All season tyres sound like a good deal to me. I can drive on them all year round and save myself the hassle and expense of changing tyres. But as with any good deal, you should take a closer look.
Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to forget about that annoying tyre change? And to drive on the same tyres all year round - and safely? Wait a minute! All season tyres do in fact exist! So why are there still garages advertising tyre changes when that time of year comes round again? Surely such offers should no longer exist? Who changes their tyres more often than necessary? It’s not quite that simple. In extreme weather conditions with lots of ice and snow, all season tyres are rather disadvantageous. In winter, all season tyres perform worse than real winter tyres in terms of braking distance and driving stability. The same applies when the weather is really hot during the summertime. The safety of the driver and all of the passengers always comes first for me, which is why I rate this argument as one of the strongest disadvantages of all season tyres. Therefore, all season tyres are technically a compromise - after all, you can’t have everything. However, the compromise is usually sufficient - and by that, I mean the typical German winter. All season tyres are perfectly adequate here - the legislators also see it that way. With these tyres, you currently meet all of the requirements imposed on winter tyres in Germany. The important thing is that the tyres have the Alpine symbol (the M + S symbol will also be sufficient until the end of September 2024). Then we also have wear and tear: Logically, if you drive twice the distance with the same tyres, you can expect higher all season tyre wear. Of course, this only applies to drivers who also leave their car out of the garage in winter. For convertible owners, this disadvantage does not apply, of course. Another disadvantage of all season tyres can affect you abroad. All season tyres are not permitted in other countries with compulsory winter tyres. This applies, for example, to Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Finland and Sweden.
The advantages of winter tyres are obvious. With all season tyres, you can drive all year round and save changing tyres in the spring and autumn. As a rule (i.e., in non-extreme weather conditions), you can also drive safely with all season tyres. Insurance coverage is also not at risk, as the tyres are officially legally approved. For the majority of people, however, the most convincing argument of all the advantages of all season tyres is not the time saved by not having to change tyres, but the money saved on another set of 4 tyres.
There are a number of manufacturers and a wide range of all season tyres on the market. You can ask automobile clubs which products have performed well in tests. Tyres are typically tested on dry and wet surfaces as well as on snow and ice. Handling, braking, aquaplaning, ABS, run-up and directional control - all these things are taken into account in the tests. Noise, fuel consumption and wear also play a role.
Let’s sum up the advantages and disadvantages of all season tyres: All season tyres are sufficient for an average German winter and their biggest advantage is elimination of the need to change tyres, which is very practical and saves you money. Be aware, however, that all season tyres are a compromise in terms of safety and that your car may behave differently in extreme weather conditions than with winter tyres. Also make sure that you are not in breach of the obligation to use winter tyres when driving abroad with all season tyres. In the end, the decision is up to you, because the legislators have nothing against all-weather tyres in principle. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.