Best All Season Tires

We can thank the marketing geniuses in the tire industry for all season tires, which came to be as a solution to the twice-annual tradition that many drivers faced of changing between “summer tires” and “winter tires”.

While they may not be ideal in extreme conditions, all season tires are designed to work in a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions and they’re pretty solid for most people most of the time. Let’s take a look at some of the best all season tires available today.

Best All Season Tires

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+

The Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is designed to hold traction and maintain safety for high-performance cars. It features excellent wet traction and wonderful dry traction, even when temperatures rise. The tires feature a special rubber compound that stays pliable in cold temperatures, which makes them suitable for use in light snow. Michelin backs the Pilot Sport A/S tires with a 45,000-mile warranty.

Hankook Ventus ST RH06

Hankook Ventus tires are renowned for their longevity and quality. The Ventus ST RH06 is suitable for heavier vehicles, like SUVs and trucks, but they’re designed for comfort and traction in most scenarios. Hankook built the tires with better wet traction, and a tread pattern that is designed to help the vehicle maintain steering control when the roads are slick. They don’t perform as well in ice as some of the competition, but the Hankooks perform well in most other conditions.

Pirelli P Zero

Sports cars and high-performance sedans need all season tires, too, and that’s where the Pirelli P Zero comes in. They’re designed with special tread patterns to handle light snow, and a rigid central section that helps preserve steering and braking control. The P Zero also carries a load capacity of 2,094 pounds, which makes it suitable for heavier vehicles and Pirelli backs them with up to a 50,000-mile warranty over an unlimited period of time.

Bridgestone Dueler H/P Sport AS

The Dueler H/P Sport AS has a symmetrical design that gives them a high-stiffness sidewall that maintains its shape under hard cornering and spirited driving. There’s a special tread pattern that helps evacuate water and a rubber compound that helps the tire resist cracking and tearing under stress and shifting temperatures. At the same time, the tires feature Bridgestone’s Eco-Product Designation, which means they’re built with environmentally friendly materials and have low rolling resistance to improve fuel economy.

What Are All Season Tires?

All season tires came about in the late 1970s as an answer to the seasonal tire problem that many drivers had. Every year, motorists in areas that received snow and ice would need to switch between summer, or “regular” tires, and winter tires, which was great for tire shops but a terrible annoyance for everyone else. Goodyear’s Tiempo tire was the first all season model on the market, and promised to end the twice-annual changeover requirement.

Today, all season tires are built with special rubber compounds that are designed to stay flexible and pliable when temperatures dip as low as 45 degrees fahrenheit. This makes them suitable for a large portion of the driving public for a large portion of the year. They’re good in wet conditions, dry conditions, and can even handle light snow in most cases, so most people will see no need to switch to a dedicated winter tire for their daily commutes.

When Aren’t All Season Tires Best?

People who work in high-demand careers that require them to be in a location at a designated time will want to avoid all season tires if they live in a place where the weather can turn on a dime. In these cases, winter tires will be the best choice. In the same vein, all season tires won’t be the best if maximum traction is required, such as for driving on a race track or in high-speed cornering. You’ll also want to avoid all season tires if you plan on taking your vehicle off road.

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All Season Tire FAQ

Which all season tires are best in the snow?

None of them. We won’t recommend an all-season tire for places where it snows regularly, full stop. If you live in a part of the country where it snows, either buy winter tires or stay home, and that’s true even if you’re driving something with all-wheel drive.

Which all-season tire is best for an SUV?

That all depends on what your needs are. All-season tires are a wide swath comprising dozens of brands, in hundreds of models. The question to ask yourself is: “What am I trying to get out of this tire?” If it’s wet weather performance, a tire like the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ is great. If it’s dry cornering, the Pirelli P Zero might be your thing. And if longevity and overall quality are what you’re looking for, the Hankook Ventus ST RH06 are terrific.

What brand of tires should I stay away from?

Brands which are in the “too good to be true” price category. Also, stay away from brands which you’ve never heard of. Brands like Chaoyang, Goodride, Westlake and Linglong are going to be terrible in the long run.

What is the best tire pressure?

This is no different than any other tire. Check inside your driver’s side door for a white and yellow label that will tell you the exact tire pressure recommendations for your vehicle model. That tire pressure can also change depending on the load of passengers you’re carrying, as well as the cargo load. Note that the pressure on the tire itself is never the correct setting, but rather a maximum.

What is the best tire change kit?

Your vehicle should have come equipped with a compact spare tire and changing tools in the trunk. In this case, you already have everything you need to physically change the tire, but you may want to carry an extra roadside emergency kit with an upgraded lug wrench, jumper cables, and emergency markers just in case.

Tire Buying FAQ

Where do I shop for the best prices?

Several online retailers like Tire Rack offer regular discounts and free shipping for their tires. Their sites also have tire fit guides and pricing estimators to help you understand what you’re buying.

How much is shipping?

Most online tire retailers have free shipping or reduced shipping cost when you choose to have them installed at a partner shop. The retailer may have an arrangement with a local tire chain or installation center and can ship the tires there for free.

How long does shipping take?

Retailers like Tire Rack offer fast shipping and can often have tires to your preferred installer in as little as two days. Many others, like Discount Tire Direct, offer the same fast and free shipping. It also depends on where you live. If you’re in a large metro area, close to a distribution center, it should be relatively quick. If you live 5 miles from East Moosejaw, it might take a little longer.

How much does it cost to install a tire?

Some shops will offer free installation when you purchase tires from them, and online retailers often promote the same deal for people who choose to have installation done at one of their partners. If you do find yourself paying for tire installation, expect to pay between $15 and $50 per tire, depending on what is needed. That money pays for mounting and balancing the tire to ensure a safe and comfortable ride.

Do I need to change the tire pressure monitoring system with tires?

The tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is independent of your tires, but should be checked at regular intervals to ensure no damage or malfunctions are occurring. Your local tire shop can perform this check as part of normal tire rotation or installation.

Can an online retailer help me with all season tires?

Yes! You can find the right fit, tread pattern, and speed rating on nearly any online retailer’s site. They sometimes offer specials and rebates around the time when people start looking for winter tires (late fall).

If I’m changing tire sizes or buying all season tires, should I buy a wheel and tire package from an online retailer?

It’s certainly not a requirement to buy your tires and wheels from the same place, but you’re more likely to get a deal on the package if you buy from the same place. Check the retailer’s specials and make a determination from there. You may also find a better deal ordering either the tires or wheels online and buying the other component from your local shop.

Do online retailers provide tire rebates the way traditional stores do?

Yes, and in some cases rebates are offered alongside discounts on the tires. It’s important to ask questions and understand what you’re getting, so be sure to chat or call the retailer before ordering if the rebates are unclear.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.