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All-season tires. Do they make sense?

The tire market is developing at a slightly slower pace than the automobile market and scrap cars for cash. True, the changes in the tread and rubber compound may not be as noticeable as the changed appearance of the new generation car, but that does not mean that there is a lull in the tire industry.

How important the tires are, is evidenced by the fact repeatedly cited – the contact area of ​​one of the tires with the road surface corresponds to the surface of a postcard. This should be sufficient for the vehicle to accelerate, brake and turn correctly, no matter what road surface it is driving on.

GE AltiMAX RT43

In a temperate climate, in which a huge part of Russians live, during the year we can deal with both heat, during which the asphalt heats up to tens of degrees Celsius, and with frosts reaching -35 degrees. Added to this are atmospheric phenomena – in summer there can be heavy rains, and in winter we can meet snow, ice and slush on the road.

Until recently, it seemed impossible to create tires that would work well under these varying atmospheric conditions, while being quiet and energy efficient. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of our compatriots decide to purchase two sets of tires – summer and winter. They differed in both the tread and the compound from which they were made. Thanks to this, the rubber of winter tires retained its elasticity at low temperatures, and thanks to the sipe systems, the tires wick away water and cope in deep snow. On the other hand, such a mixture wore out quickly at high temperatures, moreover, in such conditions, winter tires lost their properties, and the car could easily go into a skid.

On the other hand, the summer tire mixture hardened instantly at low temperatures, and the tread was completely unable to cope with the snow. Experts note that even at temperatures below +7 degrees, a summer tire stops working normally. Except that in our climate we are often faced with large daily temperature ranges. In spring or autumn, there may be frosts in the morning, and in the afternoon the asphalt can be 20Co and higher. And so bad and so bad.

The solution to all these problems (including the nuisance associated with the need to visit a tire shop twice a year) is all-season (year-round) tires. Are they good enough to replace classic summer and winter tires?

At first, maybe not very confident, but in recent years, the popularity of this type of tire is still growing. Nokian Seasonproof is an example of a new generation all-season tire that appeared in the fall of 2020.

These tires are marked with the snowflake symbol (3PMSF), indicating their official winter approval and are available in sizes from 14 to 19 inches with speed ratings T (190 km / h), H (210 km / h), V (240 km / h ) and W (270 km / h), which means for all classes of cars. In addition, a special version of tires with reinforced sidewalls is provided for SUVs.

The tires use the concept of the so-called Season Sense, thanks to which driving must be safe for 12 months a year. This concept combines various special sipes, tread pattern and rubber compound. The tires have many more sipes than typical summer tires and a directional tread pattern typical of these tires. In addition, drainage channels are responsible for traction on wet surfaces and slush. In turn, a special new rubber compound with a high silica content provides strength, wet grip and low rolling resistance.

The so-called “snow grips” located between the tread blocks are responsible for grip on snow. They are supported by a localized template block called “Snow Grip Booster”.

In addition, the manufacturer guarantees that the new tires are 1/4 more durable than the previous model, which allows them to better withstand heavy use.

Something about tires can also be said from the mandatory labels. Nokian Seasonproof tires are quite quiet in comparison with other tires, provide good grip on wet surfaces (class “B”, where A is the highest class). Considering that we are dealing with an all-season tire, the rolling resistance is also quite good (class C, on the A-E scale). Here physics is unforgiving – by increasing the level of grip on wet and snowy surfaces, we simultaneously increase rolling resistance.

You can be sure that in operation they do not differ from typical summer tires. Especially noteworthy is the surprisingly low noise level and good wet handling, and these are observations from normal daily driving, and not extreme tests on the track.

However, will the tires perform as well in the winter as the manufacturer promises? It is quite possible, but given the frequent snowfalls that fall even on the southern Russian regions, it is practically impossible to drive on public roads without winter, and often studded tires.

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