All-season tyres: does your van need them?

Running and maintaining a work vehicle is costly enough as it is, but are all-season tyres an expense worth considering?


No business owner wants to spend money on their van if they don’t need to. Running and maintaining a work vehicle is costly enough as it is, without looking for more things to buy. But are all-season tyres an expense worth considering?

Buy a new van and you’ll almost certainly find it shod with summer tyres. They are the default choice of rubber for new vans in the UK where the weather is rarely tropically hot nor Arctic cold. Made of a softer compound, they offer very good grip when it’s warm and give excellent handling and braking.

But, depending on your line of business, an all-season tyre might be a good option for you. Do you regularly work on fields and farmland? Travel to remote parts of the countryside on narrow, wind-swept lanes? Do long distance deliveries up and down the country in all weathers?

One good cold snap and suddenly the tyres on your van aren’t up to the job. That could mean late delivery of your goods or services, or even a complete cancellation, potentially costing you serious money in lost earnings.

In many countries across mainland Europe, it is a legal requirement to fit winter tyres when the coldest part of the year arrives. And even though we don’t have to do that in Britain – mainly because we don’t have those great extremes of weather – it is still a serious consideration, especially if you do a lot of miles all year round and need to be able to get up and down the country safely.

You can buy winter tyres for your van: specialist items made using a high silica compound and formed with a tread pattern specifically designed so the tyre remains flexible and allows better braking, traction and performance in snow, ice and rain.

The sidewall of a winter tyre is always marked with a symbol showing a snowflake or snow-topped mountain so you know that your van is fitted with them. But winter tyres are not suited to all-year-round use, as they wear out quickly when it’s hotter and drier.

So is it worth investigating and buying all-season tyres for your van? It’s an important question, because as soon as the air temperature drops below seven degrees Celsius, tyre performance deteriorates significantly. When the cold grips your tyres it can affect the vehicle’s steering, braking and power delivery, irrespective of tread pattern or depth.

All-season tyres

All-season tyres were long seen as a compromise, because they were neither as good as a summer tyre nor a specialist winter one. However, development of tyre technology has progressed significantly.

They can offer a great compromise for drivers, especially if you live and work where you’re more likely to get extreme weather conditions and need to remain mobile all year round.

They give peace of mind and better handling when it’s really cold and provide excellent grip and sure-footed traction in the wet. But they don’t wear out quickly when the weather changes for the better, as winter tyres would.

The Pirelli Carrier All Season, Goodyear’s Vector 4 Seasons, Continental’s Vancontact 4 Season and Michelin’s Agilis CrossClimate are examples of all-season tyres for vans. They perform well in summer months as well as winter, without wearing out. And they are not as soft as pure winter tyres so still offer a responsive and safe drive during the warmer months.

As well as having a compound that suits both warm and cold weather, all-seasons are designed with small grooves, known as sipes. These are built into the tyre’s larger tread pattern, and offer extra grip and better braking efficiency in the snow or ice. And clever V-shaped drainage grooves give greater protection against aquaplaning on wet roads.

As a result all-season tyres have become an attractive proposition for van owners looking for safe, winter performance coupled with comfortable rest-of-year driving, and offer a cost-effective way to achieve that.

Tom Johnston
Tom Johnstonhttp://johnstonmedia.com/
Tom Johnston was the first-ever reporter on national motoring magazine Auto Express. He went on to become that magazine’s News Editor and Assistant Editor, and has also been Motoring Correspondent for the Daily Star and contributor to the Daily and Sunday Express. Today, as a freelance writer, content creator and copy editor, Tom works with exciting and interesting websites and magazines on varied projects.

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