Tires that can remain on the car all year would be ideal for many drivers. Ten tires of the size 205/55 R 16, which promise exactly that, has Tiresap together with the manufacture representative.
All-season tires are becoming increasingly popular. The all-weather or all-season tires with M&S marking promise however also much: Provided the tires would function actually the whole year over, thus not only the stress of the change at the correct time could be void, also the place in cellar or garage for the second set of tires could be finally more meaningfully used. Not to mention the saved costs for tires, rims and pressure sensors (if available). Reason enough to take a close look at ten of these all-rounders.
Winter tires have only limited suitability in summer
One topic is the suitability on snow, but another is the general suitability of winter tires in summer. Because tires with the M&S symbol are allowed in summer, many vehicles can still be seen rolling over warm, dry roads well into spring on tires that were actually optimized for frosty conditions. Whether out of convenience or because you can’t be sure whether a period of frost is coming after all: This is anything but ideal! The steering precision and especially the braking distances turn out to be much more modest, not to mention the rapid wear of the soft rubber compound.
Are all-season tires an alternative?
All-season tires should actually be somewhat better on dry roads, which are the predominant road conditions throughout the year, right?
But they are not. The all-season tires (with one exception), which also have numerous sipes, a soft compound and a large tread depth, are in fact closer to winter tires. Both in terms of tread design and braking distances on dry roads. Around 150 ft of braking distance is the rege.
Michelin has by far the best braking distance on road surfaces
The only tire that does respectably with a braking distance of 135 Ft is the Michelin Cross Climate, which is also advertised as a summer tire with winter properties. The tread is clearly different from that of the competitors – instead of sipes, sharp edges on the arrow-shaped blocks are supposed to provide the necessary grip on snow here. The advanced rubber compound has to take care of the rest. This actually works quite well, at least when braking. The tests north of the Arctic Circle at frosty degrees result in a stopping distance of just under 100 ft from 30 miles per hour.
Two tires, however, caused long faces with very long braking distances of almost 115 Ft: The Bridgestone A001 and the Pirelli All Season obviously don’t like the snow at all, as the subsequent handling and traction tests also show. At low temperatures and packed snow, these two candidates are at the end of their rope.
While the Pirelli can save itself at summer temperatures with good achievements on wet still into the points, the Bridgestone drops also here clearly.
With the pure winter tire the Golf stops after 200 Ft on wet roads, the remaining test field from Pirelli, Nokian, Goodyear and Hankook is on the same level, and/or brings the Golf 5 Ft earlier to a standstill.
Should Michelin nevertheless have succeeded in solving the almost insurmountable conflict between the four seasons? So far, there is little to be said against the French company’s all-season solution.
Nokian has the edge in the aquaplaning test
But unfortunately, the otherwise surprisingly good tire makes a blunder in aquaplaning: Straight ahead, it still goes reasonably quickly through the water basin, but if the aquaplaning occurs in a curve, the Golf with the CrossClimate slips out of the curve first. Although this case is admittedly rare and therefore only counts for 10 possible points in the overall rating, the newcomer thus forfeits the possible overall victory.
The aquaplaning sensitivity in the curve is also partly due to the relatively shallow tread depth: when new, we only measured 7.0 millimeters of deep grooves on the Michelin. That’s even a good millimeter less than on Conti’s summer-only tire. By comparison, Dunlop’s winter tire has nine millimeters of initial tread, and the other all-weather tires all offer more than eight millimeters of the reserve.
By far the Nokian Weatherproof (8.4 millimeters in the middle) rushes through the water pool faster than the Michelin. The Finns seem to be true masters when it comes to water displacement. At least when the tire is new. In view of the recommendation to replace winter tires at four millimeters of remaining tread depth, however, the question of the optimum time for fitting such an all-season tire also arises involuntarily.
All-season tires should last two years
Two winters and two summers should be doable with an average mileage with this type of tire. Especially since all-season tires are usually a few euros more expensive. But the second winter is then already, by the intervening summer, with clearly preloaded profile in attack. So it is perhaps wiser to mount the new all-season tire in the fall. Then at least in the first winter still a good performance is to be expected – straight if it should snow nevertheless once properly.
In the second winter, however, greater sacrifices must then already be made, even if the tires are still completely on the safe side of the law. In cities or regions with little precipitation, however, the decreasing grip on snow is probably to be gotten over.
What is the summary?
The all-season tires from Nokian and Goodyear are very close to pure winter tires, at least when new. In addition, the two test candidates also offer sufficient safety and grip on summer and wet roads. However on clearly lower level than the reference summer tire.
This would not have landed in the test even with zero points on snow on the last overall place. Because it is so much better on wet and dry roads.
The winter-only tire is also not abysmally bad in summer conditions and would even outrank most all-season generalists in the final tally. Of course, it would also be quickly ruined in summer. But is perhaps even the winter tire with residual tread used up in summer ultimately something like the best and most sustainable all-season tire? That’s something everyone has to decide for themselves – but it’s common practice.
Among other things, the tires fit these cars:
Audi A3 (from 2013);
BMW 1 Series (from 2011);
BMW 3 Series (from 2011);
Citroën C4 (from 2010);
Fiat 500L (from 2012);
Ford Focus (from 2011);
Ford C-Max (from 2013);
Ford Mondeo (until 2014);
Honda Civic (until 2017);
Hyundai i30 (2012 onwards);
Kia Carens (from 2013);
Mercedes-Benz A-Class (from 2004),
Mercedes-Benz B-Class (from 2005);
Mercedes-Benz C-Class (until 2014);
Opel Astra (from 2004);
Opel Zafira (until 2011);
Peugeot 2008 (from 2013);
Peugeot 308 (from 2007);
Renault Mégane (from 2003);
Seat Leon (from 2005);
Škoda Octavia (from 2013);
Volvo S/V40 (from 2004);
S/V 60 (from 2000);
VW Golf (from 2003),
VW Passat (until 2014)