Should You Buy All Season Tyres?
Cars are almost always shipped from the factory with “summer tyres”. This isn’t just a vote of confidence in the British weather; summer tyres offer a good balance of price, performance and durability.
All the same, manufacturers admit that summer tyres are only the best choice for 65% of a typical British year. Surveys show that 95% of UK motorists stick with similar summer tyres when they re-purchase, but often this is because they don’t understand their other options.
Predicting the weatherAlthough Britain officially has a “temperate” climate, there are significant differences depending on where you live. Anywhere can get snow, but in Wales, it piles into drifts in hours and last for weeks and there are a lot of hills. Anywhere can get rain, but you probably won’t canoe down the High Street if you live in the East. And while it gets nippy in Newcastle, everybody knows it is a dry cold.
It isn’t the typical place and typical day you need to prepare for; it’s the dangerous ones. If there is just one icy day when cars slide downhill, that’s the day that matters. Manufacturers don’t plan for your local conditions or the places you drive your car. Only you can decide if you need tyres that are better in the wet, snow, heat or cold.
Some people keep spare wheel-sets in the garage ready for whatever the weather throws at them. The rest of us should choose tyres based upon our own location, vehicle, budget and driving style.
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Despite enormous improvements in tyre design, there is no universally perfect tyre. Every design is a balance of dry grip, wet grip, durability, noise control, aquaplaning resistance, fuel economy, high and low temperature tolerance, load-carrying ability, and so on. Run-flats also make demands that affect other characteristics.
According to manufacturers, 35% of the year it would be better to drive on a winter tyre designed for safety on snow and ice. In areas that get more than their share, a winter tyre can make sense. They perform better than summer tyres when the temperature drops below approximately 7 degrees centigrade.
The third option is an “all season” tyre. These do not necessarily improve all tyre characteristics under all road conditions but they are crafted to extend performance in the directions their designers think is most helpful. They offer a compromise between summer and winter tyres, so you can feel more confident all year long.
All leading brands - Pirelli, Falken, Bridgestone, Sumitomo - offer some kind of all-season. But their key advantages are often different from one another. For example, the Pirelli P Zero All Season Plus has improved grip in wet conditions and low rolling noise, but its performance on snow is less impressive. In contrast, the Falken Pro G4 All Season has good performance on snow but becomes noisier at speed.
You need to study each tyre’s specifications carefully in order to get the all-season that is right for you. If you need advice, Protyre is always the place to come. Our tyre professionals can help you choose from a huge range of budget, performance, winter, summer, all-season and run-flat tyres.