All-Season Vs All-Weather Tires: What’s The Difference, Really?

By Tire Agent Staff

January 04, 2022

all season vs all weather driving in ...

All season versus all weather -- what's the difference? There are slight differences between the two, but there is also a lot of overlap. 

It's like that thing you learned in grade school math class -- all rectangles are squares, but not all squares are rectangles. Remember? Similarly, not every all-season tire is an all-weather tire, but every all-weather tire is an all-season tire. 

Simply put: You can both types of tires year-round. All-season tires are ideal for mild winter, spring, summer and fall conditions. All-weather tires are ideal for more extreme conditions -- heavy snow, rain, slush and mud. 

Want to know more? Read on. Ready to get back to shopping? Tap or click the blue button to shop for tires online. 

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Defining All Season and All Weather

Every tire comes with various ratings to help consumers compare how different tires may perform. This includes ratings established by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through their Uniform Tire Quality Grade Standards (UTQG). These standards include treadwear, traction and temperature, which refers to how well the tire resists and dissipates heat. Tires also have speed and load ratings, referring to the safest top speed and the carrying capacity of the tire.

With so many ways to compare tires, the additional terms like all-season and all-weather, while intended to make it simpler for the consumer to understand, doesn't really tell us if a tire is suitable for our daily driving needs.  

What does all-season mean?

All-season tires handle moderate driving conditions you might experience through each of the four seasons. Manufacturers engineer them to safely perform in rain, heat and snow, but only if these conditions are mild, not extreme. You can think of all-season tires as the jack of all trades of the tire world. So while they would work with the light snow of early December, they would not perform as well with heavy snow.

What does all-weather mean?

All-weather tires handle more severe driving conditions you might experience through each of the four seasons. They are engineered to safely perform with heavier rain, more extreme heat and heavier snow. Oftentimes this comes down to more rugged construction, special tread patterns and deeper tread channels for enhanced traction. The ability to perform under difficult weather conditions sometimes reduces elements of ride comfort. For example, you may find that all-weather tires are noisier than their less rugged counterparts. 

What’s Best for Winter Driving: All-Season or All-Weather?

Once you understand the basic differences between all-season and all-weather tires, you still need to consider how much winter your area experiences. All-season tires can handle moderate driving conditions and all-weather tires work under more serious weather, but what about true winter driving? 

If you live in an area that has mild seasons and rarely gets more than a dusting of snow in winter, all-season tires are a good bet. If you live in an area that has winter storms, ice and a moderate amount of snowfall, a good all-weather tire would be best. These will offer you improved traction and control, along with better stopping distances.

It should be noted that while all-weather tires work well on snow and ice, they may be insufficient if you live in an area that experiences extreme snowfall. If that describes your area, you may want to use chains or switch to winter tires for the most harsh months. 

Examples of All-Weather Tires

Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady.jpg

All-weather tires provide drivers with a safe and reliable ride all year long, even if you find yourself in heavy rain, snow and ice. The following are a few all-weather tires you can 

Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady

Goodyear engineered these tires to offer great traction in snow, ice and rain. Featuring rubber from soybean oil, the tire is pliable enough to grip the road even under seriously cold and snowy conditions. It has asymmetric treads that efficiently disperse water for better traction in rain. The treads evolve with use, with grooves that go from deep to wide so they perform just as well as the tire ages. And unlike some tires in this category,

 Goodyear's WeatherReady tires reduce road noise, so you have a more enjoyable ride. 

Toyo Celsius CUV

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This may be considered a touring tire, but Toyo engineered it to perform like an all-weather tire, thanks to a series of built-in features. For example, it has variable sipes on the inside and outside tread to offer better traction on roads that are dry, wet, snowy and icy. Snow claws and slush grooves further enhance performance to evacuate slush and grip the road. Circumferential grooves provide extra water clearance to reduce r

isk of hydroplaning. Drivers can count on a smooth and quiet ride thanks to the low profile design.

Nokian WRG4

Nokian WRG4.jpg

WRG4 by Nokian is a high-performance tire that provides drivers with the perfect mix of performance and driving experience, offering a stable ride in every season. For light snow conditions, it features snow claws that provide better side-to-side grip. Sipes and circumferential grooves with extra water clearance reduce the risk of hydroplaning and increase safety under raining conditions. Drivers will also enjoy great handling and a quiet ride, even at higher speeds, thanks to silent sidewalls and groove lifts.

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