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.
The Michelin CrossClimate2 is an all-season grand touring tire and Car Talk Golden Wrench Award winner for Best All Season Tire of 2021. This product offers exceptional performance all year long. The CrossClimate2 features a tread compound designed to handle dry, wet, and winter weather. It even has an innovative three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) rating, something not found on every all-season. In addition to specially formulated rubber, the unique tread pattern has steep angles which funnel water away from the contact patch to reduce hydroplaning and increase traction.
The PureContact LS is our second Golden Wrench winner due to its industry reviews, responsive handling and solid grip in dry, wet and winter weather.
The Bridgestone Turanza QuietTrack provides a serene driving experience combined with long tread life and good wet, dry traction.
The Cinturato P7 All Season Plus II is designed for solid handling, fuel economy and enhanced traction in wet conditions.
The AVID Ascend GT is known for its tight grip in dry, wet and wintry conditions, including light snow.
The Assurance WeatherReady offers excellent control in a number of weather conditions, including light snow and ice.
The Firestone WeatherGrip is a solid choice for value, tread life and traction in most weather conditions, including light snow.
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.
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.
Online tire prices are usually less than in store
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Ordering your tires online vs. the shop will save you money