If you’re like the average driver, you might not know the real difference between summer and all-season tires. Both are designed to serve specific functions and can impact your driving experience differently in terms of performance, handling, and safety.
We’ve compiled some important information to help you understand how summer and all-season tires are different. This guide will help you understand which types of tires are best for your vehicle during different times of the year, your driving habits, and various climates.
What Are Summer Tires and When Do You Need Them?
Let’s start by diving right into summer tires and their unique components. Tires designed for “summer,” have a specific rubber compound that is made for excellent grip on both wet and dry roads – in warmer temperatures.
These tires are typically quiet, even on highways. They’re made to maximize contact with the road, which gives drivers greater control, stability and braking capabilities when the roads are dry and hot, or wet roads during summer rains. They have wide channels that move water away from the tire quickly and also help keep the tire cool in the hottest of summer days.
Because these tires are designed for warm seasons, they aren’t suitable for winter driving conditions. This includes driving in snow, ice, sleet, and slush – as well as in temperatures that are below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius). The rubber in the tires was not made to stay flexible during cooler temperatures and driving on summer tires becomes a potential safety risk.
What Are All-Season Tires? Are They a Good Replacement for Summer Tires?
All-season tires are built to provide a level of performance in all weather conditions. We typically recommend all-season tires to people who live in climates where both winters and summers are relatively mild.
An all-season tire provides you with everything you need in terms of performance – as long as temperatures don’t get extremely hot or extremely cold. They are a versatile tire and suit the needs of many drivers and the conditions they drive in.
All-season tires typically last longer than summer tires, and reduce the need for frequent tire changes as the seasons come.
However, you should keep in mind that all-season tires will not provide as good of handling in extreme heat as summer tires. If you experience intense summers, you may want to invest in a more specialized tire.
Summer vs All-Season Tires
|Summer Tires||All-Season Tires|
|Structure||Less tread depth, wide tread blocks||Moderate tread depth, more defined tread blocks|
|Optimal Temperature||Above 45 degrees F||30 degrees F and above|
|Rubber Compound||Hard rubber compounds that soften in heat||Moderate rubber compounds engineered for long life & varying temperatures|
|Grooves||Wide circumferential||Moderate, often combined with siping|
|Traction||Strong, responsive grip||Solid, stable grip in varying seasons|
|Tread Life||About 25K miles||About 60K miles|
|Best Suited For||High-performance vehicles||Passenger cars & CUVs|
So, what’s really the difference between summer tires vs all-season tires? We know that one handles warmer weather more expertly, but why?
The big difference is the tread compounds. Summer tires are made with blends of rubber, silica and polymers that are designed to handle high heat and continue to grip the road. Those compounds are not designed to stay flexible and provide traction during freezing temperatures like all season tires are.
The other significant difference is when you look at the tread depths. You’ll see that summer tires have shallower tread depths, and the tread patterns are optimized for traction and low rolling resistance. You will also notice the wide circumferential grooves to quickly evacuate water to resist hydroplanning. The design of the tread is typically larger and more continuous – and the tires are commonly built with flexible sidewalls for extra contact with the road.
The lack of siping designed for snow grip makes them unsuitable for snowy/icy conditions, and the rubber compounds found in summer tires harden during freezing temperatures.
All-season tires, on the other hand, have deeper treads that allow for relatively good moisture evacuation and grip on varying surfaces. They’re designed to provide good traction during both the winter and summer. Most all-season tires can handle very cold temperatures – but don’t handle extreme hot temperatures as well as a summer tire. Their biggest benefits are a comfortable ride and a long life-span, as well as versatility when it comes to the different seasons.
There’s no doubt about it: all-season tires are often the easier option because they can be used all year-round, but they aren’t as specialized at handling summer temperatures and conditions.
Which Tires Are Best for Me?
The decision between good summer tires and all-season tires really comes down to where you live and what you expect to encounter on the roads, along with how you drive your vehicle.
Will you experience mild temperatures year-round that are in between hot and cold? Then you probably don’t want to worry about storing summer tires and switching to winter tires. Do you experience seriously hot summers where the pavement cracks under the sun? Summer tires might be your best bet for optimum driving experience.
If you’re feeling unsure, talk to a tire expert – like us! We’ll guide you to the right choice for your climate, vehicle, and driving habits.
Best Summer Tires
- Flexible, specialized rubber compounds
- Sound-absorbing foam in the inner liner
- Cord filament for strength and tension balance
- Reinforced steel belts that enhance speed handling
This tire was built with several features that reduce cabin noise and promote a comfortable driving experience. It also handles wet surfaces well with a silica-infused wet compound that improves braking capabilities. The tire’s warranty covers the first 30K miles or six years – whatever comes first.
You’ll commonly see the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S on ultra-high-performance vehicle brands like Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari, and BMW.
This tire’s price starts at $193. It receives an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.Potenza RE-11. This summer tire is excellent at channeling water out of the footprint area to improve resistance to hydroplaning – and it’s aesthetically pleasing, too.
- Circumferential grooves that facilitate optimal performance
- A tread pattern that varies from shoulder to shoulder
- Stealth blocks to enhance cornering performance
- Asymmetric construction to enhance water evacuation
Despite the fact that the Potenza RE-11 offers motorsports-level performance, this extreme summer tire is surprisingly good at minimizing noise levels. It offers fantastic grip on both wet and dry roads, and it’s one of the top choices for people driving in hot climates.
Usually, this tire’s warranty covers the first 30K miles or six years of use – whatever comes first.
Typically, drivers purchase this tire for sports cars and high-performance vehicles that could use some improved handling during the summer months. You’ll often see them on Corvettes.
This tire’s price starts at $257. It receives an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars.Michelin Pilot Super Sport is a maximum performance summer tire. If you want tire technology that makes your vehicle safer and increases performance, this is one of the best options out there.
- Comparatively lightweight
- Reinforced by steel belts for high-speed handling
- Notched center ribs
- Asymmetric design
Like the other Michelin tires on this list, this tire has a sound-absorbing foam in the inner liner of the tire that reduces cabin noise and makes for a more comfortable ride.
Because this tire was originally put on the Ferrari 599 GTO, the fastest road car ever, it comes as no surprise to learn that it’s commonly used by people who drive high-performance vehicles. It typically comes with a warranty that covers the first 30K miles or six years – whatever comes first.
This tire’s price starts at $104. It receives an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars.
- Five-rib design (sometimes six for other sizes)
- Deep circumferential grooves to keep water flowing
- Casing ply that supports steel belts
- Optimized footprint for evenly distributed pressure
Despite the extreme handling capabilities of this tire, it provides a refined ride with minimal noise disruption. It can be used in both dry and wet conditions, just not freezing temperatures.
The Continental ExtremeContact Sport tire is commonly bought by sedan or sports coupe drivers. Because it has excellent fuel efficiency, tread life, and handling, it’s a great choice for people who want to take their driving experience to the next level while staying safe. The tire comes with a warranty that covers the first 30K miles or six years – whatever comes first.
This tire’s price starts at $110. It receives an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars.Ponteza S-04 Pole Position is specifically designed for those of us who want excellent function in wet and dry conditions during the warm months.
- Circumferential ribs beside the inside shoulder blocks
- Straight-line braking forces
- Slanted lateral grooves to prevent hydroplaning
- Innovative asymmetric tread pattern
- Silica-rich performance compound
You’ll often see this tire on high-performance sports cars, as well as sedans. It has excellent braking capabilities, which make for fun (and safe) handling experiences. Plus, the design of the inside shoulder blocks prevents the road noise from being much of a nuisance, even as the tires age.
Keep in mind that this tire does not come with a tread life warranty – only a workmanship and materials warranty for the first five years.
This tire’s price starts at $136. It receives an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
- Silica-enhanced compound
- Aggressive-looking asymmetric tread design
- Center circumferential grooves to evacuate water
- Two additional circumferential grooves to provide short stopping distances
- High-turnup polyester casting beneath steel belts
- Nylon reinforcements for steady handling
Typically, you’ll see sports car and coupe drivers, as well as sedan owners, installing this tire. They want to maximize their driving pleasure while also keeping their vehicle and passengers safe. If offers low noise on most pavement types and excellent straight-line acceleration.
This tire does not come with a tread life warranty – only a workmanship and materials warranty for the first five years.
This tire’s price starts at $98. It receives an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.BFGoodrich g-Force Sport Comp 2. Designed to offer fast acceleration and excellent cornering, this tire has been attracting experienced drivers for years.
- Silica-infused COMP-2 compound derived from racing technology
- Twin, high tensile steel belts reinforced with ETEC
- Spirally wound nylon to stabilize the tread area
- g-Control sidewall inserts
- Directional tread design with stable shoulder blocks
Considering that this tire has been used on race cars and in racing schools, it’s no surprise that it’s typically sought after by drivers of high-end sports and performance cars. It’s designed for sports cars, sporty coupes, performance sedans, and modern muscle cars.
This tire comes with no tread life warranty but does have a uniformity warranty for the first year and a workmanship & materials warranty for the first six years.
This tire’s price starts at $107. It receives an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars.
- Large, rigid tread blocks
- Wide-open lateral grooves for water evacuation and wet handling
- High-percentage silica tread compound
- Special bonding agent that allows for better cornering
- Twin center ribs for increased dry traction and straight-line stability
Although people do enjoy the excellent handling capabilities of this tire, some reviewers note a higher level of added noise while driving. You might experience extra humming and growling, regardless of the speed at which you travel.
This tire comes with no tread life warranty but does have a uniformity warranty until the tires reach 1/32” even wear.
This tire’s price starts at $124. It receives an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
- Asymmetrical tread design
- Ultra-high-performance tread compound
- Computer Optimized Component System
- Steel belts reinforced by spirally wrapped nylon to stabilize tread area
- Stiff outer sidewall to reinforce steering responses
This tire is typically purchased by drivers of high-performance sedans who want to maximize their driving pleasure – without sacrificing the longevity of their tires. They’re great when it comes to functionality, traction, and low noise levels in both city and highway driving.
The tire comes with no tread life warranty but does have a uniformity warranty until the tires reach 2/32” even wear. It also has a workmanship and materials warranty that covers the first five years.
This tire’s price starts at $74. It receives an average rating of 5 out of 5 stars.
- Large solid shoulder blocks for excellent grip
- Large circumferential grooves to enhance surface print
- Exceptional water dispersion capabilities
- Unique 2-in-1 pitch alignment pattern to reduce noise levels
This is one of the cheapest summer performance tires on the market, and for its price, it offers surprisingly low noise, excellent handling, and a long tread life. Most reviewers have nothing but good things to say about the Federal 595 Evo, especially considering its reasonable price tag.
The tire comes with a limited tread warranty and is commonly purchased by drivers of Lincolns, BMWs, Mercedes, and Chevrolets.
This tire’s price starts at $55. It receives an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Best All-Season Tires
- Large shoulder block for strength
- Four wide circumferential grooves for superb water channeling
- Asymmetrical tread pattern
- Fully-siped and reinforced tread for stability
This tire is long-lasting and perfect for sedans, compact cars, and crossover vehicles. Drivers praise it for its excellent cornering abilities and precise steering responses. The tire comes with a 50K mile limited treadwear warranty.
This tire’s price starts at $80. It receives an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
- Asymmetric tread design
- High sipe density
- Snow ridge walls
- 3D full-depth sipes
Often chosen by drivers of luxury vehicles, sporty coupes, and sedans, this Bridgestone tire drives well on any road, even when wet or dry. Reviews often praise the noise-optimized tread pattern that improves their overall driving experience.
It comes with a 50K tread life warranty, uniformity warranty until 2/23” wear, and five years of workmanship and materials warranty.
This tire’s price starts at $131. It receives an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
- In-groove quiet tracks
- Non-chamfered shoulder slots
- Optimized pitch sequencing (to reduce airborne noise)
- Wide circumferential grooves and shoulder slots
- Interlocking grooves with biting edges
As one of the quietest all-season tires currently on the market, this Bridgestone option is extremely popular. It blends expert handling with a smooth, quiet ride for a confident driving experience on many different kinds of vehicles.
This tire comes with an 80K tread life warranty, uniformity warranty until 2/23” wear, and five years of workmanship and materials warranty.
This tire’s price starts at $158. It receives an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
- Matric technology on inner tread blocks
- Directional tread design
- Four wide circumferential grooves
- Added silica content to grip wet pavement
Built for sport coupes and sedans, this Achilles tire has enhanced steering responses and stability. Its design reduces the risk of hydroplaning in wet weather, and its road grip is better than many other tires on the market.
This tire comes with a uniformity warranty until 2/23” wear, and six years of workmanship and materials warranty.
This tire’s price starts at $52. It receives an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
- Enhanced tread block geometry
- Circumferential and longitudinal grooves
- Asymmetric tread design
- Wear-resistant compound
You’ll usually find the Ironman iMove Gen2 AS on passenger cars like sedans. It’s reasonably priced, produces little noise, and looks nice on almost any car. It also comes with a 60-month protection policy, as well as coverage under the Road Hazard Protection Program that lets you replace the tire for up to two years.
This tire’s price starts at $102. It receives an average rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars.
- Optimized tread design
- Rounded shoulders with larger tread blocks
- Wide circumferential grooves
- Added sipes around the tread
- Twin steel belted construction for extra strength
Performance ratings (rating, warranty, performance, ride comfort, noise)
This tire comes with a 50K tread life warranty and is ideal for drivers of modern sedans, sport sedans, CUVs, and sport coupes. Its use of an advanced silica tread compound makes for great handling in many kinds of weather and better treadwear.
This tire’s price starts at $57. It receives an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
- Symmetric design
- Large circumferential grooves
- All-season tread compound
- Rigid outside shoulder blocks
- Continuous center rib casing
Despite its low price, this tire is surprisingly quiet and will last for years. It works well for everyday use and is often purchased by drivers of coupes, sedans, minivans, and crossovers.
This tire’s price starts at $43. It receives an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
- Single-ply polyester casting
- Asymmetric pattern
- Coupled silica compound
- Side-to-side rotation patterns
- Biting edges for grip in snow
Developed for drivers of coupes, sedans, and crossovers, this Cooper tire performs better than most all-season tires in snow. Drivers praise its excellent traction, low noise level, and durability.
This tire comes with an 80K tread life warranty, as well as a workmanship and materials warranty and uniformity warranty until 2/23” wear.
This tire’s price starts at $62. It receives an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
- Asymmetric tread design
- Wide lateral grooves
- Four circumferential grooves
- Added lateral grooves
- Two nylon-reinforced steel belts
Quiet and fairly dependable, these tires do well in most weather, although reviewers sometimes state that they’re not as strong in wet conditions as some other all-season tires.
You’ll commonly see this Goodyear tire on sports cars, sporty coupes, and high-performance sedans. It doesn’t come with a tread life warranty but does include a uniformity warranty for the first year and a workmanship and materials warranty for the first six years.
This tire’s price starts at $62. It receives an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
- Optimized tread pitch sequence to reduce road noise
- Shoulder slots designed to improve traction
- Solid center rib
- Refined tread elements
This might not be the highest “performance” tire on the market, but it’s suited ideally for those of us who drive older vehicles that could use a little bit of extra “oomph.”
The tire comes with a 50K tread life warranty. It’s typically seen on older muscle cars and even trucks, and many drivers who choose it love the classic design and aggressive tread pattern.
This tire’s price starts at $45. It receives an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars.
How long do summer tires last?
Generally speaking, summer tires don’t last as long as all-season tires. After you’ve driven roughly 20K to 25K miles on a set of summer tires, you’ll need to inspect them for wear and possibly find replacements.
When should I buy summer tires?
Our recommendation is to purchase your summer tires in April and keep them on until around October. This time period might vary depending on where you live.
When should you replace summer tires?
When you bend down to measure the tread depth of your summer tire, if it’s at 2/23” or lower, you’ll need to replace them ASAP. This typically occurs after about 25K miles.
Are summer tires good in the rain?
The short answer is “yes,” you can use summer tires in rain since this is one of their strongest features. The longer answer is that summer tires perform well on both dry and wet roads because they offer great braking and cornering, and move water away from the tire quickly to prevent hydroplanning. So, if you’re worried that only an all-season tire will provide traction on wet roads, don’t fret, summer tires have you covered.
How do summer tires perform in the snow?
Summer tires are not designed to perform in the snow. The tread designs and rubber compounds that make up the tire are not optimized for grip on freezing temperatures. The lack of biting edges and siping make them a poor choice for winter driving.
Do summer tires wear faster?
All-season tires usually have a longer lifespan than summer or winter tires, but they aren’t as specialized for certain kinds of weather.
What is a good all-season tire?
A good all-season tire should provide strong traction in wet, dry, and lightly snowy conditions. Some are better at this than others – but overall, any “good” AS tire will get you where you need to be in a variety of weather conditions and offer long mileage.
Are summer tires quieter than all-season?
Summer tires can be quieter than All Season and vice versa. It all depends on the individual brand and style tire and the emphasis the tire manufacturer put on designing that tire to be quiet on the road. The individual tread patterns and rubber compounds affect road noise greatly. If you are looking for super quiet, along with comfort you might look for an all season touring tire.
How long do all-season tires last?
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll know when to replace all-season tires when they get close to 60K miles. Your individual driving habits and the number of miles you drive each year greatly impact the length of time an all season tire will last. Some all season tires have an 80k mileage warranty. Some have only 50k, so pay close attention to the mileage warranty when purchasing your tires if long wear is one of your main criteria in a tire.
With summer finally around the corner, it’s time to think about adjusting your tires. Hopefully, this guide has given you a clearer idea of how summer tires differ from all-season, and which one is right for you!
Looking for an all-season or summer tire for the warmer months? Let Tires Easy point you toward the right choice for your vehicle and driving habits!