The start of June saw predictions that it was going to be the wettest on record. The month ended with forecasters warning of a ‘danger to life’ as an African heatwave swept the country.
As the weather changes from one extreme to another here in the UK, it is unsurprising that there has been a significant rise and interest in the number of all-season tyres being sold in the UK in recent years.
A relatively new entry to the tyre market, the leading manufacturers have not wasted much time jumping on the bandwagon and launching their own versions. This healthy competition has helped to raise the overall standard and once regarded as a compromise in numerous situations, they are increasingly seen as a safe and cost-effective year-round solution.
Also, many mid-range (Yokohama, Falken, Firestone) and economy (Event, Wanli) tyre manufacturers now offer all-season ranges, making them affordable at all price points.
What are all-season tyres?
As the name suggests, all-season tyres are designed to combine elements of summer tyres and winter tyres to create a tyre that has benefits of both so that they can be relied on to use all-year-round. In a nutshell, the principle is that you’ve always got the right tyre on your car.
How do they work?
All-season tyres use a mix of compounds to create a tyre that is flexible in all weathers. It is soft enough for summer but does not harden when the temperature slips below 7C. They also have a tread pattern which is more heavily siped than a summer pattern, but not as heavily siped as a winter tyre. They will, therefore, provide perfectly adequate performance in summer conditions and usually have a small amount of winter driving ability, thus ruling out the need for changing from summer to winter tyres. So when the temperature starts dropping, their medium consistency, halfway between rigid summer tyres and softer winter tyres, makes them adaptable and suitable for prolonged used regardless of the climate.
Why choose all-season tyres?
The earlier incarnations were often criticised for being a jack of all trades, master of none or a bit of a compromise. However, the latest generations are receiving rave reviews and approvals from drivers and motoring experts. Furthermore, many of them now carry the 3 Peak Mountain Snow Flake (3PMSF) marking. This signifies their legal compliance as a winter tyre.
A major advantage of all-season tyres is that they will help to keep drivers safe on roads in all weathers, without the hassle of switching between winter and summer tyres.
All-season tyre tests
The highly respected Auto Bild Allrad car magazine recently tested seven SUV tyres in size 235/55 R19. It crowned the Vredestein Quatrac 5 its 2019 all-season test winner. The testing team commented: “Vredestein is a compromise of the compromise, as at no time of the year does it show any real weaknesses.” They praised its top performance in all weather conditions, offering all-round balance, precise steering response, short braking distances in the wet and on snow. To cap it off it even has an affordable price tag.
The Michelin CrossClimate SUV, with its more summer-orientated tread design, also received an ‘exemplary’ rating. The magazine commended if for its sporty-dynamic performance in the dry, safe driving in the wet and in winter conditions. However, its ‘high price level’ was noted too.
Third place went to the Continental AllSeasonContact. The testing team hailed it for outstanding snow characteristics, dynamic wet handling, low noise levels and particularly low rolling resistance. This tyre also came first with an overall score of 100% in the Auto Express All-Season 2018/2019 Tyre Test.
When to fit all-season tyres
This week we have reached the halfway point of the British meteorological summer and who knows what weather lies ahead. If you will need new tyres in the near future, this is a very good time to consider all-season tyres.
Many etyres customers have been having all-season tyres fitted for years. Although they might swap brands, they appreciate the principle of this tyre type.
Are they right for you?
All-season tyres are definitely a good choice for city drivers and motorists who clock up low annual mileage. Many fleets, including British Gas, have opted to run on all-season tyres. They are confident that fitting all-season tyres will allow extra mobility even in adverse weather conditions.
The leading tyre manufacturers are constantly introducing new options to their product lines and updating existing ranges. Mid-range and budget tyre makers are also attacking this emerging market with new products at affordable prices.
It is clear that all-season tyres are introducing a new level of safety and mobility for motorists and fleets. These benefits come without the hassle and costs of running two sets of tyres.
To find out more about all-season tyres, including prices and availability, click here.
Denna Bowman, Head Office