All-season tires are exactly what it sounds like: it’s an all-rounder tire that suits multiple driving conditions in all seasons. Come rain or shine these tires will give you optimum performance with little compromise. But what’s the best all-season tires for snow, you ask? There are a few options that you can consider, and we’ll list down all of them for you.
We’ll also delve a bit deeper into how all-season tires differ, why you might need them, and answer any questions you may have about tires.
All-Season Tires: What’s The Difference?
To understand how all-season tires are different, we need to look at the things that affect how a tire performs. There are mainly two things that affect a tire’s performance in different weathers: tread pattern and depth, and rubber compound or hardness.
Tread Pattern And Depth
The tread pattern is the pattern that you see on your tires. You’ll notice that tires have different tread patterns and depths depending on the type and manufacturer. All-season tires have a different pattern than summer tires, which allow them to find more traction during tricky conditions such as when it rains or snows.
The treads are also deeper, with sipes or grooves on the tread pattern that further helps with traction. These deeper treads and sipes help to channel water and snow away, allowing the tires to have more contact with the road surface. As a result, the tires have less chance of aquaplaning and generally have more traction.
However, deeper treads and winter tread patterns usually aren’t ideal for dry or summer driving. This is because deeper treads result in less contact patch on dry roads. As a result, you get less traction when driving in the dry.
Now, the tread patterns on winter tires may make up for that loss of traction. But they will create excess rolling resistance, which can reduce performance and fuel efficiency. Summer tires are designed to have optimum traction in the dry, without creating excess rolling resistance.
As you’d expect, all-season tires sit somewhere in-between. With a relatively deep tread pattern and depth to provide traction during harsh driving conditions, but still provides good performance during dry conditions.
Rubber Compound Or Hardness
Tires are made from rubber, we know that much. But did you know that tire hardness can vary and this can affect performance as well? Softer compounds will offer more traction, but at the cost of longevity because softer compounds leave more rubber on the road causing them to wear quicker.
Meanwhile, harder compounds last longer because they leave less rubber on the road. However, they provide less traction as they don’t stick to the road surface as well as soft tires. We won’t get into the science why, it has something to do with the coefficient of friction and is quite technical, but you can read more about it here.
Winter tires typically have the softest compound. This allows them to have more contact patch with the road resulting in more traction. As you’d expect, all-season tires sit somewhere in-between winter and summer tires in terms of rubber compound.
Despite this, winter and all-season tires usually still last longer than summer tires. This is thanks to the deeper treads, which take more time to wear out compared to the shallower tread depth of summer tires. It will take some time until the tread becomes so thin that it would be dangerous to drive with it.
To summarize, all-season tires take a middle-of-the-road approach in terms of their design and compound. Providing you decent performance in treacherous conditions, without compromising too much in the dry.
Why Should I Buy All Season Tires?
All-season tires are the perfect choice for those who live in a region where it gets both cold and hot throughout the year. Having all-season tires means you won’t have to change your tires every time the season changes. You can just use the same tires and drive it all year round.
Of course, because it takes a middle-of-the-road approach, there are drawbacks. One major drawback is that the tires can harden during extremely cold conditions. As mentioned, soft tires will have more contact patch with the road resulting in more traction. So, tires that harden in cold conditions aren’t ideal.
All-season tires will perform best at temperatures above 42℉ or 6°C. As the temperature drops below that, they will start to harden, giving you less traction. That’s why in severe winter conditions, you should still pick winter tires, especially if it lasts for quite some time.
All-season tires are the ideal choice if you live somewhere that’s mostly hot throughout the year but still experiences occasional rainstorms and light snow.
Best All-Season Tires For Snow
For extreme winter conditions, we still recommend that you get dedicated winter tires. That being said, all-season tires can still handle a bit of snow. If you don’t live somewhere with heavy snowfall, here are some of the best all-season tires for snow you should consider:
1. General Altimax RT43 T – Best Value
The General Altimax RT43 is one of the best-rated all-season tires by Consumer Reports with a score of 70. Specifically, for the RT43 with the T speed rating which is good for speeds up 118mph. If you need faster tires, the RT43 is also available with an H and V speed rating which is good for 130mph and 149mph respectively.
Consumer Reports noted that it has good ice braking performance and traction in snow. Additionally, it’s good at preventing and handling aquaplaning. The price for the General Altimax RT43 T varies depending on the size. But it starts as low as $91 for the smaller sizes and goes as high as around $150 each for the larger size with higher speed ratings.
Keep in mind prices can vary as well depending on where you buy the tires from. But the General Altimax RT43 comes with a 75,000 miles tread warranty for the T speed rating, and 65,000 miles for the others.
2. Michelin CrossClimate Plus – Best Performer
If you want a bit more performance, the Michelin CrossClimate Plus might be the one for you. According to some reviews, it has excellent handling and braking in dry conditions. Additionally, wet and snow handling is very good and generally better than its competitors.
The drawbacks are that wet braking is not quite as good as its competition, and the ride is a little stiffer than most. Additionally, the tires are quite noisy at higher speeds during dry conditions.
It’s estimated that the tread will last for about 75,000 miles, but Michelin only provides a 40,000-mile tread life warranty. There’s also the Michelin CrossClimate SUV, specifically designed for SUVs. Much like the General Altimax, it also has excellent snow traction and is good at preventing aquaplaning.
All in all, it’s a solid performer for concerning buyers. But it is slightly more expensive than the General Altimax. Price starts as low as $120 each for smaller sizes such as for cars with 15-inch wheels. But larger ones will cost anywhere between $150 – $220 depending on the size and where you buy it from.
3. Continental TerrainContact H/T – Best For Trucks
Do you have a truck or a ladder-chassis SUV? Then the Continental TerrainContact H/T is the all-season tire for you. The H/T stands for Highway Terrain, this is the type of tires for trucks and SUVs best-suited for, well, highway terrains. H/T tires mean they’re not well-suited for off-road use but perform well on the road.
The TerrainContact H/T has excellent handling and braking both in dry and wet conditions. Additionally, they’re quite good at preventing aquaplaning and are reasonably quiet at high speeds. And they’re available for 16 – 22 inches wheel sizes.
They are a bit pricey, with prices ranging from $170 – $312 each depending on the size and where you buy it from. Another downside is that they’re not ideal for off-road use, so you’ll have to get the TerrainContact A/T (all-terrain) if you go off-roading often. They’re a bit more expensive at around $10 – $50 more than the H/T version.
However, if you’re looking for an all-terrain all-season tire, this next one might be for you:
4. Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure With Kevlar – Best All Terrain
A quick explanation of off-road tires, there are three types of off-road tires for trucks and SUVs: H/T (Highway Terrain), A/T (All-Terrain), and M/T (Mud-Terrain). As mentioned, highway terrain is the least capable off-road and is meant for truck and SUV drivers who drive mostly on the road.
All-terrain tires sit in-between, with deeper tread patterns and larger treads to help with off-road driving without compromising too much when driving on the road. Meanwhile, mud-terrain tires are dedicated off-road tires. They are ideal for dealing with mud, snow, and going over large rocks. But they’re noisy and not very comfortable on the road.
If you drive mostly on the road but go offroading from time to time, A/T tires are your best friends. The Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain is one of the best in class, with excellent snow traction, and is usable on most off-road surfaces.
Price starts at around $157 each for the 255/70R18 size, but expect it to be more expensive if you buy larger ones. They come with a 60,000-mile treadwear warranty. The only major downside is that it’s not the best tire for sand driving, but it excels in every other aspect.
5. Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate – Best High-Performance
Looking for the best all-season tires for snow for performance cars? The Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate is the answer. These tires will fit a variety of cars from BMW 3-Series to the Porsche Cayman and even muscle cars such as the Ford Mustang.
Reviews are generally positive, with good braking performance and excellent handling in the dry. It’s also excellent in terms of wet braking and handling, definitely one of the best tires for slippery conditions and light snow. Keep in mind for heavy snow you will need to look at winter tires, such as the Goodyear Ultra Grip.
On top of that, the Eagle Exhilarate also provides good driving comfort and is relatively quiet at high speeds. The price is quite reasonable. The Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate starts at around $156 per tire and is available for 17 – 20 inch wheels.
Best All-Season Tires For Snow: Honorable Mentions
There are still tons of other all-season tires that we haven’t mentioned. So, we’re going to have a lightning round and list down some honorable mentions:
- Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus is another highway terrain tire much like the Continental TerrainContact H/T. It’s ideal for trucks, SUVs, and large crossover SUVs. Prices start at around $156 and go as high as around $274 each. Handling isn’t quite as good as its competitors, but it’s durable, slightly cheaper, and comes with a 5-year or 80,000 miles warranty.
- Vredestein Quatrac Pro came second place for high-performance all-season tires according to Consumer Reports, right after the Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate. It’s slightly cheaper with a starting price of around $130 for the smaller size. If the Goodyear is too expensive, the Vredestein provides decent all-around performance and is a good option.
- Michelin Defender T+H is a good alternative if the Michelin CrossClimate is too expensive. They cost around $110 – $220 each, so still a little more expensive than General Altimax RT43 but a good option nonetheless. They have decent performance both for wet and dry conditions and come with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty.
Best All-Season Tires For Snow: Buying Advice
With so many options out there, how do you choose the right tire for your car? Here’s our guide on how to choose the best all-season tires for snow. This buying guide applies to any type of tire you’re looking to purchase:
Know Your Tire Size
The first thing is to know your tire size as this greatly affects the cost and options you have. There might be a tire that’s within your budget, but it may not be available in your car’s tire size. Inspect your tire’s sidewall to find your tire size and specifications if you don’t already know.
There’s a lot of numbers and letters there, but the most important bit to know is the size and the tire load and speed rating. The tire size is something like “225/40R18”. The first number “225” is the width of your tires in millimeters, so 225 means it’s 225 millimeters wide. The larger the number, the wider the tire is.
Meanwhile, the number after the slash is the tire’s aspect ratio or the height of the tire’s sidewall. 40 means that the height is 40 percent of the tire’s width, the higher the number, the taller the sidewall. Meanwhile, the “R” stands for radial construction, and the number after it indicates what size wheel the tire fits. R18 means it fits 18-inch wheels.
Meanwhile, the tire load and speed rating are indicated with an alphanumeric code. The numbers indicate the load the tires can hold, and the letter indicates the maximum speed the tire can handle. As an example, a “110W” means the tire can handle 2,337lbs and go to speeds up to 168mph. Learn more about the ratings here.
In any case, you should find a tire with the exact same specification as your current tires. You can find tires with better load and speed ratings, but this is usually unnecessary.
What’s Your Budget?
After you know what your tire size is, the next thing is you should decide on your budget. Tires cost anywhere between $80 – $350 each, which means you’ll have to pay anywhere between $240 to $1,400 for a new set of tires. And yes, you should buy all four at once, it’s a bad idea to drive with mismatched tires.
If you’re on a budget, consider something like the General Altimax RT43 as it’s one of the cheapest tires available. If you can splurge, then any of the big brands such as Michelin, Bridgestone, or Goodyear are good options.
Once you know your tire size and budget, you can start to shop around. Visit the manufacturer’s websites and you can input your tire size and see if they have them available in your size.
Don’t Buy Secondhand Tires
Secondhand tires are tempting as they’re cheaper than new ones, but this is a bad idea. Sure, you save a few bucks, but you’re getting tires that have been worn so you won’t get as much lifespan as you would with new tires. This means you’ll have to replace them much quicker anyway.
Additionally, the tires may have had a puncture and the previous owner patched the tires. This means the tire integrity has been compromised. While you can still use it, it’s not going to be as safe as brand new tires.
Read The Reviews
We can only give you so much information in the space of one article. All of the tires we mentioned above are good options with generally positive reviews. But we recommend reading reviews by consumers who have had a real-life experience with those tires to make sure you get the right tires for your car.
Questions & Answers
Got any more questions about all-season tires and tires in general? The answer you’re looking for is down below:
What’s The Difference Between All-Season And All-Weather Tires?
You might have heard of all-weather tires, and yes, they are different from all-season and winter tires. All-season tires – especially ones made for the US market – are actually designed mostly for summer driving. Meanwhile, all-weather tires are the ones that are more ideal for all types of driving conditions. Confused? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
This doesn’t mean all-season tires aren’t good for snow, it just means that they’re more ideal for dry conditions, but can still handle a bit of wet and snow.
Which Type Should I Buy Then?
This one you’ll have to decide for yourself. If you find yourself mostly driving in dry conditions throughout the year with the occasional heavy rainstorm and snow, then all-season tires are your best bet. They will give you optimum performance in the dry, but will still perform relatively well in the wet and light snow.
Meanwhile, all-weather tires are more ideal for light snow. If you experience that often throughout the year, consider getting them. However, if you live in an area that often experiences heavy snowfall, then you’ll have to get winter tires.
Bottom line is that both all-season and all-weather tires are good. Either of them is fine unless you have to drive through extreme winter conditions, in which case, get winter tires instead. But tires are only half of the equation for safe winter driving. The other half is your driving, speaking of which:
Any Winter Driving Tips?
Whether you get all-season, all-weather, or winter tires don’t matter if you don’t drive carefully. Here are our tips to drive safely in the snow:
- Drive slowly and keep a safe distance. Driving in the snow means the car will take longer to stop. Drive slowly and distance yourself from the car ahead, about twice as you normally would in the dry. This will give you more space and time to react to dangerous conditions.
- Keep the tires inflated. Lower tire pressure means more contact patch and therefore more traction. While this advice is true when you’re driving on sand or off-roading, you should keep the tires inflated when driving on snowy roads. The ideal tire pressure is usually around 32 – 35 PSI for most cars.
- Avoid sudden inputs to the throttle, brakes, and steering. Any sudden inputs may upset the car’s balance. This is fine when in the dry, but in snow or heavy rainfall, this can become catastrophic as the tires have less traction.
- If you understeer (that’s when the front of the car pushes wide), gently apply the brakes and keep the wheel turning in the direction you’re heading. If you oversteer (that’s when the rear of the car lets go to the opposite direction of where you’re turning) turn the wheel to the direction of the rear is sliding. Again, avoid sudden inputs to the throttle, brakes, and steering.
One more thing: make sure everything is working perfectly in your car before you set off. Including the wipers, headlights, taillights, fog lights, and there are no warning lights on the dashboard. For more tips on winter driving, check out our tips here.
Should I Buy All-Terrain Or Highway-Terrain Tires?
Unless you drive off-road often, then we recommend highway terrain tires. They’re typically quieter at high speeds, and usually have better handling in wet conditions. They also have high load capacity, making them ideal for towing and hauling.
If you’re looking to buy offroad tires, we wrote a great guide on picking large offroad tires for trucks and you can read it here.
How Do I Maintain My Tires?
Here are our tips to maintain your tires:
- Make sure it always has the ideal tire pressure, usually between 32 -35 PSI. Under or overinflating your tires can lead to excess wear and even a blowout. Check your tire pressure once a month.
- Rotate and balance your tires every 5,000 – 7,000 miles. This makes sure they get even wear.
- Align your wheels every 12,000 miles. Misaligned wheels will cause uneven tire wear.
- Don’t drive on mismatched tires. Not only this will result in uneven tire wear, but this will also affect your car’s handling and stability and can cause excess wear to your car’s transmission.
Best All-Season Tires For Snow: Wrap Up
So, those are the best all-season tires for snow you should consider. Remember that all-season tires are mostly ideal for dry and light snow conditions. Extreme winter driving conditions will require you to purchase winter tires to ensure better safety. Hopefully, this has been a helpful guide, and drive safely!