UK weather is notoriously hit-and-miss. It rains in summer and sometimes — like in November 2020 — it’s warm in winter.
So it’s safe to say each season brings a new set of challenges for drivers. Whether it’s black ice or cold weather potholes, you never know what’s around the corner.
Thus, the tyres you fit to your car are important. As they’ll determine how it handles heat, snow, ice, cold and wet.
Though, all-season tyres, aka all-weather tyres, rule all seasons (and most weathers). Many bill them as a summer-winter combination tyre, grippy in all conditions.
Still, come autumn, motorists are still asking the same questions: “should I fit them?” and “how do they make a difference?”
In this post, we’ll give you a complete rundown on all-season tyres. We’ll answer the questions above, and (hopefully) ease any niggling doubts you may have.
So let’s get going…
What are all-season tyres?
All-season tyres are exactly what they sound like: tyres for all seasons.
They’re an all-year-round, intermediate rubber compound tyre. And because they blend the features of summer and winter models, they adapt to weather changes. Whatever the heavens throw at us — whether it’s sun, rain, sleet or (light) snow — all-season tyres are safe and well-equipped.
So how do they grip year-round? Well, this is down to the unique rubber mix. Which — like that of winter tyres — stays soft and doesn’t lose grip when it’s cold.
Tyre experts recommend summer tyres in temperatures above 7°c. Anything below that and winter tyres are apt. Though, while you can use both year-round, grip levels will suffer in the conflicting season.
Like a temperature change, all-season tyres can deal with a change in weather too. Tiny grooves, or sipes, enhance the tyre’s grip on (light) snow, ice, and in the wet.
A list of great things about all-season tyres
In the UK, all-season tyres are on the rise. While it’s not entirely driven by our mild climates, the UK’s unbalanced seasons sure play a part. The versatility of all-season tyres is one of their main selling points, but other advantages include:
- Longer tread-wear: All-season tyres wear evenly across the entire tyre. The result is a longer-lasting tyre
- Great for UK weather: The UK’s mild but inevitably wet weather suits all-season tyres down to the ground.
- Better fuel efficiency: All-season tyres boast lower rolling resistance, which saves energy and results in better fuel efficiency.
- Increased comfort: Lower rolling resistance makes all-season tyres more comfortable for daily drivers.
- Keep the same set of tyres year-round: You don’t need to swap your tyres mid-way through the year to winter tyres, which can be a pain, and costly.
- Better performance in winter than a summer tyre: Tiny grooves and sipes increase the performance of all-season tyres in winter.
- Better performance in summer than a winter tyre: The unique tread improves handling on warm and dry roads.
Are all-season tyres good in snow (and when should I fit them)?
That’s a long list of advantages. But you should know that all-season tyres won’t give you optimal grip in all driving conditions.
That’s right. There’s a huge misconception that all-season tyres perform well in the snow. Fact is, they don’t. While they do grip on heavy snowfall and ice, they don’t rival winter tyres.
So when is the best time to fit them? Well, you can fit them whenever suits you. Whether it’s at the start, mid-way point, or end of the year. Just bear in mind, if it snows - and that snow sticks, you’ll lose some grip.
Shall I buy all-season tyres?
Do you often question your car’s grip in summer or winter? Do you want great performance year-round without the hassle of changing your tyres? If you answered ‘yes’ to either (or both) of those questions, all-season tyres are worth a look.
Britain’s mild winters, not-so-hot summers, and irregular and often violent downpours suit all-season tyres down to the ground. The UK is not shy of an all-seasons-in-one-day type of day, either. You wake up it’s frosty, you eat your lunch in the sun, and drive home in the pouring rain — that kind of day. For these reasons, all-season tyres are a great option for the majority of UK drivers.
Unfortunately, though, they aren’t for everyone.
Car enthusiasts will no doubt prefer summer and winter models. Likewise, luxury sports car owners. But that cancels out only a small minority, leaving a lot to reap the rewards of this versatile all-rounder.
What are my options for all-season tyres UK?
The all-season tyre market is huge. And like summer and winter tyres, there are basic, intermediate and premium options available. Two of our best all-season tyres are Bridgestone’s A005 and Firestone’s Multiseason.
Bridgestone’s A005 is a premium tyre designed to cope perfectly year-round. This tyre is EU grade “A” - the highest grade in the grip index. Plus, it has a Certified 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake (3PMSF) indicating the tyre’s performance meets the criteria in snow testing.
Firestone’s Multiseason is an intermediate option. The Multiseason supports your vehicle come rain or snow. It also qualifies for use in winter as required by the law.
Does it matter what car I have (or do they suit all makes and models)?
As well as being long-lasting, affordable and versatile, all-season tyres are available for most vehicles too. This includes hatchbacks, vans, SUVs, family saloons and people carriers. Good news is, they’re not make/model specific.
But — and it’s quite a big but if you’re a performance car owner — all-season tyres come in a limited range of sizes.
Because of this, you may find it difficult to find all-season tyres in the size and speed rating needed for a performance car. In which case, you’ll need both summer and winter tyres.
And like winter tyres, you must fit all-season tyres to all four wheels. And not, say, only the rear. Having a different type of tyre on the front and rear will cripple its performance and can be unsafe.
It’s a great time to invest in a set of tyres that will support you in all weather conditions. You can find a range of all-season tyres at Firststop.co.uk and many centres offer online booking so you can select a time and day to suit you. Your local store will be happy to help you.