live in an area that has very harsh winters, you'll really appreciate the benefits that winter tires can provide. You'll feel safer when driving in your car during the harshest snowfalls, since your car will be more stable on those slick surfaces. Meanwhile, if your winters are not too harsh, then getting all-season tires may be the best choice. You'll see great performance during 9 out of the 12 months of the year when it is not snowing and save money by not needing two sets of tires.
Buying winter tires will require that you still have a set of normal tires to put back on when the warm weather comes. If you leave the winter tires on all year, you'll end up wearing down the unique tread of the winter tires much faster and defeat the purpose of getting them when next winter comes.