How to identify all season tires

How to tell if you have summer or winter tires? - Blog

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If you have recently bought a vehicle, or you have been driving your car or truck for a while but haven’t thought to check out what kind of tires you have, you may be wondering how to figure out what your vehicle is fitted with.

There are many different kinds of tires, and each has been designed for a different driving purpose, and for differing conditions. One main differentiating factor in tire type is what weather conditions it has been designed for – winter, summer, or all seasons.

If you are unsure what kind of tires are on your vehicle, then read on, as we have some quick and easy ways to help you identify them different types of tires, which is especially important if you are planning on buying new ones.

Fairly easy to identify, winter tires always have a pictogram with a snowflake and mountains on their sidewall. This symbol - called 3PMSF for Three Peak Mountain Snowflake - means that the tire meets international standards for use in harsh winter conditions, making it a safe and reliable tire for anyone who drives in snowy, slippery, and extremely cold conditions. The tread depth of a winter tire is always at least 4 mm, to ensure a longer life in severe winter conditions.

If you are curious about the optimum outdoor temperature range for winter tires, generally, this value is related directly to the rubber compounds used in their manufacturing. If they bear the three-peaked mountain and snowflake logo, it means these winter tires have been tested in winter conditions under 40 degrees Fahrenheit. While this might seem extreme, temperatures this cold do occur in parts of Canada from time to time. Regular winter tires marked with the M+S logo should be installed when the weather dips under 7 °C, or sooner if snow and ice start falling in your region.

If you are wondering if you have summer tires installed on your vehicle, there are a few features you can used to identify them. Summer tires are not quite as common as say, all-season tires, and tend to be found installed on high performance vehicles such as sports cars, or cars used solely during the summer months, such as vintage cars. Other features of summer tires include:

  • Manufactured using a special compound that is meant to grip the roads more aggressively in hot temperatures, and on hot asphalt
  • Feature a faster wearing tread due to the more pliable compound
  • Designed with less tread depth, and wide tread blocks vs all season tires which feature a more moderate tread depth and more defined tread blocks

As you have read, summer tires are best suited for warm weather driving, but you may have questions about what the ideal summer tires temperature range might be. The suggested temperature range for summer tires is when the weather hits above 45 °F or 7 degrees Celsius. In most parts of Canada, this means that summer tires are best installed near the end of the spring season, or at the beginning of summer – and are taken off and replaced with your all-season tires at the beginning of fall, still depending, of course, on where you live.

One of the most popular types of tires is the all-season tire. If you are wondering if those are the ones equipped on your vehicle, then here are a few features to look for:

  • Moderate tread depth and more defined tread blocks (vs summer tires)
  • Moderate grooves and siping (the small, deep lines in your tires, that improve traction)
  • Longer tread life averaging around 60,000 km
  • Best suited for CUVs, SUVs and passenger cars
  • Available in a wide range of prices and sizes

Because they are called all season, these types of tires can be used all year round, as long as you are driving in average conditions. However, if you want to know the temperature range for all-season tires, you should install them when the temperature is between 30 °F and around the freezing mark in Canada of 0 degrees Celsius. These tires will perform well during the winter months, but if you live in a region where you get a lot of snow and ice, or you travel on less well-kept roadways, then you may want to think of putting winter tires on your vehicle when the snowy season begins.

Of course, if you have any questions about what kind of tires to install on your vehicle, or need additional help determining what kind of tires you currently have on your car or truck, it’s best to reach out to a team of tire experts, like the people at Our team is available to answer all your questions on tires, and we can also help find the perfect set of new tires at the best prices in Canada. Just reach out to us by email, phone or use our online chat, and we will be happy to help you out.

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What your tire's markings tell you – Chicago Tribune

Tires carry a wealth of information on their sidewalls; unfortunately, it's all in code. Most of it is of no concern to many owners, but it can be valuable for those who want to know the seasons for which their tires are intended, those who plan to replace their tires, or new-car buyers who are given a choice of sizes and types.

Apart from the name of the manufacturer and the tire model -- such as Bridgestone Turanza EL 400 -- the following marking, from a Honda Civic, is likely the most prominent.

P simply means this is a passenger-car tire. Other codes include T (temporary, as in a spare tire), LT (light truck) and C (commercial). Not all tires include this letter.

205 (the first number) is the tire's width in millimeters.

55 (the number following the slash) is a measure of the tire's profile -- the height of its sidewall relative to its width -- expressed as the sidewall's aspect ratio in a percentage. In this example, the sidewall height is 55 percent of the tire's width, which is 205 mm. The number is known as the tire's series; a sporty tire with shorter sidewalls would be considered a lower-series tire. Off-road tires tend to be higher-series, designed to absorb the impact from rough surfaces.

R means it is a radial tire, which describes the way the underlying layers, or plies, are laid out. The radial design is now so pervasive that the R designation is superfluous -- though it conveniently separates the series and diameter numbers. On some performance tires, an additional letter precedes the R: A ZR designation means the tire's maximum speed rating is above 149 mph (see the key below). This is another unnecessary character; all tires provide a letter designation in the service description, explained below. It follows the size code, sometimes in smaller type.

Speed Ratings Letter / Max. MP













*Z is an open-ended rating that means the tire's maximum speed is, at minimum, 150 mph.

16 (the last number) is the diameter, in inches, of the rim on which the tire fits.

89H is the service description. Separated from the main code, it represents the tire's load and speed ratings. This tire's 89 load index represents 1,279 pounds (per tire), and the speed rating of H represents 130 mph. The speed rating is less important in the U.S., where the speed limits are below even the lowest listed rating (N, or 87 mph). In other countries -- and our own, when no one's looking -- people are known to drive 100 mph and above.

M+S stands for mud and snow, indicating that this is an all-season tire. It's not the clearest of the specs, because there aren't other designations for summer and winter tires: Summer tires simply lack the M+S, and winter tires are labeled M+S and add an icon of a mountain plastered with a giant snowflake. (S, AS and W would be better, but what can you do?) Uniform Tire Quality Grade The following three codes, which appear on the sidewall, typically closer to the tire's tread, are part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's uniform tire-quality grading system. Unfortunately, it's not all that uniform: It appears on all-season and summer tires, but not on snow tires, light-truck tires or spares. Further, the rating comes from the manufacturers, whose results might be consistent from one of their products to the next, but whose universality is questionable.


Treadwear: Uses numbers from 100 to about 700. Theoretically, a tire rated 150 would have a 50 percent longer lifespan than a tire rated 100 if used in the same conditions -- driver, vehicle and roads. Soft summer tires tend to have lower treadwear ratings than all-season tires. Winter tires aren't rated, but their soft compounds make for quick wear when driven off snow and ice.

The uniform tire quality grade is located on the sidewall near the tread. Traction: Uses AA, A, B and C, with AA being the best traction on a wet road. The traction measured is straight-line acceleration and braking. This is not a measure of cornering grip or performance on dry surfaces.

Temperature: Uses letter grades A, B and C, with A representing the best resistance to heat buildup and C the least. The friction of a tire on pavement generates heat, and too much heat degrades high-speed performance and can accelerate aging and failure. C is the lowest permissible rating. Temperature ratings correlate to speed, with C representing 85-100 mph, B representing 100-115 mph, and A covering speeds above 115 mph.

Notes: Arguably, the temperature rating -- like the "Z" speed rating -- is redundant, because it's tied to a speed rating that's presented with greater specificity in the service description. However, it's wise not to buy replacement tires with a rating lower than the originals', and it's a lot easier to match one of three temp ratings than it would be the 11 different speed ratings in the service description.

It's impossible to translate treadwear ratings to miles because where and how people drive plays a critical role. That said, if you think your tires wear out too quickly, consider a higher rating. The same goes for traction, but understand that changes in one characteristic typically change others, be it treadwear, noise, ride quality or price.
Tire Age/Date of Manufacture
Unlike the other, more-prominent specs, the Department of Transportation's Tire Identification Number is of interest to tire owners and buyers alike -- mainly because it includes the week and year of the tire's manufacture, and thus its age. Tire age, not just wear, has become a safety concern.

Found close to the rim, the TIN consists of a series of 10-12 letters and numbers that -- like a vehicle identification number -- are of little use to a consumer. But the last four numbers represent the birth week and year of any tire built since 2000.

DOT h35R YC24 4305

The tire above was manufactured in the 43rd week of 2005. Tires built before 2000 used a three-digit code, where the year was reduced to a single digit. If the tire above were from 1997 rather than 2005, its code would be 437. Would 437 also be the code for a tire made in the 43rd week of 1987? Unfortunately, yes, it would -- and that's why four digits are now used.

Recently, the effect of tire age on safety has become a concern. Unfortunately, climates and how well a tire is cared for affect its aging, so there are no universal rules. Most tires wear out before age becomes an issue, but some automakers -- mainly German ones -- recommend replacement after six years in service, regardless of wear. Most automakers agree that 10 years is the maximum safe lifespan for any tire, including a spare that has never been used. When buying new tires, it's wise to check their birth date. Treat them like milk: Your family might finish a gallon before its expiration date, but then again, it might not. Why take the chance? For the same money, you should get the freshest milk -- or tires -- you can find. You might wear the tires out long before they're due for retirement, but why buy a set whose clock is already ticking?

What's Not on the Sidewall: The Proper Inflation Pressure

If you look closely enough, you'll probably find a maximum-pressure figure on a tire's sidewall. Don't do it. This is not the recommended pressure for you to use; it's the maximum rating for the tire, irrespective of the vehicle on which it's used. Invariably, it's dramatically higher than the pressure you should be using.

New cars present the proper inflation pressures on the driver's doorjamb, as required by law. For more information, see Tire Maintenance.

(C) 2013,; distributed by Tribune Media Services

decoding, how to identify and distinguish

Rubber provides grip on the road and transfers engine power to the asphalt. It is important to choose the right kit for your car so that the operation of the car is as efficient as possible. Each set has such a parameter as tire seasonality. Next, information will be provided on all-season tires, the features of their marking and the properties of this rubber.

In order to identify all-season tires by marking, such tires have an additional designation in the form of the letters M + S. The abbreviation Mud+Snow means that the kit provides reliable traction in difficult weather conditions. In addition, all-season tires are indicated by the symbols 4S, AS or AW (4 Season, All Season or All Weather).

However, it should be understood that, in fact, all-season tires lose to winter tires at low temperatures and lag behind summer tires at serious air temperatures. In fact, these tires are considered rather off-season.


  • 1 What is an all season tyre?
  • 2 Parameters and characteristics of rubber
  • 3 Pros and cons of operation
  • 4 Information about the manufacturer
  • 5 Tire size
  • 6 Speed ​​index
  • 7 Load index
  • 8 Marking
  • 9 Date of manufacture
  • 10 Selection for SUV or crossover

What is an all season tire?

Various sets of seasonal tires are offered for the car, which differ in their characteristics and composition. Tires for the winter are made of soft grades of rubber, which will allow the tire not to tan. In addition, such products have a developed tread pattern and a high profile, which allows you to cling to snow porridge and effectively drain water.

The difference between summer tires in hard rubber. This tire perfectly tolerates high loads and does not melt while driving, confidently clinging to the surface. The profile height is small, and the contact patch with the road is the most extensive. However, in low-temperature conditions, it hardens and does not provide proper grip, which results in a long braking distance.

Parameters and characteristics of rubber

Each set has a concept of tire seasonality. Despite the fact that tires of a certain composition are labeled as all-season tires, such a set is demi-season tires. These all-season tires have a softer rubber compound. In summer, the all-season will overheat and “float”, which will lead to premature wear.

In case of extremely low temperatures, tires will lose to their winter counterparts. Such kits work most effectively at near-zero levels, providing proper grip on cold asphalt, slush or rain. In such conditions, rubber can be used, but it is not worth riding it all year round; it is worth putting profile shoes for the winter or summer season.

Pros and cons of operation

Each set has its pros and cons. All season tires are no exception.


  • save money by purchasing only one set of wheels;
  • feel good at zero temperatures, on wet or snowy asphalt.


  • significantly lose to profile tires subject to seasonality. At high temperatures, the tire “floats”, and when the thermometer table drops, it becomes dull. In winter, the car must be on winter tires, and in summer - on summer tires.

Information about the manufacturer

It is mandatory to have regulated inscriptions on the side surface of the tire. The logo and the name of the rubber manufacturers, as well as the name of the brand, are printed in large letters. Some car manufacturers may recommend certain brands as the most suitable for the model. This is what Chevrolet or VAZ do.

Tire size

The tire size is also marked on the sidewall of the tire. There is a European type of marking. For example, readings 205 * 35 * R17 make it clear that the width of the tire is 205 mm, the profile height is 45, and the inner diameter is 17 inches. The letter r means that we have a shoe with a radial cord weave.

The American method is similar to the European one, only there are additional letters in front of the numbers, which indicate the "orientation" of the rubber (P - Passanger, LT - Light Track). There is another way in which the standard size is indicated, where the values ​​\u200b\u200bare given in inches. For example, if there is a number 29 * 11 * R18 on the side, its decoding will mean the following:

  • 29 - outer diameter in inches;
  • 11 - tire width;
  • 18 - inner diameter.

Speed ​​index

Another mandatory parameter is the speed index. This is a letter designation that indicates that the car can move at a given speed for several hours. The closer the letter is to the end of the Latin alphabet, the higher this indicator. Now the most common are kits with indices S, T, U, H V or W, allowing you to reach speeds of 180-190-200-210-240 or 260 km / h, respectively.

Load index

Together with the speed category, tire manufacturers put down two more numbers - the maximum load index. This parameter means that the tire is capable of driving under the specified weight on one wheel, subject to maximum pressure. The indicator is indicated in kilopascals closer to the inner radius.

The higher the value, the greater the load that the wheel can carry. The minimum value in the industry is 1 - 46.2 kg per wheel, and the maximum figure is 279 - 13.6 tons per cylinder.


Sometimes the marking of all-season tires can be supplemented with various badges. Among the additional designations you can find the inscription "Retread". The fact is that some sets are subject to repair and the mixture is re-fused on them and the tread is cut. Remanufactured products bear this designation. Riding on such rubber does not threaten anything, however, the tire bought by the driver will wear out a little earlier. Fortunately, the price is cheaper.

Some car tires and rims do not fit together, with fundamental differences in design. So, if you are going to change the tires of a car with your own hands, it is worth remembering that chamber kits must be installed on the corresponding wheels with the designations LK, GK or RK. The symbols LB, GB or RB indicate a combination with tubeless type kits (TubeLess).

Tire installation regulations govern the presence of colored markings. If there is a yellow triangle icon on the sidewall, then this is the lightest part of the rubber. All that needs to be done is to align it with the label on the disk. The red dot indicates the hardest point and should also be aligned with the L mark on light alloy wheels.

Date of manufacture

Be sure to mark the tire with four digits indicating the date of manufacture of the kit. In the first two, the ordinal number of the week is encrypted, and the last - an indicator of the year in which the wheels were made. The number 2517 indicates that the rubber was produced in the 25th week of 2017.

Selection for an SUV or crossover

We told you how to distinguish winter tires from summer tires - by the snowflake icon. However, for choosing shoes for a non-trivial car, this knowledge may not be enough. When purchasing wheels for a crossover, you should imagine where the car will spend most of the time. If in the city, then standard tires with the designation AW (All Weather or Aqua - improved drainage and increased resistance to aquaplaning) are a good fit.

If the car goes beyond the definition of an SUV and you plan to go out into nature, then it is better to give preference to sets with a developed tire tread, improved lugs and increased cross-country ability. Such kits are designated by the letters AT - All Terrain.

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How to identify all-season tires from summer - Articles

Articles How to identify all-season tires from summer

Every normal driver changes tires at least once every few years. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to buy new tires. In addition, you need to buy two types of tires at the same time: winter and summer. In order to save money, many motorists take a horse step and purchase all-season tires. But, unfortunately, no car dealership will say that this kind of tire is not the best option for safe driving. Therefore, it is worth understanding what are the advantages and disadvantages of all-weather tires , unlike summer tires.

Don't miss the fact that all season tires are designed for both winter and summer driving. Well, at least that's what the managers of major car dealerships and auto parts stores would say. An examination and a specially created experiment showed that all-weather tires cannot be an ideal option for both summer and winter driving. Therefore, professionals convince that it is better not to use this kind of tires at all.

Now it's worth figuring out what is the difference between summer and all-season tires . First of all, it is necessary to note the operating time. Flight tires can only be used at temperatures above five degrees Celsius. The all-season tire differs in this regard in its versatility. Such rubber, according to manufacturers, can fully replace both winter and summer tires, which can be used all year round. Summer tires, unlike all-season tires, have a fairly hard surface and are light in weight. Thanks to these qualities, they can provide safe movement in the summer season. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that summer tire manufacturers are trying to create a tire that would be able to handle even in the case of wet roads. All-season tires have softer rubber and are significantly heavier. During the experiment, it turned out that tires of this kind are not able to provide absolute safety, both in summer and in winter, due to their characteristics.

  • Safety of the on wet roads, due to the effective removal of water from the contact patch of the tire tread with the road surface.
  • Reliability . Reliability at high driving speeds, shock mitigation, protection against damage, adaptation to any road surface.
  • Driveability . A good tire should be stable in handling.

Want to have reliable summer tires ? Don't know which tires to choose? One important tip. Buy tires from well-known manufacturers, here you definitely will not lose. For example, summer tires Viatti v 130 are ideal summer tires for your car. Viatti v 130 is perfect for traveling in urban areas and when driving on high-speed roads and highways with high-quality coverage. Viatti v 130 are characterized by: comfort on the road, durability and reliability .

In addition, summer tires have a quiet tread pattern that differs from winter counterparts. All-season tire has a pattern that is not ideal for either winter or summer. Despite all this, it is possible to highlight the shortcomings of summer tires, which distinguish it from all-season counterparts. It is simply impossible and even unrealistic to use it in winter, especially when the streets are covered with ice. All-season tires will also not be able to completely protect, yet this option is more acceptable in winter. And if you know that you will not be able to buy two sets of tires, but you are going to use your car for its intended purpose all year round, then it is better to buy one set of all-season tires. Although this option is not perfect, it still has a number of advantages.

The variant of the all season tires can serve as a normal vehicle part for people who cannot afford to buy two sets of tires at once.

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