If you’ve spent even a single winter in the Indianapolis or Bloomington area, then you’re no stranger to driving on snow-covered roads.

And if you are, you’ve probably wondered a time or two if you should invest in a set of winter tires for your daily commutes around Plainfield and Fishers. Or maybe you wonder if your all season tires are enough.

At Andy Mohr Collision Center we’re asked about this frequently, so we put together this handy guide that explains the differences between winter tires and all season tires, and the best uses for each.

Winter Tires vs All Season Tires

Let’s jump right into it with a definition of what each kind of tire is, starting with all season tires.

All season tires are often what’s installed on the car you drive off the lot. They are versatile and resilient tires that have a long tread life and even promote fuel efficient driving.

They are designed to perform in all kinds of mild driving conditions, like rain, wind, and sun. They even do well in light snow but work best in temperatures above 45o Fahrenheit.

When the temperature drops below that, their rubber hardens, which decreases traction and leads to skidding.

Winter tires, on the other hand, thrive at these low temperatures. They’re made of a flexible rubber that doesn’t harden in the cold, and have a deeper tread, which prevents snow and ice from building up under them. All of this allows for improved traction.

The downside is that winter tires wear down easily on warm pavement, causing a shortened lifespan if used year-round.

What Kind of Tires You Should Use

The truth is, it’s not really a question of all season tires vs winter tires. If you live in a colder climate, or one, like the North American Midwest, with a distinct winter season, it’s a good idea to install winter tires once the temperatures drop below 45o Fahrenheit.

Then, come Spring, usually around April, when the temperatures begin to permanently climb, and snow becomes less likely, switch out your winter tires for your all season tires.

This is the best way to ensure the longevity of your winter tires, by keeping them off warm pavement. Switching back to all season tires during warmer seasons will also improve your car’s efficiency.

These guidelines go for 2-wheel drive (2WD), 4-wheel drive (4WD), and all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles.

Winter Tires and All-Wheel Drive

It’s a common misconception that 4WD and AWD drivetrains negate the need for winter tires. In reality, these tools actually have very different functions.

AWD certainly improves traction and is a boon to have on rough terrain or during inclement weather. However, this traction kicks in when the vehicle is accelerating, and doesn’t prevent skidding on icy surfaces when stopping or cornering like winter tires do.

That’s why we recommend installing winter tires on all vehicles, regardless of drivetrain.

Install Your Winter Tires

If you’re heading into the colder seasons, or planning ahead for next year, contact us at Andy Mohr Collision Center for help choosing the right set of winter tires for your car.

Drivers in the Indianapolis or Bloomington areas can swing by one of our body shops to have them quickly and easily installed so that you stay safe during your winter commutes around Plainfield and Fishers.

Use our online portal to schedule your appointment today.