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Tire Test: All-Season vs. Snow vs. Summer

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited September 2015 in General
imageTire Test: All-Season vs. Snow vs. Summer

Are snow tires a disaster on dry pavement? And how about summer tires in the snow? Should you just buy all-season rubber and not worry about the weather? These are just a few of the questions we tried to answer.

Read the full story here


  • jaipaljaipal Member Posts: 1
    Are all these tests done several times to get an average time?
  • chadbmnchadbmn Member Posts: 1
    This article appears to be misleading, if not completely useless, and should be removed.

    Snow tires are meant to be used in temperatures below 40 degree Fahrenheit.

    If the Arizona and California test were done in temperatures above 40 degrees, which seems obvious and isn't addressed in the article, then these results are completely useless.
  • actualsizeactualsize Member Posts: 451
    I strongly disagree. You are missing the point. We're saying that winter/snow tires are superior in winter, "summer" tires are the best bet in the other three seasons, and all-season tires will get you through all four, but with lesser performance than if you switched.

    The purpose of testing the winter tires in warmer weather was to demonstrate that you must switch. You can't leave them on all year. It also illustrates the difficult choice faced by folks in southern California, the Bay Area and other warm areas that are within easy driving distance of snowy mountains for weekend recreation. Those of us in those areas are probably unable to use snow tires--we must use chains.

    Twitter: @Edmunds_Test

  • arcticbluetsxarcticbluetsx Member Posts: 79
    These Michelin all-seasons came on my 2007 TSX from the factory, and I can honestly say that they are the worst tires that I have ever driven in snow with. After that first winter, I switched all four tires for Michelin Primacy MXV4. Then around 40,000 miles later I hit a pothole and blew out one of my tires so I switched to Continental ExtremeContact DWS, which I have very high expectations for to get me through many upcoming winters. I realize that I did not necessarily need to switch all four both of the times, but I didn't have much life left in the MXV4's and the Continentals were the best on the market. I don't use a dedicated winter tire.
  • kurtamaxxxguykurtamaxxxguy Member Posts: 1,798
    Nice article. Would be good sometime to add to the mix "all weather" tires like the Nokian WRG2 and WRG3, which are claimed to improve upon all-season tire performance.
  • shatnershatner Member Posts: 176
    chadbdm wrote
    This article appears to be misleading, if not completely useless, and should be removed. Snow tires are meant to be used in temperatures below 40 degree Fahrenheit. If the Arizona and California test were done in temperatures above 40 degrees, which seems obvious and isn't addressed in the article, then these results are completely useless.

    Are you drunk?
    I live in New England and it snows a lot in the winter, It was also 65 degrees two days ago, should I have changed tires?
  • shatnershatner Member Posts: 176
    I thought all season tires would be as good as or better than summer tires in the rain...
    Well, since I still have to drive in the snow sometimes I guess I will stick to all seasons except when I have a summer only car registered.
  • shatnershatner Member Posts: 176
    I guess I could also use summer tires about 6 months out of the year and then switch over to all-seasons. That would prevent getting caught in the snow with summer tires without having to drive around on winter tires 6 months of the year.
  • tbone85tbone85 Member Posts: 27
    I think that testing more all season tires in the wet is in order after this article. In fact, this is interesting, but it would have been even more so with the to 3-4 tires of each category. The variance within each category would no doubt be as interesting as that between categories.
  • s197gts197gt Member Posts: 486
    i would like them to change the name of "snow tires" to winter tires.

    Winter tires provide better performance in winter which often includes rain and slush; not just snow.

    Summer tires are actually three-season tires. They mention that. Snow tires are actually the fourth-season, winter, tires...
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Member Posts: 1,021
    So should we expect nothing but re-runs of old articles like this one and the Civic/Corolla comparo for the rest of the year?
  • seppoboyseppoboy Member Posts: 93
    This is an overly simplistic and only marginally useful article, IMHO. There is too much variability in regional climate and weather conditions, and in performance characteristics of particular tires within each of the three tire categories. A superior all season tire will outperform a mid-pack summer tire in warm conditions, wet or dry. Some winter tires are specialized for ice and snow, others for deep snow, and some have both low rolling resistance and quiet treads (such as Nokian Hakka R), while others are performance oriented with a bias toward dry road performance and don't really handle ice or snow particularly well. In some parts of the country the roads may be snow-free but have many cold mornings where the summer tires become dangerous as their rubber is slick and hard. In many areas with truly varying annual weather cycles the best choice is a top-rated all season tire in standard size and profile, switching to minus-one sizing in the winter tire most appropriate for the local conditions: studless ice & snow, studdable deep-snow tires, or performance winter tires. Or take a chance on an expensive accident on those impressive summer tires some clear, sunny 25 degree morning when they let go unexpectedly, if you want the summer tire bragging rights.
  • trmckintrmckin Member Posts: 10
    There is actually another option that we've been using since moving to Colorado. On our expedition, I noticed the all season bfg rough terrains were terrible in the snow. Called discount tire to get a quote for a dedicated winter set and he recommended we just get the BFG's siped. They pulled each one and put them into this machine that basically just cut into the tire surface adding additional siping. The winter performance (while not a real snow tire) is greatly improved. 30,000 miles on them and outside of a little squishy feel and some minor tread chunking, it's worked really well.
  • fordson1fordson1 Unconfirmed Posts: 1,512
    I think my main issue with this piece is that they compared a Performance winter tire ($175 a pop in that size) and an Ultra High Performance summer tire (also $175) against a ($120) Grand Touring A/S tire. Yes, I get the idea of using OEM tires for a specific car, etc. but really, the winter and summer tires triumphed in their specialized areas not just because they were specialized tires, but because they were just way better tires, residing much higher in Michelin's performance hierarchy, than the A/S tire in the test - let's get real. Even though I do not own one A/S tire and have specialized summer and winter tires for my one car that sees year-round duty and just summer tires on my summer car, it seems obvious the cheap A/S tire here was going to fail - Honda charged an extra $200 for the Pilot Exaltos not just because they were summer tires, but because they were better tires! Finally, since the article is four years old, it misses out on a real development - A/S tires like the new Michelin AS 3, that really do have 95% of the performance of summer tires, under summer conditions, but also work well down to winter tire temps.
  • sephiroth99issephiroth99is Member Posts: 1
    I'd be curious to see a comparison of these three tires in subfreezing dry weather conditions. As a previous poster stated, the summer tires should perform poorly in dry freezing weather, but I'd like to know "How badly?". This would be useful for folks like myself who live in Georgia who experience colder weather but not frequently snow.
  • gofortheneckgofortheneck Member Posts: 42
    How much did Honda pay edmunds.com to feature a Civic (in dozens of pics) in this article?
  • omaha_nickomaha_nick Member Posts: 2
    As a resident of Nebraska for the last 11-12 years and owner of set snow and summer tires in the last 3-4 years. YES, I do own two set off wheels in my garage and I do change them regularly. I would not go back to the all-season solution most Americans use. Unfortunately due the price, the reassurance of the dealer and the fewer articles like this one. Majority Americans think that all-season tires are just fine.

    Few years ago a friend gave me the advice to buy snow tires, instead jumping to an expensive 4x4 purchase. I do not regret for a minute, listening to his advise. Owning two set of tires have saved me on tire wear, the tires last longer. Having to buy a gas guzzler SUV and pay twice more for gas.

    In conclusion, If you have a car and have 3-4 months of cold snowy weather. Your Honda Fit is as good as the the neighbors 4x4. All you need is snow tires. (and a secret from me, smaller diameter tires are cheaper) ;)
  • jewishvolcanojewishvolcano Member Posts: 1
    The summary entirely misses the point of this fine test when it says how allseasons are 'masters of none' and sacrifice noticibly in both dry and wet test. Allseasons do quite well in snow test, even better in dry test where they're almost on par with summer tires. It's the wet test where they fail and lag behind both summer and winter tires. And they do lag here more then winter tires lag on dry test.
  • gmccurdy2016gmccurdy2016 Member Posts: 1
    I would like to see a dry, but cold weather test. I purchased winter tires, having been told they were best when the temperature is below 45 f. I live in area where we regularly get temps that cold in the winter, but have a lot of days where the road conditions are dry (and afew with rain / ice / snow).
  • nycarguy3nycarguy3 Member Posts: 27
    Yes if at all possible PLEASE revisit this test and add a cold (freezing or below) + dry test to the comparison. I'm sure it would still go: winter, A/S, summer, but, I'd like to know just how much worse the 2nd and 3rd place finishers are as compared to their relative performance in snow.
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