Tires are much more than just rubber. They are complex pieces of engineering that are designed to tackle a multitude of challenges.
There are two key areas where one type is distinguishable from another – the rubber compound and the tread pattern. These, in turn, are determined by the environment and conditions where the tires are used.
There are many different tire types including Summer, Winter, and All-Season.
But what makes them different? We explain.
Summer tires have a dedicated rubber compound that delivers excellent grip and handling on both dry and wet roads in warmer conditions. They also have reduced rolling resistance and therefore provide greater fuel efficiency and generate less road noise.
The tread pattern on a summer tire is more contoured than a winter tire, with fewer grooves for water clearance, which maximizes the contact patch with the road. This provides superior traction and braking during summer months.
Winter tires provide outstanding grip on road surfaces covered with snow and ice, as well as wet roads in cold conditions.
The tread compound of a winter tire contains more natural rubber, so it doesn’t harden when the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead, it stays flexible and pliable in cold climates to reduce the stopping distance when braking.
The tread design has deeper blocks that will dig into snow and ice to provide more grip. The winter tire also has a lot of sipes, small slots that are molded into the tire tread surface to increase traction. This is excellent for clearing water and slush from the path of the car and mitigating the risk of hydroplaning.
All-season tires combine the characteristics of both summer and winter tires, offering a solution with the benefits of both.
For drivers living in regions with mild winter conditions where temperatures rarely drop below freezing, all-season tires can be an alternative. In addition, drivers can save money and time, and reduce the effort required for seasonal tire changes.