Posts Tagged ‘all season tires’

Review: Michelin Premier A/S All Season

I’m considered a minority when it comes to tires. I use winter tires in the winter, and performance summer tires in the summer. While people like myself make up of a very small percentage of drivers, most of our readers will agree that my summer tire choice is overkill for the average driver, and can be much better served by using all-season tires. Granted, performance summer tires will give you an edge at high lateral loads in dry weather, but realistically, those kind of tire performances are really not possible (or legal) in everyday driving.

With that being said, the number of people that rely on all-season tires are staggering. In the US, most passenger cars are fitted from the factory with all-seasons, and 97.5% of replacement tires are all seasons. While the numbers in Canada are lower due to drivers choosing to use winter tires in the winter (not to mention mandating winter tires in some provinces), the fact remains that all-season tires are the de facto standard in North America.

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Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Review

Every year, around October, the majority of Northern car enthusiasts are met with a dilemma. As the temperatures drop they’re forced to choose between leaving their summer tires on until it snows, leaving them stranded if caught off guard, or putting their winter tires on in advance, sacrificing performance and causing early wear. It’s a difficult decision, and one with no right answer, so Michelin is trying to help you avoid the issue altogether with their new Pilot Sport A/S 3 all-season tires.

Read: Full Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 Review and Comparison

Michelin Unveils new Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3

Calgary is a city that requires winter tires–like the Michelin X-Ice Xi3 we reviewed last year–there’s just no argument to be had for running one set of tires all year. This is exponentially more true if you’ve got a high performance car that can make use of extra grippy summer tires. The problem with climates like ours is that the weather can get cold long before it snows, this means that, despite dry roads, those summer tires are still hockey pucks.

You’ve got the choice to keep rolling on summers, albeit with limited grip, or put excess wear on your winters. The former seems to be the most popular option gauging by how many people get caught out by the first snowfall and can’t manage leaving their driveway, let alone a commute. But winter tires can be a significant investment, do you really want to have to replace them earlier than you have to? I think not, especially if you’re not even having fun with them.

Continue Reading: Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3

Are You Rolling On Death Traps?

The average reader spends a lot more time on the maintenance of their vehicles than most people. Reading the forums you’ll see people asking for advice on new tires, and checking and comparing to see what brand offers the best bang for the buck. What is worrysome is that while these car enthusiasts try their best to ensure their tires are replaced when the tread depth gets too low and that they are properly inflated, there is still one danger they are overlooking.

A recent study and investigation in the US has found that many tire retailers–mostly automotive branches of stores like Walmart and Sears–were selling old tires. These tires that were being sold to the public were up to 12 years old, giving the buyer a false sense of security. Due to years of drying out, the tread on these tires will not take much driving to eventually separate from the rest of the tire causing a blow out and likely an accident. In the video below, you’ll see that even someone that is expecting a blow out cannot safely control the vehicle.

The good news is that there is a way to find out when a tire was manufactured. On the sidewall of the tire is a Department of Transportation number. On some tires this number is only printed on the inside wall of the tire making it hard to locate if it is already mounted on your vehicle. At the end of the cryptic sequence of numbers is a 3 or 4 digit number. The first two numbers is the week # and the last 2 digits are the year. If you have a tire with a 3 digit number, you have a tire made in the 90s!


2108 – 21st week of 2008
3702 – 37th week of 2002
459 – 45th week of 1999

If you have a set of tires that are more than 6 years old, it is strongly recommended that you replace them as they are past their designed lifespan. The rubber has lost its flexibility and even if there is plenty of tread, the tire will not perform as it supposed to. Worse case scenario, with extended driving distances the tire may even blow out causing a crash.

Winter Tires

When I sold tires 30 years ago you had two choices, summer and winter tread tires. On the day of the first snowfall there would be a lineup waiting for me to start work and all I did was change tires that day. The tire shops tell me that this still takes place, but on a more limited scale due to the all season tire.

The more I learn about the all season tire, the more I am convinced it should really be called the compromise tire. Not only does it not work as well as a winter tire in winter, it doesn’t work as well as a summer tire in summer. If you are interested in top tire performance at all times you must still own two sets of tires and change them with the seasons.

Tire markings contribute to winter tire confusion as well. All season tires may be marked M+S or Mud & Snow to indicate that they can be used on ice and snow. A true winter tire is marked with a mountain and snowflake symbol and offers superior traction in winter conditions.

Don’t rest easy just because your vehicle is equipped with traction control. Traction control is all about friction. The more of it between the tire and the pavement the better the system will work. The only way to maximize friction in winter conditions is by installing a true winter tire rather than an all season tire.

For maximum traction in icy conditions, a set of 4 studded winter tires is the standard. If you install studs on the front of a front wheel drive vehicle you must also install studded tires on the rear. Oh, and remember, studded tires may only be used between October 1 and April 30 on BC highways.

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