In widespread use over in America where they first appeared, all-season tyres are becoming more and more popular with European motorists for everyday use. They are recommended by tyre manufacturers as a good alternative to changing your tyres for summer and winter tyres. But are these tyres really worth it? How are they different from other more standard models? How to recognise all-season tyres Tyreleader.co.uk has all the answers to your questions!
What is an all-season tyre?
You will find these tyres sold under many different names, such as all season tyres, all weather tyres, mixed tyres, four-season tyres, 4S tyres, etc. All these names mean a hybrid tyre that is halfway between the tyres we call "summer" and "winter". It's an alternative designed by manufacturers for motorists who want to drive all through the year without having to change tyres.
For 4S tyres to perform well, the rubber blend used has to have both the rigidity of summer tyres and the flexibility of winter tyres. The tread also has a special design to provide maximum grip whether the ground is dry, wet or icy.
All-season tyres give you good performance on:
- Dry ground
- Wet ground (in winter or summer conditions)
- Snowy and icy ground
How to recognise an all-season tyre
The first way to identify a mixed tyre is to check the sidewall for the "four season", "all weather", "all season" or "4S" marking. There are also several markings specific to manufacturers to show that a tyre is an all-season tyre. You can find the tyre markings list here.
All-season tyres often additionally have the M + S marking (Mud and Snow), and sometimes you’ll also see a snowflake surrounded by mountains (the 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake or 3PMSF symbol which is normally reserved for winter tyres). These various symbols tell you that your 4S tyres will perform well in winter conditions. Compared to a conventional tyre, for example, they can reduce the braking distance on snow and ice by 7%.
All-season tyres have almost the same tread pattern as winter tyres, but have more grooves in the centre and these are deeper. The sipes help drain away water. Despite the similarities in the tread pattern of these two types of tyres, all-season tyres aren't as soft as winter tyres. All-season tyre components are in fact designed to adapt to summer or intermediate seasons as well as winter. This means they're not as hard as summer tyres, but are softer than winter tyres.
Mixed tyres increasingly certified as "3PMSF"
One of the flagship models in our catalogue is the Michelin Crossclimate. It was one of the first mixed tyres with the 3PMSF certification. The success of this tyre led other manufacturers to also sell 3PMSF certified 4-season tyres.
So, among Crossclimate's competitors, we would especially draw your attention to the Weatherproof from Nokian or the Vector 4 Season GEN 2 from the Goodyear brand. The same goes for the All Season Expert 2 wheel from the manufacturer Uniroyal, the Pirelli Cinturato All Season, and many other models from our collection.
What are the advantages of all-season tyres?
The top benefit to 4S wheels is financial. With All Season tyres, you reduce the costs from storing your tyres and changing them twice a year.
Also, while it's not advisable to combine winter tyres with summer tyres, you can however combine a set of summer or winter tyres with a 4-season tyre set.
Another advantage of these types of tyres is the versatility of their design. They are generally less sensitive to aquaplaning and provide optimum wheel traction on snow. They ensure smooth driving both summer and winter. These tyres are also more efficient than winter tyres during the hotter seasons. Likewise, they perform better on icy surfaces compared to summer tyres.
The disadvantages of all-season tyres
Despite all the advantages mentioned above, there are certain limitations to all-season tyres that you should keep in mind if you want to use them properly.
Their first weakness lies in the fact that their performance, although good, is never exceptional. In other words, when it's frosty or in extremely cold conditions, winter tyres perform better. While your all-season tyre adapts to all types of weather, special precautions should be taken if you plan to go to the mountains or if you live in a location that is especially prone to frost. The same goes for summer. For example, 4S tyres rarely compete with conventional tyres when it comes to the braking distance on dry ground.
You will also find that all weather tyres wear out faster in summer because of how soft their rubber is. Although, when you consider that you use them all year round, this is a small price to pay overall.
However, we have to point out that the all-season tyre range isn't as extensive as the summer or winter tyre range. But to make things easier for you, Tyreleader.co.uk offers a wide range at affordable prices.
Who are all-season tyres for?
Most European motorists continue to use summer tyres all year round. However, they perform poorly in winter and can cause serious accidents. Wheels fitted with all-season tyres therefore really increase your safety. They are particularly recommended if:
- You live in a region where the weather conditions are mild (with little or no snow, and summer temperatures that are not extreme).
- You are on a tight budget and want to avoid buying two sets of tyres and changing every season.
If you don’t live in a mountainous region, and you only visit snow-covered areas now and again, you can keep your 4S tyres. However, you are advised to use snow chains if roads are fairly challenging.
All-season tyres perform well when you know how to use them. To get the most from your investment, drive smoothly. Avoid sudden acceleration and braking. This will prevent you from wearing out your 4S tyres too quickly.
What about all season motorhome tyres?
25% of motorhome owners go to winter sports destinations with their vehicle. If you are one of them, 4S tyres are usually more than sufficient. You won't need snow tyres. However, you must be more careful choosing your tyres when it comes to the load index of the rear wheels. These often support a greater weight, because most of a motorhome’s equipment is located in the back.
You can, for example, choose Agilis CrossClimate all season tyres. Their herringbone-shaped tread gives them perfect grip on any dry terrain, while optimally draining water. This 3PMSF certified tyre contains 3 different compounds to suit all kinds of weather conditions, while adapting to the large loads that generally have to be borne by a motorhome. Available in 15, 16 and 17 inches, they sell for around one hundred euros each.
Please note that the 3PMSF certification does not exempt you from needing metal or composite chains in areas that require these. In France, a B26 traffic sign will inform you whether you need to fit snow chains before driving on a road.
So what should you bear in mind about 4-season tyres?
A one-size-fits-all compromise combining all the qualities from every type of tyre, all season tyres are excellent alternatives for motorists who don't live in regions where the temperatures are extreme. If it's unusual for you to drive on snow-covered roads, then take your pick from the various tyres we have available. You'll never need to change tyres in summer and winter again.