All-year tyres or winter tyres: how to make the right choice

13 December 2021, 10:56

For most car owners, it is customary to switch to winter tyres when autumn arrives and then to summer tyres around Easter. But can you avoid having to change tyres twice a year by choosing all-year tyres?

In this post, you will find everything you need to know about all-year tyres. Read on and learn more about their features, advantages and disadvantages.

What characterizes all-year tyres?

All-year tyres are tyres that combine certain properties of both summer and winter tyres. They are therefore located halfway between the two.

This means that you can use one set of tyres for the whole year. You therefore do not need to switch from summer tyres to winter tyres as the winter season approaches and vice versa.

M + S symbol

Like winter tyres, all-year tyres are marked with the M + S symbol (mud + snow) and are suitable for driving in winter conditions. The M + S symbol also means that all-year tyres follow the same installation rules as winter tyres. Importantly, this means that all-season tyres can only be fitted with other tyres marked M + S.

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All-season tyres can do a lot but not everything

In the last 10-20 years, all-year tyres have developed a lot and there are several good alternatives to choose from. However, it's important to point out that when you use a tyre that is suitable for driving in all kinds of conditions, you get a tyre that doesn’t excel in any of them.

The terms “all-year tyres” can create a false sense of safety, as they are not optimal for all conditions. For instance, in summer, in wet conditions, all-year tyres have a longer braking distance than summer tyres. The same is true on snowy and icy roads. The braking distance is longer than with winter tyres.

If you are not driving in critical weather situations that place high demands on your tyres, all-year tyres can be a good alternative to winter tyres. But, if you are driving in all kinds of winter conditions, you should always opt for winter tyres.

Be aware of the rules in other countries

In the UK, we have fairly mild and wet winters and although winter tyres are the best tyres for driving in winter conditions, it is not mandatory to choose winter tyres over all-year tyres.

If you go to Nordic countries or to ski resorts, for example, winters are rougher. Note that all-year tyres do not necessarily meet the requirements of winter tyres.

In some countries, it is also mandatory to drive with winter tyres during winter periods. Therefore, if you want to travel to these countries during this time, you will need to replace your all-year tyres with winter tyres.

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Advantages and disadvantages of all-year tyres

Advantages of all-year tyres

It's reasonable to think that all-year tyres save the cost of having to switch to a brand new set of tyres. In fact, the costs are limited. When you switch to winter tyres, you don't wear out your summer tyres and vice versa. Therefore, cost should not be one of the considerations when choosing all-year tyres.

However, all-year tyres have many other advantages. As a starting point, all-year tyres are suitable for both summer and winter driving in places where the roads are regularly salted and clear. Therefore, many car owners choose them as an all-round alternative to summer and winter tyres.

In addition, you don't have to schedule multiple garage appointments, meaning there can be a small saving by not having to change tyres twice a year. Finally, you will not be caught out using summer tyres when ice suddenly appears.

Disadvantages of all-year tyres

No matter how good they are, all-year tyres do not have as good properties as summer and winter tyres. They do not steer as well in wet conditions as summer tyres and are not suitable for all winter conditions.

Also, there is no guarantee that you will be able to use your all-year tyres if you have to drive in the winter in other countries. Therefore, you will still need to switch to winter tyres if you are going to Nordic countries during this time, as an example.

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