All-Season vs. All-Terrain Tire Treads: Those in Automotive School Should Know Which Drives Better in the Snow

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Without the right kind of tires, driving in the snow can leave drivers in a bad spot. Anyone braving the elements will need tire treads providing the right amount of handling and traction. It’s important to note that winter tires are the ultimate choice for ensuring optimal safety and handling in snowy conditions. Yet, winter tires aren’t mandatory in Ontario—and so some drivers might still opt for either all-season or all-terrain tires.

It’s important to note that there are advantages and disadvantages to both of these treads. Here are the main differences between all-season and all-terrain tires.

All-Season Treads: Versatile and Effective 

The all-season tire tread profile makes it a good choice for drivers who are mainly driving on-road. If the driver is using these tires while driving on ice or during a blizzard, it becomes more difficult to maintain good traction. All-season tires are made of a rubber type that’s most effective when temperatures are between around 5 to 10°C. Rolling friction is lower in all-season tires, and they also don’t burn as much fuel as all-terrain ones would. Though all-season treads might not provide the kind of traction that all-terrain tires offer, these treads can drive at faster speeds and allow for better fuel economy. Of additional note, there’s less of a risk of cupping compared with all-terrain tires. All-season treads are also known to be both less noisy and less of a financial expense for the car owner.

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All-season tires can save money and fuel for the driver, though provide inferior traction

All-Terrain Treads: A Good Fit for Bad Conditions

Those with auto careers may recognize all-terrain tire treads from the logo typically found on these types of tires—a simple artistic depiction of a snowflake in front of a mountain. The rubber in all-terrain tires is made from raw materials that are more robust and durable, making the end product a better fit for those driving in wet or dry weather. The open-tread design is the one most commonly seen with all-terrain tires. This tread profile helps improve the driver’s grip on whichever surface they’re driving on, including snow. While all-terrain tires might not possess as much traction or mileage as true winter tires would, the compound included will provide greater overall traction. Therefore, they are likely to still perform better than all-season tires in more adverse conditions. They are also an improvement over all-season tires with regards to load capacity and handling.

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All-terrain tires are best for those who frequently drive off-road

Comparing the Two for Professionals With Auto Careers 

The correct choice of tire treads for car owners will depend largely on the conditions they most typically drive in. If they are driving in fairly lukewarm weather conditions while occasionally driving in the rain, all-season tires will probably suffice. These tires are meant to be a “jack of all trades” solution that can be serviceable in warm and cold weather. On the other hand, if the car owner is frequently driving on snowy roads and insists on avoiding winter tires, then all-terrain treads are a better bet to keep them safer. 

Students enrolled in automotive school should bear in mind, however, that all-terrain tires are still not always the ideal solution for every driver. They don’t offer as much mileage as all-season tires, for example, nor do they provide as much fuel economy. If a car owner is concerned about guzzling fuel and about their tires wearing out quickly, all-terrain tires aren’t the best option. That said, those who frequently drive off-road or in adverse conditions will undoubtedly benefit from the build and capabilities of all-terrain treads.

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