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Are all-season tires a good alternative?

All-season tires
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D he seasonal change from summer to winter tires has become significantly more expensive for many vehicle owners. If you have to buy a complete winter wheel set with tire pressure control sensors during the cold season, you will have to calculate up to 400 euros more, depending on the brand. Can't you do without the change? Is it not allowed to use all-season tires instead of winter tires with the situational winter tire requirement in Germany? Yes, you can: All-season tires are at least marked with the M + S symbol. From a legal point of view, this is sufficient to be recognized as winter tires. However, the mark does not certify the tire more than just a slightly coarser profile.

Good all-season tires, on the other hand, like winter tires, are also equipped with the higher-quality snowflake label, which the tire can prove against the M + S mark attests a certain level of winter quality, which must also be proven for each model by comparison with a reference tire. It is not without reason that in the future the definition of winter tires should be based on verifiable properties, certified by the snowflake symbol. Which tire properties really help in extreme situations and whether the universal grippers can match the performance of summer or winter specialists, was shown in some tire tests, for example currently from auto motor und sport , thoroughly examined.

Drivers of sporty models should treat themselves to the respective specialists at any time of the year.

All-season tires a real alternative?

The conclusion the tester: All season tires are to be taken seriouslyAlternative to the respective summer and winter specialists. But please only if driving in extreme winter weather is impossible and the car can sometimes stop in case of doubt. In fact, modern all-season tires come quite close to the traction and braking capacity of winter tires. Often, however, the cornering necessary for safe cornering is missing. All-weather tires have more disadvantages in summer than in winter.

On warm asphalt, regardless of whether it is wet or dry, the universal tires cannot follow their professional summer colleagues in any way. Long braking distances and a mostly somewhat spongy driving behavior that is more typical of winter tires have to be accepted with all-season tires. One thing is clear: Those who rely on sporty, dynamic driving behavior, expect the highest level of dynamism and safety from their tires in summer and also the quietest possible rolling noise, combined with fuel-saving favorable rolling resistance, must continue to change. Anyone who opts for the year-round grapple: The ideal time to change is late autumn. Because then, at least for the first upcoming winter season, the full profile depth will be available.

Tire change: What do you do with the better tires? To the rear.

When should a change be made?

The change is of course made regardless of the tread depth when the winter - or has all-weather tires on the grooves for five years. In addition, a change should not only be made when the legally prescribed 1.6 mm residual profile depth is reached. The tire should still have at least 4 mm when fitted in autumn in order to have at least rudimentary winter properties. From a purely legal point of view, winter or all-weather tires up to 1.6 mm can also be driven in Germany, the legal situation in neighboring Austria is different: winter tires are mandatory here too, but only tires with the M + S symbol and at least 4 mm are recognized as winter tires Tread depth. The auto motor und sport testers also checked how dangerous worn winter tires can be as part of a tire test. Even with 4 mm of remaining tread, the braking distance in the wet was extended by around 27 percent, and with insufficient 1.6 mm by a full 50 percent. Despite the bad weather, that too shouldcorrect tire pressures do not go unchecked. The recommended tire pressure for your vehicle is usually noted on a sticker in the fuel filler flap or on the door rail. If in doubt, the specialist dealer can also help. Too little air pressure leads to longer braking distances, the driving stability of the car suffers, and negative effects on fuel consumption and higher tire wear cannot be ruled out.

It is well known that new tires brake better than used ones - only: How much does it really matter, and which one Are there influencing factors? A brake comparison from 50 km /h on snow.

Briefly explained: winter tires, all-season tires and summer tires

Winter tires

Winter tires for the Central European market, such as the Conti TS 850 P, are optimized for low temperatures in the range of +7 to –20 ° C with a softer rubber compound. While earlier winter tires with a very coarse profile were snow specialists, today's tires have developed into true all-rounders in dirty weather. The demands of motorists are high: the tire should provide optimal safety and traction in snow and ice, without demanding too many compromises in everyday winter life on cold, wet and dry roads. A rolling noise that is loud inwards is just as tolerated as excessive braking distances on dry roads.

All-season tires

Why all-weather tires? Because the market demands it. In particular, drivers who mainly drive in the flat country or in cities consider changing tires to all-weather tires. As a rule, these all-season tires are perfect rain specialists, a road condition that can occur all year round. In terms of their characteristics, most of them are more likely to be assigned to the winter than the summer tire group, because without the winter suitability attested by the snowflake symbol, an all-weather tire would bypass the topic. Depending on the brand, the characteristics of summer or winter can be very different. Regardless, these tires remain a compromise.

Summer tires

Wet and dry roads in the temperature range above + 7 ° C are the job of summer tires. The focus of development today is on resolving the conflicting goals between optimal wet grip and minimal rolling resistance while maintaining long tire durability. The requirement for the lowest possible rolling resistance comes from the automotive industry in particular - every possibility is used here to reduce fuel consumption and thus the CO2 emissions of the vehicles. With hybrid or electric vehicles, a lower rolling resistance can be read directly from the greater range. There is no doubt about the safety relevance of short braking distances.

What can an all-weather tire do?

Snow brakes comparison from 50 km /h to a standstill (Fig. 4)

The The last auto motor und sport tire tests bring it to light: Even all-weather tires, which are mainly designed for summer properties, bring more safety in winter.

An attempt that must be urgently warned against being imitated on public roads. We test on closed stretches with a lot of run-off zone. And that's necessary: ​​ABS-braked from just 50 km /h, the top winter tire in the last auto motor und sport comparison test is already after 23.2 meters. The tested all-weather tires are after 24.5 to around 27 meters. It's good. The summer tire used for comparison brakes for a long time, despite the tread depth fresh from the factory. It takes a frightening 41 meters to a standstill on a flat stretch.

Safety risks Little profile and incorrect air pressure

How well do worn winter tires brake? (Photo 5)

It is well known that new tires brake better than used ones - only: How much does it really matter and what are the influencing factors? A comparison of the brakes from 50 km /h on snow. Profile counts when braking on snow. The deeper the profile, the better the tire can mesh with the snow road. If the profile wears out, the additional lamellae in the blocks also disappear, the number of gripping edges decreases, and the braking distance becomes longer. In addition, the rubber compound of tires hardens as they age. So it can no longer mesh perfectly with snow or asphalt, it loses grip. This also extends the braking distances. Too little air pressure also has a negative effect on the braking power.


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