September 18, 2012
I read an interesting article earlier this week… it compared snow tires, summer tires, and all seasons in the three conditions those tires were made for. The results seemed like they’d be a clear path to victory (at least my pre-concieved notions said so) The snow tires would win in snow, the all seasons would win in wet conditions, and the summer tires would take the dry conditions. Some of that came true… the summer tires barely worked in the snow… but it’s not something you’d want to do, may as well have been slicks. The snow tires dominated in the snow, beating the runner up (the all seasons) by at least 20% in both acceleration and breaking performance. Now here’s where I was terribly surprised… The all seasons didn’t take the wet conditions! Seriously, the summer tires dominated the wet conditions the snow tires kept up with the summer tires… I imagine in a colder climate (they did it in Arizona) those two could have switched positions on that test… but the all seasons were far behind in the water, struggling to perform as they got to highway speed they just floated on the water. Of course the summer tires took the cake on dry pavement, acceleration and cornering were nearly even but above the all seasons… where the summer tires tore up the road was in breaking in dry, far surpassing anything else. I imagine these tests would also get a wider margin with a higher powered vehicle, something that could break the all seasons loose, would still potentially hook up well with the summer tires and the acceleration test might be a different story.
Anyways… this has changed my perspective. I was going to get snow tires, and then all seasons… but I think after reading that I’m definitely going the route of summer and winter tires. When you drive as frequently as I do it’s important to have the right tool for the job. Plus, in the long run it’s actually cheaper on tire and fuel costs to run the proper tire for the job.