What's the difference between summer tires and all season tires?

Summer means road trips. And road trips require tires that can go the distance. You need to feel prepared for the twists and turns of the journey — including the rain and heat of the season. As the sun beats down on the roads, you need tires that can stand the heat. Will all season tires suffice? Or does summer require wheels of its own? We want to break down the differences between summer tires and all season tires for you, because being informed can help keep you safer on the roads.

Nokian Tyres One
The Nokian Tyres One all season tire is the one for safety, durability and sustainability. Designed to fit most vehicles on the market, this is your go-to all season tire to perform in wet, hot or even light snowy roads.

What are summer tires? 

As their name implies, summer tires are exclusively made for warmer weather conditions. They can withstand the dry and wet conditions of the season, keeping their shape as temperatures rise. But to their core, summer tires are built for drivers who value performance on dry roads. They’re equipped for high-speed sports vehicles (also known as high-performance vehicles) that require extra grip at all times. Their tread patterns are specialized with less grooving in order improve the tire's contact with the road (more rubber in contact with the road + specialized tread compounds = increased traction and grip). They're crafted for agility and speed, giving you more control and precision on dry roads. Summer tires have shallower tread depths than their all season counterparts, which allow them to maintain stability when pushed to the limit. 

Summer tires help you remain cool, calm, and collected with the tread and grip required to keep you safe, but they’re limited to their namesake – and that’s why Nokian Tyres doesn’t currently sell summer tires in North America. With harder material than winter tires, they can prove hazardous as cold weather rolls in. When the leaves change in the fall, you’ll want to consider a new set of tires. If you live in a warmer climate that does not see snow often, opt for all season tires that offer a blend of summer and winter performance. If you live in a climate where snowy conditions visit your area from time to time, consider winter-rated all weather tires. And finally, if your area sees consistent extreme winter conditions, make sure you have a set of dedicated winter tires to ensure optimal traction and braking performance in wintry weather.

What are all season tires? 

All season tires are made for, well, all seasons. From dry summers to mild snow, the same four wheels can carry you through with balanced performance for all four seasons (if you don’t experience much wintry weather). All season tires have moderate tread depths are engineered with rubber compounds that extend tread life. Their rubber compounds offer more flexibility -- literally. The softer rubber is responsive in warmer temperatures, and also in temperatures down to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (or 7 degrees Celsius). All season tires provide reliable performance in wet and dry conditions, traction in light wintry conditions, ride comfort, and handling. They handle well in warm weather, but may offer less grip than summer tires, with potentially less cornering, braking, and steering capabilities. But these are necessary sacrifices in order for an all season tire to provide longer tread life and light winter performance - unlike their summer tire counterparts.

The Nokian Tyres One is a great example of an all season tire. It's designed to fit most vehicles on the market. It’s durable, with an 80,000-mile treadwear warranty. It’s responsive to the road, with a tread pattern tailored to the demands of North American roads. And the Nokian Tyres One even comes with a Pothole Protection Warranty, thanks to blowout-resistant Aramid fibers embedded in the sidewall. 

Though all season tires can provide traction in moderate driving conditions and climates, if you live in a climate where winter temperatures consistently sit below 45 degrees F (or 7 degrees C), we recommend having a set of all weather or winter tires to switch to during wintertime. All weather tires go the extra mile: they’re built for year-round use but also have earned the three-peak mountain snowflake symbol that certifies they’re suitable for driving in winter, too. And for drivers who experience extreme wintry weather, there’s nothing safer that swapping to a set of dedicated winter tires. 

There’s a reason all season tires are the most popular type of tire in much of North America – they offer durability and solid versatility in many areas of the United States, and they’re a strong summertime option for Snow Belt drivers who swap to winter tires when things get cold. 

Find your all season tires

Nokian Tyres One
Tread of the Nokian Tyres One all season tire.

Which tire is right for me? 

If you can literally cook an egg on the sidewalk and want strong performance for a very short time span, summer tires might be for you. But for the majority of North Americans, all-season tires like the Nokian Tyres One, crafted at our North American factory in Dayton, Tennessee, will do the trick in the spring, summer and fall – and even winter, if your winters aren’t severe.  

Visit our Dealer Locator page to find Nokian Tyres products near you. 

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