Driving a car is becoming more and more expensive, so it is important to find ways to save. One of them is all-season tires instead of two sets of tires for summer and winter. But is that really recommended? FOCUS Online explains what is important.
An all-season tire is always a compromise between good winter and summer properties: it can’t do many things perfectly, but nothing really bad either. According to TÜV Süd, the “all-rounders” have meanwhile become so good that many motorists can save themselves the double wheel set and the annoying changing and storage.
“All-season tires are particularly suitable for vehicle owners who drive in moderate weather conditions in urban areas with a low mileage. The topography also plays a role,” says Thomas Salzinger, TÜV tire expert. “Cities with a lot of inclines, such as Stuttgart, require pure winter tires on muddy or snow-covered roads more than the flat urban centers of northern Germany,” says Salzinger.
All-season tires usually have a smaller number or less pronounced slats in the profile. “On snow, that can be a noticeable disadvantage compared to winter tires. On the other hand, they perform relatively well on ice, in any case not worse than pure winter tires in general,” according to the TÜV tire testers. The braking distances in dry, warm weather are significantly shorter with all-season tires and the steering precision is higher because their summer properties are of course better than those of winter tires.
All-season tires usually have the following designation:
It is important that the rubbers bear the so-called snowflake symbol (also called Alpine symbol). Because that is now mandatory so that all-season tires are also permitted in the sense of the German winter tire obligation in ice and snow. The symbol may only be used on tires that have passed a standardized traction test. Anyone who buys new tires should therefore pay attention to the snowflake. But you can continue to use older tires for the time being: “Anyone who actually still has tires that only have the letters M and S can still drive them in a transitional period until September 2024,” according to the TÜV.
In Germany, there is a situational winter tire obligation regardless of the calendar. This means that winter tires must be fitted when the road conditions require it. Otherwise there is a risk of fines. Full insurance coverage can also be at risk.
The rule of thumb for the changeover time is the “From O to O” rule: At Easter, the winter slippers come off and the summer tires on, in October the other way around. The changeable winters of the last few years – sometimes a lot of snow and frost until April, sometimes very mild and little snow like in the 2021/2022 season and hopefully also in 2022/2023 – make it necessary to adjust the time of change. In general, however, the following applies: Summer tires are no longer recommended from an outside temperature of 7 degrees, the rubber mixtures of the summer tires then ensure poorer grip and less favorable handling.