What Are All-Season Tyres?
All-season tyres are designed to be used all year round in countries with a temperate climate – such as the UK. They are designed to provide a good level of grip in summer and winter conditions, enabling you to motor safely with the same set of tyres all year.
Manufacturers of all-season tyres achieve this by using a combination of the tyre tread and rubber compounds found on summer tyres with those used for winter tyres.
It Sounds Too Good To Be True?
All-season tyres are naturally a compromise. In summer, you will get slightly better grip from summer tyres and in winter conditions, dedicated winter tyres will work slightly better.
On the other hand, using all-season tyres gives you an acceptable level of performance all year without the cost and hassle of changing your wheels or tyres twice a year (and storing a set of tyres all year). All-season tyres are much better in snow and ice than summer tyres but will work well in warm, dry conditions, too.
If you are worried about losing the performance advantage of summer tyres, remember that most parts of the UK have more than 100 days of ground frost a year. In addition, summer temperatures over the last 30 years have not averaged more than 17 degrees C, except in London. In many parts of the UK, average summer temperatures are considerably lower.
Summer tyres are designed to work best above 7 degrees Celsius and winter tyres are designed to work best below 7 degrees Celsius. All-season tyres sit in the middle and provide a year-round level of performance that we believe is ideal for many UK motorists.
For an idea of what to expect from all-season tyres, see my review of Michelin CrossClimate car tyres here. I’ve also written an older review of Hankook RA10 all-season tyres on vanrental.co.uk — it’s in two parts, summer and winter.
Are They Suitable For All Cars?
All-season tyres come in a more limited range of sizes than summer and winter tyres. They are suitable for the vast majority of ‘regular’ cars on the UK’s roads – family cars, people carriers, hatchbacks, SUVs and even most vans.
Drivers of high performance cars place much heavier demands on their tyres and may find it hard to get all-season tyres is the sizes and speed ratings that they need. If this is the case, the solution is to stick with using summer tyres in summer and winter tyres (if needed) in winter.
Remember that as with winter tyres, all-season tyres should be fitted to all four wheels of your car, not just the front or back wheels. Fitting different types of tyre to the front and rear of your car could cause unpredictable handling.
Where To Buy All-Season Tyres
Your local tyre fitting centre should be able to supply and fit all-season tyres but may not have them in stock. They may also be a little surprised when you ask for them, as they are not yet a popular choice in the UK (although they are popular in the USA and Canada).
One easier option might be to use an online service such as Blackcircles.com to order the tyres. Websites like this stock a wide range of tyres and will deliver them to a local tyre fitting centre in your area, where you will be able to have your new all-season tyres fitted as normal.