All-season tires are standard on most cars, and they are perfect for 75% of the year. However, Chicago is synonymous with snow. Thanks to our location, we average over three feet of snow a year. That means slick, slushy roads and dangerous driving conditions. With the amount of snow Chicago gets each year, many are starting to buy a set of winter tires to put on their car during the snowy season. All Wheel Drive (AWD) and Four Wheel Drive (4WD) cars are great for helping you drive through snow, but winter tires are what help you stop in slippery conditions.
There are two main differences between all-season and winter tires.
All-seasons are made with a type of rubber tread that is susceptible to stiffening and cracking in extremely cold temperatures. This can lead to a loss of traction while driving. Winter tires are made with a different compound that lets the rubber stay flexible in colder temperatures.
The biggest difference between all-season and winter tires is the tread itself. The tread of winter tires are deeper and have unique tread pattern that allows forces snow, ice, and slush towards the outer edge of the tires.
Winter tires are made for winter. The rubber compound in winter tires is softer than all-seasons and can wear out faster in warm weather. Remember to change back to all-seasons once the temperature rises!