Join Date: Sep 2007
If you get continuous periods of snow on your local roads then you need to fit winter tires.
However, I can attest to the fact that current ultra high performance all season tires are not a compromise choice for use as a summer tire. All season tires used to be demonstrably inferior to summer tires for use in ambient temperatures above 50F (8C). That is no longer the case.
When the steel belted radial first became commonly available in North America I enthusiastically fitted a set, Michelin ZX in 12 in size for a Toyota Corolla 1200 cc. They were far better in winter than any bias ply winter tire then available. They were, in effect, all season tires. Then came the winter radial followed closely by the ice radial (Metzler Blues, remember those? With blue tread because no carbon black in those silica based natural rubber intensive super sticky ice tire) which instantly pushed the summer radial back to summer only use. My first set of winter radials was the now famous Continental Contact, black tread but studless high silica content ice rubber. I still fit Continental ExtremeWinter Contacts to one of our cars (the Mini). Still a world leader in studless winter grip.
However, the current crop of all season tires is a substantial advance over those early radials up to such tires of even five years ago. Michelin has finally released their amazing Crossclimate for example. Not much compromise there and it's just a grand touring class tire. Pirelli P7 is head and shoulders above the same class of summer tire five years older. The PZero A/S plus is simply amazing as is the Michelin Pilot version of the same UHP all season.
For most serious drivers you will have much more fun, driver satisfaction, driving on a set of these UHP all seasons than on the latest ultra or max performance summer tires. Most of us enjoy driving close to traction limits occasionally when traffic permits. You can do that more often on these UHP all season tires than you can on the very grippiest street tires you could use.
First off the all season will deliver most of its capabilities right from cold. The summer tires wil only deliver peak performance once you get them hot. All season work better in the cold, especially rainy cold. Below about 15C (60F approx) the all season beats the summer tire in my experience. Once you get below 8C there will be no contest.
My main point is that current top level all season tires have recaptured the all around performance of the early steel belted radial, in those days you used winter tires only in really rugged conditions. All season tires are now capable year round apart from really rugged conditions.
PS Up here we are amused to view your weather reporting about the effects of the recent Alberta Clipper, producing cold temperatures down to -27F. These are absolutely normal winter temperatures for us, expecting -29C Sunday night as we finally get dragged into the Arctic vortex by the tail end of the Clipper. Our friends in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Montana are doubtless also amused at the widespread consternation of their fellow Americans now also enjoying normal winter temperatures. Flagstaff must get pretty cold on occasion given the seriously high elevation. I live at 3,500 ft and even I found Flagstaff pretty breathtaking, even in high summer. Very pretty city.
1991 Alfa Romeo 164L 5 spd
White on grey leather 230K km, owned from new
Last edited by Michael Smith; 02-01-2019 at 06:41 AM.