- Helping you drive happy

Are All-Weather Tires a Good Choice?

| Photo: Goodyear
Get the best financial rate for your car loan at Automobile En Direct
Khatir Soltani
An explanation and three models to help with your purchase decision

In all regions of Canada, motorists are required by law to equip their vehicles with tires especially designed for winter. Even though traditional winter tires are the most popular option in most provinces, all-weather tires are also legal. Identified with the mountain and snowflake icon, all-weather tires are built to be driven year-long, even during winter.

In order to bear this icon, they have to meet a variety of safety standards set by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. All-weather tires are not ideal for all Canadian drivers, but they can be a great choice for people living in areas with milder winters.

Are these tires reliable and safe, and do they represent a good investment? Let’s see…

What exactly is an all-weather tire?
Although they've grown in popularity over the past few years, all-weather tires are not ideal for everyone. Even if they're identified with the mountain and snowflake icon certifying that they’ve passed all the necessary safety tests, the fact remains that they are not specifically made for winter.

All-weather tires are stiffer than winter tires, which reduces their grip on ice. As for their tread pattern, it is less aggressive, which provides less traction in snow. In fact, tire experts say that most all-weather tires offer barely 10% more traction than conventional summer tires. And because their tread compound is not specifically designed for hot weather, it wears out a lot faster during summer.

Simply put, all-weather tires provide decent performance year-long, but definitely fall short in certain winter conditions.

Why choose all-weather tires?
Generally speaking, people choose all-weather tires to avoid installing and uninstalling their tires every season. Some consider winter tires unnecessary because they live in an area that rarely gets snow. Others just don't want to invest in winter tires. But in fact, wherever you live, there are three important things to consider when choosing tires for winter: your mileage, your driving habits and the winter conditions in your region.

Who are all-weather tires meant for?
All-weather tires are clearly not a great fit for everyone! If you only use your vehicle occasionally or if you can stay home whenever the winter conditions are too dangerous, all-weather tires could be a good option for you. Moreover, if you live in an urban area that does not receive much snow and you don't have a lot of driving to do, you might want to go for all-weather tires. In doing so, you won't have to invest in winter tires and you'll save on tire change twice a year! On the other hand, your single set of tires will wear out faster!

A few of the best all-weather tires on the market


Toyo Celcius - Passenger Cars

  • - Good traction on ice
  • - Good traction in light snow
  • - Good resistance to hydroplaning

Usage: Urban driving

Price: $124.64 (per tire for a 2015 Toyota Corolla - 195/65R15)

The Toyo Celsius bears the mountain and snowflake icon and meets the safety standards set by the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. This all-weather tire can manage light snow, offers great handling and decent performance year-round. However, if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow, you should not go for the Toyo Celsius.


Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac - Pickup Trucks and SUVs

  • - Very good traction in snow
  • - Great road handling
  • - Good value for money

Usage: Highway, urban and rural driving

Price: $219.56 (per tire for a 2015 Jeep Wrangler - 255/75R17)

If you drive an SUV, a crossover or a pickup truck and like going off-road from time to time, you'll probably enjoy the performance of the Wrangler DuraTrac. This all-weather tire is specifically designed to provide good traction, whether it's in mud, snow or on dry pavement.


Nitto Exo Grappler - Pickup Trucks and SUVs

  • - Good traction on ice
  • - Very good traction in snow
  • - Good water and slush evacuation

Usage: Highway, urban and rural driving

Price: $341.50 (per tire for a 2015 Ford F-250 - 245/75R17)

The Nitto Exo Grappler is especially designed for pickup truck, SUV and crossover owners. This all-weather tire offers great performance year-round and provides good traction on both ice and snow. You'll drive with confidence with the Exo Grappler.

Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada