AutosThe Swedish VTI Institute discourages the usage of all-season tires. Debunk this misconception by reading until the end

The Swedish VTI Institute discourages the usage of all‑season tires. Debunk this misconception by reading until the end

All-season tire
All-season tire
Images source: © Autokult

8:10 PM EDT, October 27, 2023

Online, you can find the results of the all-season tire tests carried out by the Swedish Road Institute, VTI. They evaluated 14 different all-season tires and arrived at the end that they should not be used due to the significant disparity in their performance when compared to winter tires in winter and summer tires in summer. This may seem disconcerting if you only read the headline.

It's not about us claiming to be superior experts. Actually, the test was carried out in Norway, at the Nokian company's research center, in conditions emulating those in Sweden. Moreover, the conclusion that these tires are unfit for safe driving specifically refers to conditions in Sweden.

Even without being an expert in geography, it's obvious that Sweden's climate significantly differs from that of Poland and other countries in the Old Continent, where all-season tires are making record-breaking sales.

The Swedes discovered that all-season tires considerably lag behind winter tires on snowy terrain and the gap further widens on ice. Broadly speaking, they surmise that it is implausible to manufacture all-season tires that can match the performance of specialized seasonal tires.

"It is unfeasible to construct tires that can effectively perform in all conditions and temperatures. To date, no manufacturer has successfully produced a tire that adequately functions in Swedish conditions. Instead, all-season tires seem to be a compromise that doesn't truly excel in any weather condition on our roads," summarized Linus Pröjtz, the head of tire tests at Teknikens Värld.

This conclusion specifically pertains to Sweden. Hence, do not be misled by article titles that insinuate that all-season tires are hazardous. While it's true that no one recommends all-season tires for extremely harsh winter conditions, these conditions are becoming less common, for instance, in Poland, and the roads there are regularly cleared of snow.

"In Sweden, VTI advises against driving with all-season tires," asserted Mattias Hjort, head of research at VTI. "Drivers should use winter tires in winter and summer tires in the summer. From the assessment, it appears the grip on ice offered by these tires is generally too weak to be a safe alternative for Swedish roads in winter, and consequently, some of these tires pose a traffic threat in Sweden."

All-season tires perform excellently in most regions of Poland, where the roads are often just wet or even dry during the day, even with moderate snowfall at night. Meanwhile, a normal winter is already underway in Sweden, and according to forecasts, snowfall is expected in 70 percent of the country over the next week. The temperatures will also be much lower than in Poland. Therefore, it only stands to reason that Swedes prefer winter tires over all-season ones.

What was the objective of the VTI Institute with this study? It is speculative that the Swedes perhaps aimed at alerting other parts of Europe about the risks and compromises associated with all-season tires in their country's challenging road conditions - even though these tires perform well in other countries.

According to the results of the VTI test, the average braking distance on snow for approved, all-season tires was 10-30 percent longer than that of a reference winter tire. One of the all-season tires, which was not winter-approved, had a braking distance that was 40 percent longer.

The differences on ice were even more apparent, with all-season tires trailing by 25-50 percent. The worst all-season tire performed similarly to a summer tire. It was confirmed that during the summer, the braking distance on all-season tires is longer than on summer tires by 5-30 percent, on both dry and wet asphalt.

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