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  • All season tyres.

    I know I have bored you all with this before , but winter is here again and I want to recommend fitting all season tyres . They might not suit the most enthusiastic high performance drivers , who want the ultimate summer tyre performance, and never drive in cold weather.

    Years ago all season tyres were nothing more than summer tyres with a chunkier tread pattern that gave better grip in mud and snow. But they were not winter tyres. These must also remain flexible at low temperatures. Few people fitted them because in those days most summer tyres had a reasonably chunky tread pattern anyway.

    In the last few years ' all season' tyres have been developed that perform well in summer, and are also legally classified as winter tyres . They have special rubber compound and extra sipes (small slits in the tread blocks) to remain flexible at lower temperatures. The Performance of summer tyres falls off rapidly at only plus 7 degrees C. And IMO most summer tyres these days have a tread pattern that gives virtually no grip in mud or snow. Incidentally many 4x4's are fitted with tyres that have a chunky enough tread to be M+S rated, but are NOT legally winter tyres. They lack the very important flexibility benefits. Winter legal tyres all have M+S rating but must also bear the winter tyre logo (a snowflake in a mountain) Winter rated tyres are not a legal requirement in the uk,but you might as well have the real deal.

    All tyres are a compromise. All seasons may not perform quite as well as the very best summer tyres in summer. But the better ones perform better in summer than many mid range summer tyres,which many folk are happy to buy. I have Goodyear Vector all season tyres on my Yaris.
    IMO opinion they perform better in summer than the Pirelli Cinturato P6 summer tyres I had before. Better grip and just as quiet and comfortable. (and the cints still had 5mm of tread. I still have them on a spare set of rims)
    But the payoff is they are MUCH better in winter than even the best and most expensive summer tyres. And Better than some full winter tyres. (winter tyres are also a compromise. You have to chose between a chunky tread thats better in snow,at the expense of noise and grip on dry roads , or less snow grip for better performance on dry roads )

    All season tyres are very popular in Europe, even in countries where winter tyres are not a legal requirement. It almost seems like half the cars I see in France for instance in the summer are fitted with Michelin Cross climates or Goodyear Vectors.

    I need new winter tyres on my Bulgarian registered Corsa. They are down to 4mm, the legal minimum for winter months in many countries. I am going to fit All seasons, to save having to swop tyres twice a year. Probably not Goodyear vectors as these are expensive, and possibly overkill for the slow speeds and rough roads they will encounter.
    Problem is 185/70R14 is not a common size. Not all brands produce them. I think Goodyear do , but Corsas are not common in Bulgaria. I can only find three brands sold here in that size for all season tyres ( more choice for summer or winter tyres) .. Ling Long from china Kumho and Vredestein. The Kumho get good reviews and I will probably go for those.

    One downside is you are wearing out some tread in summer and I will need to replace them again at 4mm to remain winter legal . But I may not keep the car that long. And this is not a legal problem in UK. Although its not ideal you can go under 4mm if you want. They would still be better than just having summer tyres.
    Last edited by Bugman; 04-11-2019, 08:35 AM.

  • #2
    I didn't realise the limits were so high elsewhere, every year I consider getting winter tyres, and yet never have bothered. Roads are fairly well gritted around here so it's usually just my paintwork that I'm concerned for
    TheCorsa's friendly predator

    I like my women like I like my laptop. Thin, virus free and on my lap


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    • #3
      Most countries have the same 1.6mm in Summer (although the tyre industry recommends 3mm ) Bulgaria is a bit different in that although most people fit winter tyres, there is much less snow in the south and they allow the use of summer tyres as long as they have 4mm ,and they must fit snow chains if it snows! In countries where winter tyres are compulsory they usually have a 4 mm minimum to remain legal for use as winter tyres.

      Although many countries use dates for when winter tyres are required Austria and Germany say you must have winter tyres whenever there is snow on the road. Even if this happens in July . This prompted the development of All season tyres, which are now so good you can use the same tyres at 130 mph in summer, yet always be winter legal.

      Germans regularly fit all season tyres to their 150 mph BMW's etc but I appreciate that you, the 'mx5 boys' and other enthusiastic drivers might prefer a summer tyre with the ultimate summer grip. Depends how much winter driving you do. Winter and all season tyres are not all about snow, and whether its been gritted. Their main advantage is remaining flexible in cold weather. Its more often cold wet and horrid than snow covered. Summer tyres become significantly less efficient at only 7C,Its often that cold.
      But maybe all season tyres are more suited to those who need to drive in all weathers, and dont push their cars too near the limit.

      You might be better having two sets of wheels. Summer best, and a set with winter tyres. These could be all seasons. You might, like me, find you like the all seasons better than your summer tyres and wont be in a hurry to swop back.

      Here is one reason I fitted all season tyres. We took the following photos on the Gottard pass in Switzerland in JUNE 2019 . The road was cut through 3 metre high snow drifts.

      Click image for larger version

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