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Summer Tire, Winter Tire, What’s the Difference? | Madison Tires

What are the differences between the types of tires? What’s the best tire choice for you? The Madison tire experts at any of Madison Auto Care’s seven NAPA service centers can help you with that.

When you were headed home from work the other day you noticed that your tires are looking a bit worn. It’s probably time to start shopping around for a new set. And with the mornings turning chilly and the first snowstorm of the year on the way, you’re wondering if you should get winter tires or simply stick to the type that are on your car now.

That’s a good question. As points out, most drivers have a choice of three general types of tire – winter (or snow) tires, all-weather tires, or summer tires. But is there really a difference?

Yes. There are differences. Those differences can mean a lot for driving safety.

“Each [type of tire] is designed for a specific set of parameters, which are different between brands, and each has particular pros and cons,” says. “It’s vital to understand what each tire can and cannot do while comparing their abilities to the driving conditions you’ll likely be experiencing.”

Summer tires, which are made of a softer rubber, work best in weather that exceeds 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Cnet says, they “are typically fitted with large tread blocks to give maximum contact with the road in warmer weather. As a result, summer tires generally have more grip in both wet and dry conditions and provide optimal cornering and braking capabilities.”

In colder weather, the rubber hardens and traction suffers. Summer tires simply do not grip the road as well in the winter as in the summer. They are truly unsafe when the temperature drops below 45 degrees, according to

On the other hand, says, “winter tires are made with a deep tread pattern and a series of very thin cuts called sipes across the tread. The deep tread can help flush out excess slush buildup, while the sipes and other ridges help to pack the white stuff between the tread blocks, allowing for superior snow-on-snow traction. Meanwhile, sipes help provide a biting edge to keep things copacetic on icy surfaces. Winter tires also use rubber that’s specially formulated to provide more grip on cold, dry pavement. Even if you don’t regularly experience snow, winter tires are still your best bet when temps are low.

But, cautions, if you change over to winter tires, be sure to put a full set of four on your car or truck.

All-weather or all-season tires try to straddle both sides. They seek to be safe and useful in both summer and winter. But they aren't the best at either.

“All-season tires may perform adequately on dry, warmer pavement, but they won’t give you the handling and grip levels of a summer tire,” says. “They may have a longer life than summer or winter tires, and they can get you up to the ski slopes, as long as that mountain road is only lightly covered with snow. Even then, however, they won’t stop and corner as well as winter tires can when the weather turns cold.”

What should you do? If you’re undecided, talk with a trusted Madison tire pro like the reliable Madison auto care and tire specialists at any of Madison Auto Care’s seven NAPA service centers. They can help you find a tire that’s best for you, your car and your budget: Clausen Auto, Handel Auto, Genin’s Auto, Capitol Tire, Odana Tire, Hansen’s Auto, or Aeschbach Auto. 


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