All-season tires – are they worth using?
More than 13% of Polish drivers use all-season tires in their cars. Each year, the group of users increases slightly. This means that all-season tires can convince more and more drivers. Is this trend likely to persist? And what speaks for universal tires? Let’s find out.
Is it worth buying all-season tires? What are its advantages?
Many factors contributed to the growing popularity of all-season tires. Perhaps one of the most important is… progressive climate change. For several years now, winters have been much milder than in the last century, or even at the beginning of this millennium. December welcomes you more often with rain and light frost than with snow and freezing temperatures even during the day. Therefore, more and more people are wondering whether it is worth buying all-season tires, as their effectiveness in mild winter exceeds even professional winter tires. This was demonstrated by research carried out in – statistically cooler than Poland – Great Britain.
As you can see in the example above, this type of tire is called universal for a reason. All-season tires are prepared for all conditions. They successfully replace summer and winter models. They can be used all year round. Their usefulness is easy to feel, especially at the turn of the season, when the daily temperature can fluctuate from a few to even several degrees Celsius. Regular tires can only work at a certain time of the day in such cases. Universal tires are therefore safer. At the same time, they dismiss the dilemma that repeats every six months: has the moment of replacement come? Do you still wait? It is not only a question of security but also of money. That is why finding the “golden mean” is so absorbing.
Speaking of money, it is impossible not to notice the significant savings that all-season tires bring. Of course, the unit purchase cost is higher than for seasonal models. However, it is a one-time purchase of a set, not two. Counting in this way, you can save up to several hundred zlotys on all wheels. And this is still not all the savings that universal tires bring. It is also worth mentioning the cost of tire replacement at the vulcanizer. A specialist can charge over PLN 150 for a single visit. This means up to PLN 300 savings per year.
Also, there is something that is difficult to convert into money and has a huge impact on our lives. I’m talking about time, of course. Replacing tires is not the most complicated task, but you still need to book an appropriate date. Unfortunately, vulcanizers are heavily loaded with work with the advent of the season. Finding a suitable date becomes very difficult. It may get in the way of other plans. Universal tires remove this problem. Using the services of a vulcanizer becomes a necessity only once in a few years.
The last, but no less important advantage in favor of all-season tires is space-saving. After all, unused summer or winter tires should be stored somewhere else. Some people can arrange them in a garage or a glove compartment, others use the storage services of specialists. So be prepared either for additional costs or for taking up valuable space in your home or garage. Both situations can be troublesome, and all-season tires are the best solution. Thanks to them, you do not have to worry about additional space for storing tires.
Do universal tires have any disadvantages?
Of course, this type of tire does not only consist of advantages. The advantages are undeniable, but before deciding to buy all-season tires, it is better to take a closer look at their disadvantages.
The first significant disadvantage is the compromised nature of all-season tires. They indeed have very good parameters, but on the road, you can come across conditions in which universal tires will handle rather average. This is especially true of a really hard winter. Driving such tires on a heavily snow-covered road may even be impossible. This is a very clear drawback, but it must be remembered that severe winters will be the exception rather than the rule in the coming years. Also, universal tires have a fairly high rolling resistance. In practice, this means higher fuel consumption and generating more noise when driving in summer (compared to monograde tires).
All-season tires – naturally – wear out faster. They are operated all year round. While seasonal tires have a break of about six months, universal tires must be constantly in use. However, the above disadvantage can be reduced by purchasing high-quality tires. This, however, comes with an even greater expense, which may put off some drivers. Especially those who drive a lot and hoped to reduce the maintenance costs of the vehicle with all-season tires.
Who will benefit most from all-season tires?
As you can see, universal tires don’t have to be the golden mean. Vehicle owners who travel tens of kilometers every day should carefully consider their purchase. It is estimated that the profitability limit for all-season tires is 10 thousand km per year. Above this value, the tires wear out quickly, which requires the purchase of another set – or even two. As a result, savings can only be apparent.
According to experts, universal tires are primarily suitable for small vehicles. These are mainly small passenger cars that are not used for work and move only in urban conditions. Company vehicles for intercity routes and trucks will benefit more from standard seasonal tires. The less often you sit behind the wheel, and the planned trips are in the vast majority of cases within one city, the all-season tires become a very good choice.
How to care for universal tires?
The best way to take care of your tires is to check them regularly. In this respect, caring for tires is the same as for any other element of the car. Also, it is worth working on your driving style. So-called aggressive driving (sudden acceleration, hard braking, etc.) can lead to faster wear of all-season tires. And badly rubbed gums are no longer useful.
It’s a good idea to get your SealAir2K tire repair kit. Compressors, sealants, and such devices on hand will allow for quick reparation, which significantly helps in unwanted road situation like a flat tire. It is a small one-time investment that will be useful to virtually everyone – even a novice car user. (Especially for those who haven’t changed a tire before) In this way, you can also save on visiting a mechanic.
All-purpose tires are therefore ultimately a good choice for city vehicles and drivers who do not have to travel demanding long distances. For everyone else, we recommend sticking to the old, proven solutions in the form of winter and summer tires.