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All season tyres?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So having driven to France for the last 3 ski trips, next year we are looking at driving again at Feb half term and Easter. We may do Austria at Feb half term instead of France, which means the car tyres need the mountain/snowflake symbol.

A previous thread drew my attention to All Season tyres with the snowflake symbol so they meet the requirements for winter tyre designation. Having googled around there's a few that are now well reviewed.
So I'm wondering a switch to these for all year use. The pain is that the rear tyres need changing now, they really can't wait, and the fronts probably need changing around Sep/Oct time, maybe Nov. It seems an odd time of year to switch from summer to all season, I'd prefer to have done it in Oct/Nov time so there is of new tread for the winter season, which afterall is the reason for the switch to all season. If I switch to all season now, I'm wondering if by next Easter the tread will already be too poor to meet the winter tyre designation in Europe.

Alternative option is to buy some summers for the rear now, then when the fronts need changing say around Oct time swap the lot for all season., then continue to use them all year. I gather in either case, I would need to switch all 4 to the all season tyres in one go, as opposed to doing the rears now and the fronts in Nov ish ?


Anyone any experience of using all seasons all year round in the UK then for trips to the alps ?
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I am not directly answering you question but would like to offer another scenario to consider:

If you can afford it and have storage space, perhaps you should consider running a set of new summers and switching to full winters acound October. Other than the faff factor the overall tyre costs will be about the same in the long run and you will have the most suitable tyres fitted for the right seasons. You could just replace the rears now with summers and delay purchase of summers for the front until its time to remove the new winters next year.
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Ozboy wrote:
.....If you can afford it and have storage space, perhaps you should consider running a set of new summers and switching to full winters acound October. Other than the faff factor the overall tyre costs will be about the same in the long run and you will have the most suitable tyres fitted for the right seasons.....

This is what I do. Simples.
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I did wonder that. But then figured I'd be paying probably a hundred a year in just tyre switching fees, which I suppose is not insurmountable but another annoying faff and a bit of expense, so I thought maybe all seasons might be a decent solution. I accept theres a slight compromise in that they are not as good as winters in winter and not as good as summers in summer, but they are better then summers in winter and better than winters in summer, I also gather they are usually better than summers in wet weather.

Re. Storage I have a detached garage that has a loft I can store them in. It can get warm up there in summer though, are there any special storage requirements or is it just a case of them lying somehwere flat ? I assume you store them on their sidewalls as opposed to standing upright ?
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If I have storage room, even just for Northern England, I go for 2 sets of wheels, inc spare, and change them over each time (alloys or steels). Tyre (alone) changing costs just got too expensive.

Without storage space, as for last several years, used all seasons on all wheels. Been fine as far as I know. Taxi drivers use them round here a lot these days.
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@Gazzza, Tyres get hot so not a problem. They should be stored upright and there are varoius inexpensive racking systems avaiable form Amazon. You could probably just build one if you are handy!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hardcastle-Wheel-Tyre-Storage-Rack/dp/B01M081DPF/ref=sr_1_2?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1494438918&sr=1-2&keywords=tyre+rack&tag=amz07b-21
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I am now using winter tyres all year round on my motorhome. So far they have done 6 trips to the alps, a 2 month autumn trip to Galicia and northern Portugal and still have over 5mm of tread left. I'll be using them again for this autumns trip but replacing the two most worn with fresh tyres before january.
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I was swopping over winter/summer on my XC90, then my friendly tyre man suggested all year tyres and I reckon they are much better/less hassle and cheaper. You don't have 100s of pounds of tyres sat in your garage!!
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Ozboy wrote:
@Gazzza, Tyres get hot so not a problem. They should be stored upright and there are varoius inexpensive racking systems avaiable form Amazon. You could probably just build one if you are handy!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hardcastle-Wheel-Tyre-Storage-Rack/dp/B01M081DPF/ref=sr_1_2?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1494438918&sr=1-2&keywords=tyre+rack&tag=amz07b-21


Agreed that if you are storing tyres on their own they should be stored vertically. However if you are storing them fitted to wheels then it's OK to stack them horizontally one on top of the other according to this site

As regards the original poster who is thinking of changing over to all season tyres but says that the rear tyres need changing now, would there be a problem in just changing the rear tyres to all season? This would mean the same tyres are on both rear wheels, so would be balanced handling left/right, and although different tread to the front wheels as they are rated all season presumably there wouldn't be that much difference in front/rear Summer behaviour. Being on the rear the tyres would get very little wear anyway, so when the time came to switch the front tyres to all season he's end up with very similar tread depths on all four.
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Quote:

Being on the rear the tyres would get very little wear anyway,

Why? AFAIAA rear wheel drive cars wear their rear tyres out faster than the front. Well they did when I had rear wheel drive cars.

My advice would be to put the better grip tyres on the rear, which in summer would not be the all season tyres.
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kitenski wrote:
I was swopping over winter/summer on my XC90, then my friendly tyre man suggested all year tyres and I reckon they are much better/less hassle and cheaper. You don't have 100s of pounds of tyres sat in your garage!!

Maybe less hassle but definitely not better than having separate tyre types.

Personally I want the best tyres for the conditions, especially if driving in the alps, or even in the UK for that matter. And if you split your mileage between two sets of tyres then they last twice as long so there's no additional cost. And get another set of rims so there's no cost in swapping them. Buy second hand rims & they'll not depreciate. And if driving to the alps make sure you've got a full size spare as well.

The winter tyres question comes up often on this forum & I find it amazing the number of people who are driving expensive cars on an expensive ski holiday then want to do tyres 'on the cheap' when there's only a few sq.cm of rubber keeping them & their family/mates on the road.
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Gazzza wrote:
I did wonder that. But then figured I'd be paying probably a hundred a year in just tyre switching fees, which I suppose is not insurmountable but another annoying faff and a bit of expense, so I thought maybe all seasons might be a decent solution. I accept theres a slight compromise in that they are not as good as winters in winter and not as good as summers in summer, but they are better then summers in winter and better than winters in summer, I also gather they are usually better than summers in wet weather.

Re. Storage I have a detached garage that has a loft I can store them in. It can get warm up there in summer though, are there any special storage requirements or is it just a case of them lying somehwere flat ? I assume you store them on their sidewalls as opposed to standing upright ?


If mounted on a wheel - horizontal storing. If just a tyre, then vertical storage. Idealy should not be too hot
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I have a set of steel rims with winter tyres and the original alloys with summer ones. The steel rims and winter tyres are slightly narrower than the standard summer set so give even better grip in snow but both sets are a manufacturer supported size, maybe check your handbook for what options you have.
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You know it makes sense.
I use Nokians all year, usually get well above 20,000 miles out of them but remember that a winter legal tyre in Ausria needs 4.5mm of tread. They are a proper winter tyre but are called all seasons as during warmer weather tests they also performed well with decent life. On my third set now.
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My local garage in the UK only charges £20 for switching 4 tyres so I keep my old ones for summer and the new ones for winters in Austria.
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I'm moving our car over to all seasons, although have only done 1 pair so far. Rears still have a couple of k in them.

Van staying on winters too but that's a longer story.
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spyderjon wrote:
kitenski wrote:
I was swopping over winter/summer on my XC90, then my friendly tyre man suggested all year tyres and I reckon they are much better/less hassle and cheaper. You don't have 100s of pounds of tyres sat in your garage!!

Maybe less hassle but definitely not better than having separate tyre types.

Personally I want the best tyres for the conditions, especially if driving in the alps, or even in the UK for that matter. And if you split your mileage between two sets of tyres then they last twice as long so there's no additional cost. And get another set of rims so there's no cost in swapping them. Buy second hand rims & they'll not depreciate. And if driving to the alps make sure you've got a full size spare as well.

The winter tyres question comes up often on this forum & I find it amazing the number of people who are driving expensive cars on an expensive ski holiday then want to do tyres 'on the cheap' when there's only a few sq.cm of rubber keeping them & their family/mates on the road.


There is additional cost up front though Jon if you have to buy 8 tyres when you only really need 4. If you get another set of rims that is more cost. Rims were not cheap when I looked.

The all round tyres were superb, even in "massive" snow in the UK...and heavy snow in Austria. If they have the snowflake symbol how are they different to a full winter tyre??? I have no doubt my all round tyres are as safe as a winter tyre, I am not doing it "on the cheap" at all.
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Scarpa wrote:
My local garage in the UK only charges £20 for switching 4 tyres so I keep my old ones for summer and the new ones for winters in Austria.


2 swops a year = £40, say the tyres (as you have 2 sets) last 4 years you are paying £160 vs getting a decent all round tyre that will last as long.
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I used Nokian all season tyres on my Subaru Legacy all year round in the UK and a very snowy season in the Alps and they were fantastic. Still had 5mm of tread on them after 30,000 miles. I wouldn't hesitate to use them again on another car although I will add the caveat that I suspect the permanent all wheel drive considerably reduced the wear rate. I don't think you'd still have 5mm of tread on a front wheel drive car.
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I used to have Continental winter contact and Goodyear ultragrip winter tyres and can categorically say that they are better than all season. However, not that much better than good all season. I find that breaking is better (less lockup/ABS kicking in) and better traction lulling away. In cornering sharply in a car park they are also better. If you want a figure on it I would say that god all season are about 80% of the winters. Whereas summer are 20%.

Winters in the summer are a little but spongy on cornering and bearing in mind the segment of the road so I would rather have decent all season for that. Also in winter the part of the driving that is actual full winter conditions is a small amount of the total drive and I would rather have good all season for the main (not full winter) section of the drive. For real bad winter conditions have a set of chains.


My all season are Michelin crossclimate and they are superb.

IMHO!!! Always go for the best quality tyre on a car. I bought a car once with new tyres on it and the garage had put on a cheap brand. traction was dreadful so I swapped them for decent quality tyres and cornering speed was increased by about 20% without loss of traction. So I would rather go for great all-season tyres like these Michelin Crossclimate rather than cheap brand winter tyres. If you are getting winter tyres, then go for one that has good reviews. Tyres are one of those areas where you really do get what you pay for.
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Used to have Conti Winter Contact on mine too. The guy that fitted them, and makes my car get thru the TüV, itemises them on the invoice as All Season M+S (they have both the M+S marking and the mountain+snowflake logo).
They lasted for years, and several 10's of 1000's of km. I fitted them to drive to the first Birthday Bash in Campitello, and changed them in August for the most recent 2-yearly TüV test, where they were borderline at the German tread limit (which is more than UK limit).
30,000KM+ easily, used all year round. I don't swap them.
Noisier than the P6000's semi-slick summer tyres, especially in the wet, but lasted way way longer.
Now have Goodyear something, also referred to as All Season M+S (with both M+S marking and the mountain+snowflake logo). They didn't feel so good on snow this year, and are noisier in the dry.
cba to swap.
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Michelin CrossClimate...

I've had them on my car for about 18 months straight.. they're wearing really well, was half expecting them to be too soft or something. Good in wet weather too, and as happy driving to the supermarket in July as they are on the Gerlos road in February Very Happy
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So myn are for an XC90. It's AWD, but I understand the drive system it uses generally sticks power to the front wheels and only shifts power to the rear when needed.

I've only ever used the continental crosscontact summers on it, which are what came with it.
The fronts last 12 months, maybe 20k. The rears about 18-20 months, 30k.
It's done 4 trips to the alps, 3 at easter, 1 at new year. Id got snow socks, but on every trip the road in and out of resort had been totally clear.

It's interesting the range of views on here.



This article is quite interesting. It tests 6 all season, 1 summer and 1 winter tyre, across all conditions/seasons and includes some of the tyres mentioned above.
http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/accessories-tyres/92863/all-season-tyres-test-20162017-top-all-weather-tyres-tested

Having read the comments, I'm still torn.

@andy, and @GlasgowCyclops, are you saying you leave your winters on all year ?

@kitenski, which all seasons do you have on your xc90 - and what sort of mileage are you getting out of them ?

Thanks for all the thoughts.
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@Gazzza, yup (except I call them All Season rather than winters, even if they do have winter in the name).
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It's a difficult decision for many people (separate winters vs summers and separate wheels for the winters etc.). I wrote a guide after researching this question for my BMW 2 Series which is at

http://www.babybmw.net/howtos/Winter%20Wheels%20Guide%202%20Series%20v2.pdf

Bear in mind that even with winter tyres and AWD, you still need to consider chains as well. There are limits even to winter tyres/AWD and not necessarily the obvious - icy steep drives out of your holiday apartment block/chalet or car park are a common challenge. And not least if you're unlucky enough to hit conditions where the police mandate chains, 4WD, winter tyres or not.

This often cues a batch of 'I've driven to the Alps the last ten years on summer tyres and rear wheel drive and had no problems.' and 'I'd rather have a RWD with winters on than an AWD with all-seasons' etc. etc. Please read the Guide and then decide for yourself. There's no absolute right/wrong answer.
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I must say, @msej449, that I have lived in Geneva with weekly alpine commutes typically, but not always, to Chamonix and have never found a need for chains...and our house is up a rather steep hill ...

The winters seem to perform adequately on ice as well... I don't even possess chains and the owners manual says they're not suitable for the car ... rarely slips into AWD ... rarely need to engage it myself ...
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under a new name wrote:
I must say, @msej449, that I have lived in Geneva with weekly alpine commutes typically, but not always, to Chamonix and have never found a need for chains...and our house is up a rather steep hill ...

The winters seem to perform adequately on ice as well... I don't even possess chains and the owners manual says they're not suitable for the car ... rarely slips into AWD ... rarely need to engage it myself ...


I agree with that. The situations when chains could be useful for a AWD with winter tyres are very very limited. And when it comes to safety, it has little to do with chains - winter tyres are the way forward, not chains. You may theoretically need chains for an AWD with winter tyres, but it is more likely the roads/traffic will be closed. Also to note that not all winter tyres are equal.
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@mooney058, with our current snow tyres, frankly if I thought I needed chains, I wouldn't be going there at all.

I note also that I have on occassion been unable to walk up the hill it was so icy, but no problem to drive.
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Regardless of what's on the wheels the main factor in winter and/or inclement driving success or failure is the thickness of the rubber betwen the ears of the occupant of the driver's seat. Drive everything like it is dry summer tarmac and you'll come unstuck regardless of tyres.
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@msej449,

interesting
I guess the takeaway is that if you can find "all seasons" with the snow and mountain symbol they are a sound choice, particularly if you don't drive a performance car sportingly in summer.

Personally I run two sets on two sets of rims and change them myself (which reminds me - must put the summers on at the weekend!).
My BiL has just decided to keep the winters on all the year round - says he finds the difference to summers marginal.

My understanding is that all seasons tyres are a better choice than summer tyres in British conditions (if you only run one set). The reason that British cars are supplied with summers is that the manufacturers are trying to get every little bit of fuel efficiency claim because of EU regulations.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, v true.
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kitenski wrote:
Scarpa wrote:
My local garage in the UK only charges £20 for switching 4 tyres so I keep my old ones for summer and the new ones for winters in Austria.


2 swops a year = £40, say the tyres (as you have 2 sets) last 4 years you are paying £160 vs getting a decent all round tyre that will last as long.




They are a decent all round tyre. The only reason I swapped is because they were down to 5mm at the start of winter so would have fallen below the legal limit of 4.5 while I was out there. Made more sense to get a new set for the winter and keep the old ones for this summer when I am doing a large mileage working down south. It was a one off situation, they had been on my car for 2 years and I had done 7,000 summer miles on them while working last summer. Usually I can get about 4 years out of a set.
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To be fair about the AWD and chains comment, the OP needs to make up their own mind about this as they'll be the ones stopped by the police or unable to get out of their apartment block. I've had a series of AWD cars and have been driving to the Alps each winter for about 15 years. I've only needed chains three times in that period, but when I've needed them, I've needed them. If your'e a local, then you can probably pick and choose when not/to go, depending on conditions. But as holiday visitors, we are committed to driving on the day, whatever the conditions. Most years, there's usually one weekend (always seems to be a half term) when there's a perfect storm and people are mandated to put on chains or stay put. Like many things in life, it's a risk analysis. To my mind, if you have a £30K+ car, £1200 worth of winter thyres and wheels, and drive to the Alps every year then £100-£300 on chains is a reasonable spend if it means I cover the 1-in-5 chance of needing them.
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@LaForet, those are fair points, and I will admit I rarely drive to the Swiss alps, but in 11 years of driving to mountains most winter weekends, and in fairness only on more or less "easy" roads I have never encountered conditions where chains would have been needed nor mandated by les flics on top of good winters and AWD.
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@LaForet,
yep we have AWD and carry a set (pair) of inexpensive chains just in case. Paid less than £100 though. I'm sure more expensive ones are less faff but if you hardly ever use them...
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Lidl do chains for £20.
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There's no argument not to have a set of chains in the boot, but I'm another with 4x4 and winter tyres who has never needed chains - despite frequently driving over the 1800m Arlberg pass in all conditions including heavy snow with 20cm sat settled on the road, and driving on an uncleared forest road topped with 5cm of pure (melted then re-frozen) ice that was simply not possible to walk on without falling over. And then this year getting up the steep road out of a hotel in Kühtai (rest of the team had to get to the airport) when conditions were such that a local taxi driver slipped down the same road into a lorry (I had no problem coming back down it either).

Vredestein Wintrac Extremes FTW.
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So having almost gone ahead and bought 2 summer rears now then switching to 4 winters in Oct time, I'm now strongly drawn toward the Michellin cross climate. It's billed as a summer tyre that meets all the requirements of winter certification for use as a winter tyre.

According to test results it's weaker than some other all season tyres in the snow, but that said it still meets the required standard to be used as a winter tyre and gets the 3 mountain snowflake symbol/certification.
http://www.tyrereviews.co.uk/Article/2016-ADAC-All-Season-Tyre-Test.htm
The pay off for this is excellent dry and wet results, as well as wear and economy. It's interesting that although they didn't score so well in snow as others, they scored the best, in that particular test at least, on ice.

For my usage, year round UK use, alps maybe twice a year I think this seems to fit the bill, all season, meets winter certification, but more weighted to summer use, which is where it will get the majority & higher speed use. If the snow is particularly bad the two weeks I'm in resort I can put the socks on, or I'll probably also pickup a set of chains from a hypermarket on my next visit.

So I think I have my decision.

Question is then, (whilst I understand you can't mix summers and winters) given they are summer bias all season tyre can I buy two Michellin cross climates for the rear axle now and buy the other two in Oct when the fronts where out, or must all 4 be switched together.
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@Gazzza, is the tyre we fitted to Discovery - similar thought process.

We go skiing once a year and then generally Easter, I have chains in boot if it gets really bad!

For the other 51 weeks and 5 days they are a good compromise for a car which is not sporty at best of times!
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Just ordered 4 Michellin Cross Climates, fitting next Weds, so all being well this will be my (or rather my wife's!) new year round tyre.

A bit annoying to waste the life left on the summers, but I figured replacing all 4 was safer rather than mixing. I guess I can maybe sell the summer fronts for a few notes if there's enough tread in them once they are swapped. next week.

Cheers for the collective Snowheads wisdom, as always ! snowHead
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