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All-weather tires or winter tires: what are the differences?

At PMCtire, we offer tens of thousands of winter or all-weather tires, and it can sometimes be challenging to navigate the choices. Depending on where you live, you might have faced this question: should I choose winter tires, or will all-season tires suffice?

This article aims to highlight the significant distinctions between these two tire categories so you can make the best choice for your safety.

Rubber Composition

The rubber composition is a crucial factor in choosing a tire type as it determines its flexibility and performance in various weather conditions. So, how do all-weather tires compare to winter tires in this regard?

All-weather tires: They aim to provide consistent performance regardless of weather conditions. With a more robust composition, they withstand summer heat while ensuring good grip on wet roads. However, they are less efficient when the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius.

Winter tires: Made with a softer rubber, they remain flexible even in extreme cold. This benefit gives them remarkable traction, especially on snowy or icy surfaces. They are particularly efficient when the temperature falls below 7 degrees Celsius.

Tread Pattern

The tread pattern is vital for tire traction and maneuverability. How does each type fare?

All-weather tires offer a versatile tread pattern that efficiently evacuates water and provides adequate traction on dry and wet roads.

Winter tires, on the other hand, have sipes and deep grooves specifically designed to bite into snow and ice. They thus offer better traction in extreme winter conditions. However, they are less efficient than all-weather tires at evacuating water.

Performance and Safety

Safety is paramount when driving. Let's see how all-weather and winter tires perform in terms of safety and performance on the road.

All-weather tires will do the job in light winter conditions (little snow, no ice). However, they don't outperform winter tires on snow and ice.

Winter tires provide optimal safety during the winter months. How is this possible? Simply by significantly reducing the braking distance on snowy or icy roads.


Safety should always be a priority, especially for Canadian drivers. For those residing in areas with harsh winters, like Quebec or Northern British Columbia, consider getting winter tires. However, in cities with milder climates like Toronto or Vancouver, all-weather tires might suffice.

Of course, other factors might influence this decision. If you have any questions, our specialists are available to guide you.

Dominic Vaillancourt

Automotive expert & Spokesperson