The right tires can completely change the handling of your car, from how quickly it comes to a stop to how smoothly it turns. However, the average vehicle owner may not know enough about his or her tire options to make the best decision for his or her car.
One of the most common tire dilemmas is whether to purchase seasonal tires, like summer tires, or all-season tires.
In this blog, we compare summer and all-season tires and provide the information you need to make a decision.
Summer Versus All-Season
Different tire types are designed to perform well in specific conditions. For example, winter tires are specialized for driving in wet and cold conditions. Winter tire treads are intended to help drivers navigate in snow, ice, and other forms of slick precipitation that could cause regular tires to hydroplane.
Here in the San Diego area, it’s unlikely that you’ll need winter tires, so you have two main options: summer and all-season.
Summer tires, also called high-performance tires, provide the maximum road grip in dry and hot conditions. These tires were actually originally designed for high-performance vehicles rather than for a specific season. However, summer tires have become a more common choice for personal vehicles rather than just luxury and racing cars due to their exceptional performance.
These tires feature a specialized tread pattern and a somewhat shallower tread depth that gives the tires:
- High responsiveness
- Rapid braking
- Tight cornering
Summer tire treads have fewer grooves and, therefore, allow more overall rubber to stay on the road when you drive. The shallower treads also keep the tire performance levels higher when the tires are close to their limitations in terms of speed or agility.
Summer tires can even perform well in some mild wet conditions, such as short seasonal rainstorms. This capability also comes from the tread design, which resists hydroplaning by moving water out of the treads quickly.
All-season tires are specifically designed to reduce the amount of tire changes that the average driver needs to make over the course of the year. These tires are designed for good performance in both dry and wet conditions, but they also offer better traction in the snow.
This moderation-focused tread design offers drivers:
- Comfort and handling suitable to most personal vehicles, including vans and economy cars
- Good performance in most weather conditions
- Longer overall tire life since the treads are deeper and take longer to wear down
In particularly hot climates, all-season tires do not provide as much traction as summer tires due to the comparatively deep treads and grooved design. However, summer tires may need to be switched out for winter tires and all-season tires can work in most seasonal conditions.
All-season tires are considered best in moderate conditions. These tires are not intended for long winters or extreme seasonal conditions, which require a different type of rubber and a specialized tread pattern to maximize traction.
Choosing Your Tires
So which tires are right for your car? The answer primarily depends on where you drive and how often. If you only travel in San Diego and similar Southern California areas, you will probably see better overall performance from summer tires. Similarly, you should choose summer tires for high-performance, racing, and luxury vehicles unless you plan to drive the vehicle in heavy winter conditions.
You should consider all-season tires, or a combination of summer and winter tires, if you fall into one of these categories:
- Drive a car that is not well-suited to summer tires, such as a vehicle with a high towing capacity that you use for hauling on a regular basis
- Foresee moving out of the area and into a location with more winter weather conditions before your next tire change
- Often drive to cold and wet areas, especially during the winter months
Regardless of which tire type works best for your location, vehicle, and lifestyle, look for new, high-quality tires that are designed for your vehicle type by a reputable manufacturer.
Better quality tires offer better overall performance in all weather conditions. Additionally, tire size and specifications can be just as important as tire type. For example, tires sized for a compact car would not perform well on an SUV or full-size truck.
Learn more about tire buying from our blog “Three Basic Questions and Answers About Buying Tires.”
Still not sure which tires are right for you? Consult with a tire specialist. Our professionals can weigh the needs of your vehicle against your desires to help you determine the best tire type for you.
Start the search for your new tires at Evans Tire & Service Centers. We offer high-quality choices for a wide variety of vehicles, including most makes, models, and vehicle classes. Get in touch with us today.