What Are All-Weather Tires and Are They Good All Year?

What Are All-Weather Tires and Are They Good All Year? Here's What You Need to Know.

March 23, 2023

What are all-weather tires and are they good all year round? Are you looking for a tire that can perform well throughout the year? Choosing the right tire for your vehicle can be a challenge, especially when there are so many options available. All-season tires, all-terrain tires, and all-weather tires are some of the most popular choices for Canadian drivers.

Many Canadians prefer swapping to winter tires during the colder months, while others opt for a single tire all year round. All-weather tires are designed for year-round use and have added winter driving capability. For drivers in mild climates or those who drive SUVs or trucks, all-weather tires are a popular option.

Many all-terrain and off-road tires also have added cold-weather traction with a Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) logo, which means they are suitable for winter use. This designation means the tires have achieved an improvement to wintertime traction, and are suitable for winter use. With a 3PMSF rated all-terrain tire, drivers get added confidence on snow and ice from a tire they don’t need to swap tires seasonally when the cold weather sets in.

Winter Tire Snowflake Symbol Three Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF)

All-weather tires are specialized tires that work every day of the year, including during winter travel. They are designed to work across a wide range of driving conditions and temperatures. But are all-weather tires right for you? Or, is a dedicated winter tire a better choice? To help you decide, we're answering some common questions about all-weather tires.


What are the best all-weather tires?

All Weather vs. All Season Tire Comparison

The truth is, there's no single "best" tire for any given category. There are a lot of factors that can affect how well a tire performs for you, such as what type of vehicle you drive, where you drive it, and the weather conditions you encounter.

The best all-weather tires for you will be the ones that meet your needs and budget, while also performing well based on your driving style and the conditions you face. You can read reviews from other drivers with similar vehicles and driving conditions to help you choose the right tires. You could also ask for advice on online forums for your specific car or truck, or talk to a knowledgeable professional at your local tire retailer.

Some popular all-weather tire choices include the Michelin CrossClimate2, Nokian Outpost, Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady, Toyo Celsuis CUV A, Firestone WeatherGrip, and Kumho Crugen HT51.


What's the difference between all-season and all-weather tires?

All-season tires are designed for general-purpose use in milder conditions. They're like a jack of all trades: they work well in a variety of non-winter conditions, but aren’t specialized for use in any specific type of driving. They are suitable for driving on dry and relatively warm pavement, with good performance in cool temperatures and on wet roads.

All Season vs. All Weather vs. Winter Tire Comparison Chart

On the other hand, all-weather tires offer additional features, systems, design implements, and technologies to enhance grip and traction on snow, ice, and slush.

All-weather tires are available for cars and crossovers too. They are designed to work every day of the year and offer excellent performance in a wide range of driving conditions and temperatures, including those common during winter travel.

To choose the best all-weather tires, you need to consider various factors, such as your budget, driving style, and competence. Reading reviews from drivers of similar vehicles and climates can help you make an informed decision. 

Both all-season and all-weather tires are suitable for use in spring, summer and fall, though all weather tires extend their capability into the winter months to give drivers an edge over all-season tires when driving on snow and ice.


Are all-weather tires considered winter tires? 

Are All Weather Tires Considered Winter Tires

The short answer: no. Winter tires are specifically designed for use in cold temperatures and winter driving conditions, while all-weather tires are suitable for all weather conditions, including warm and cold temperatures. Winter tires offer the best performance in severe winter conditions, but need to be removed in warmer temperatures to prevent them from wearing out too quickly.

If you want to know more about how long winter tires last and how to extend their lifespan, check out our resource here.

On the other hand, all-weather tires provide good performance in a wide range of conditions, including light snow and ice. Although they offer some advantage over all-season tires in winter driving, they cannot match the performance of winter tires in extreme winter conditions.

Can you use all-weather tires year-round?

Yes, you can. All-weather tires are designed to provide good performance in both summer and winter conditions, eliminating the need to switch to winter tires during the colder months. If you're shopping for snow-rated tires, check out our five winter tire money-saving tips to help you make the most of your purchase.


Are all-weather tires good for winter?

It depends on the weather where you live. If you experience light snow or freezing rain occasionally, an all-season tire may not provide enough traction and an all-weather tire could be a better choice. On the other hand, if you face deep snow, ice, slush and freezing temperatures regularly, a dedicated winter tire will give you the best performance and safety.

All-weather tires are designed to work well in all types of weather, but winter tires are specifically made for winter driving conditions. When it comes to the ultimate performance on snow and ice, nothing beats a dedicated winter tire. However, all-weather tires can still provide an advantage over all-season tires in serious winter conditions.

To recap, all-season tires aren’t great in the winter. All-weather tires are better in the winter, and may be sufficient for drivers who face mild winter conditions on occasion and who prefer not to do a seasonal tire swap. Still, when it comes to the ultimate performance in winter driving conditions, a dedicated winter tire is your best choice.

If you prefer not to swap tires seasonally and only experience mild winter conditions occasionally, all-weather tires may be a good option. But if you regularly drive in harsh winter weather, dedicated winter tires are your best choice for safety and performance. Remember to consider the severity of your winter conditions when making your decision.


Do all-weather tires come with the Snowflake symbol?

Yes, they do. The Snowflake symbol means that the tires have passed a basic traction test that requires a small improvement in winter driving conditions. However, this test only measures traction while accelerating on snow and ice and does not include braking and handling.

So, while the Snowflake symbol indicates that the tire has met a minimal testing standard for improved traction on slippery surfaces, it does not necessarily mean superior wintertime performance.

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