Auto 101: Snow Tires vs. All Season Tires


Know what you’re getting into so you know what you can get out of.

Your tire represents your vehicle’s only contact with the ground. And, as with any piece of machinery, your weakest link is your limiting factor. Are your tires your weakest link? Do you have the proper tires for the conditions you’re regularly driving in? Driving a single set of tires all year round may seem innocent enough, but you need to know what you’re in for so you know what you can get out of. Let’s take a look at snow tires vs. all season tires and see how they stack up.

When to Buy Snow Tires

Snow tires are – surprise! – designed to work optimally in frosty temperatures. The special rubber compounds of the snow tire cause it to become softer in colder conditions, providing a better grip on the road. Consider what shoes you would wear if you were working outside and it had recently snowed. Would you take your tennis shoes with you, or would you grab your winter-ready boots? Snow tires are akin to the boots. If you intend to regularly drive in conditions that have temperatures below freezing, snow, or ice, make sure you have your “boots” equipped. The trade-off with having your “boots” equipped, however, is that they wear terribly in warm weather.


When to Buy All Season Tires

You could leave your snow tires on all year, but you’ll probably need a new set of tires before you end up in the appropriate winter weather again. All season tires to the rescue! For the rest of the year, your “tennis shoes” will do just fine. The main benefit of all season tires is that they perform in, well, all seasons. However, the overall performance of the tire set suffers because of it. The all season tire is ideal for the driver who doesn’t expect to be in any extreme conditions, whether that be in summer or winter, and who prefers economy over driving performance.


You Get What You Pay For

It’s often true that “you get what you pay for” in today’s product market. That statement applies thoroughly to tires, as well. The more you’re willing to pony up for your tires, the better those tires are going to be. If you can, and your driving conditions call for it, we suggest picking up a set of all season tires and a set of snow tires. This way you cycle through more tread, each set will last longer, and your contact with the road will be optimal at all times.

The DirtFish Difference

At DirtFish Rally School, you won’t drive on either snow tires or all season tires. Instead, your Subaru STI or Subaru BRZ is equipped with its appropriate Hoosier rally tires, which are designed with traction and durability in mind. These tires are ideal in conditions that have gravel and mud, just like the ones you’ll be facing when you slip behind the wheel and hit the course. Visit DirtFish to learn more about the vehicles and equipment they use to give you the rally experience of your life.

Article by Taryn Ziegler