Snow Tires – NO, All-Weather Tires
Posted date : Dec 13, 2019.
In the fall 2019 issue of Snowbird magazine, I saw a query about snow tires for snowbirds from Harvey Bates. I shared Harvey’s dilemma, and solved it, by switching to a new class of tires called, “all-weather tires,” not to be confused with all-season tires. “All-season tires” lose their effectiveness below plus 7 degrees Celsius.
All-weather tires are winter tires that are designed to be used year-round. They may not be as good as a dedicated snow tire, but they are definitely superior to all-season tires in winter conditions. I have been using the Nokian WR G3 SUV tires for numerous years; first on a Lincoln Navigator with both 4×4 and AWD; now on a Toyota Highlander with AWD. My personal experience has been that the all-weather tires are far superior to the all-season tires in winter conditions. Some all-weathers may cost a bit more than dedicated snow tires, but you don’t have to own two sets of tires. Having one set of tires that can be used year-round more than compensates for the price difference and hassle of two sets of tires.
According to an article “Motor Mouth” written by David Booth, Nov. 22 2018, on www.driving.ca, “…all-weathers offer 80 per cent of the winter traction of full snows and 80 per cent of the tread mileage of all-seasons. In braking tests, all-weather tires stopped almost as quickly from 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) as full snows and were a marked 12 feet (almost four metres) better than all-seasons. Perhaps more importantly, the very best – in CR’s testing, Michelin’s new Cross Climate − are truly great all-around tires, offering excellent wet- and dry-road braking and handling, excellent winter traction and, for the cost-conscious buyer, a tread life CR rates at a more than respectable 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometres).”
If optimizing winter performance is of greater priority, the Nokian WGR4 offers superior winter performance and decent tread mileage (96,000 kilometres) at the expense of a little wet-weather handling. Which you choose is much less important than choosing any of these new formulations over trying to manage summer tires on winter roads. In Canada, at least, all-weathers are the true all-season tires.”
In Canada, “Kal Tire” has the exclusive rights to sell Nokian Tires and I believe that Canadian Tire has the rights to the Hankook all-weather tires. However, “10 10 Tires” and other tire retailers sell many other brands of all-weather tires. I hope this will be helpful to others like me, who are not comfortable going without snow tires, even for a short period.
Ed.: I learn something new every day and this is just in time for the post-Christmas journey. Luc Grenon said much the same thing and this sounds like a brilliant solution to our annual trek and the trips through the mountains.