All-Season: this is the name of the models with intermediate characteristics between those required of summer tyres and those of winter tyres. They are the characteristics which respect the norms defined by the Highway Code, which allow vehicles to be driven around both when there is a legal requirement to use winter tyres (generally from 15th November until 15th April of the following year) and also during the rest of the year, without any risk of incurring a fine.
Advantages and disadvantages
All-Seasons are universal tyres, in the sense that they can be used regardless of whether it is summer or winter, as long as their constructional characteristics (carcass, compound and tread pattern) have been designed for use on surfaces which are much more varied and at temperatures of a much greater range compared with winter tyres or summer tyres.
This is an advantage from the financial point of view: the cost of the classic double set of tyres is eliminated, as is that of fitting and removing them (as well as any storage costs at the tyre centre). But there is also a disadvantage: they are not designed to excel specifically in summer or in winter, so therefore they provide a slightly inferior performance in the one season or the other. This concept, however, only applies in practice in extreme conditions, where temperatures are higher than 34-35° C or on the contrary are lower than -5° C.
The way to recognise them
A common feature of the majority of All-Seasons of the latest generation, is the ”V” design of the tread and the fact that the latter has deeper grooves compared with a summer tyre, but not as deep as those on a winter tyre. On the sidewall it must show the indication M+S (or the variants M&S, M-S and MS), and it is even better if it features alongside it the symbol which is representative of winter tyres, that is to say that of a mountain with three peaks enclosing an image of a snowflake (technically this is the “3PMSF” symbol): this guarantees that the best performances will be obtained when temperatures are below 7° C. The symbol also attests that it has passed a specific test for type-approval for driving on snow. It is also important to pay attention to the code for the maximum speed which the tyre can tolerate: this is inscribed on the sidewall and must be equal to or greater than the speed set out on the vehicle registration certificate.
See also: How to identify worn out tyres
The right choice
An All-Season tyre is suitable for anyone who lives and/or travels in territories where temperatures are not too scorching in summer and not too severe in winter. Another disadvantage of the All-Seasons is that they are shorter-lasting during the hottest months compared with a summer tyre, as a result of the slightly softer compound and the increased presence of grooves.
They are therefore particularly suitable for people who do not drive very much (25,000 km at most per year) and – we repeat – who rarely encounter extreme weather conditions. However, drivers who undertake long mileages annually will always be best advised to switch from summer to winter tyres and vice versa, thus increasing the useful life of each set of tyres.
And on snow?
Anyone who often travels in winter conditions should consider the acquisition of a set of specific tyres for such conditions: tyres designed for the snow are more efficient in conditions of reduced adherence, but All-Seasons nevertheless guarantee that an unexpected snowfall will not leave you stranded by the side of the road. Even if it is advisable to take on such challenging situations with a somewhat greater degree of prudence.