Are All-Terrain Tires Good in Snow?

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There are many types of tires to fit your vehicle, but some may not serve you as well as others in challenging conditions such as snow.

When there is thick snow on the road, and the roads are icy as well, you will be needing the highest traction that only the best tires can provide. Also, your tires need to be able to survive the cold weather.

If you are an avid off-roader, then you might want to get the all-terrain tires rather than changing tires for each season. The question is, are all-terrain tires good in snow? Read on to find out!

The All-Terrain Tires vs. All-Season Tires

All-Terrain vs. All-Season Tires in Snow

Let us take a look at the all-terrain tires and all-season tires to get an idea of how well all-terrain tires work in the snow.

All-Terrain Tires

These tires are made sturdy to withstand harsh conditions. They are made suitable for use in all types of surfaces, even in snow.

The tires are given a tread profile, which allows them to have adequate traction in wet or slippery surfaces. They allow good handling of the vehicle both in on and off-road conditions.

The sidewalls of these tires are made stronger to provide additional traction and owing to their sturdiness and good handling, their load capacity is also more.

And the all-terrain tires have high rolling friction when compared to other tires. This lowers the breaking time of the vehicle, significantly allowing good control.

Adequate traction, good grip, good handling, good mileage, ability to survive low temperatures, all of these properties are essential if you are driving through snow.

The all-terrain tires fulfill these conditions adequately, which makes them a good choice for use in snow.

The All-Season Tires

The all-season tires can be used, as the name suggests, in all-seasons, but you have to be cautious with them during winter. They have a tread pattern that provides good traction in rainy days and even in snowy roads but not adequate to tackle thick snow or icy roads.

Their rolling friction is less than that of all-terrain tires, thus have more speed and breaking time. They offer good handling in on-road conditions but clearly beaten in this regard by the all-terrain tires in the snow.

Moreover, they are made of rubber compounds such that in temperature under 40 degrees Fahrenheit, they become stiff and don’t serve the purpose.

Though they provide greater mileage compared to the all-terrain tires, they are not suitable for off-road use.

According to the temperature they work well in, they might be somewhat good in mild winter where you don’t have to deal with extreme temperatures, but in moderate to severe winter, it is best to change to all-terrain tires or other winter tires.

Are All-Terrain Tires Good in Snow?

Now that you have a general idea about the qualities and how well the two tires might work in snow, let us take into account some of the factors that will help to answer the question.


Cruising through the snow means extreme temperature, and the tires need to be able to handle that. The composition of the tires plays a role in this regard.

Both all-terrain and all-season tires are made of rubber. But they differ in the raw materials used.

All-terrain tires are made harder to be more durable and withstand both on-road and off-road conditions.

The rubber compound used to make them keeps the tires softer during winter. They can serve you well in temperature as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

All-season tires are made of the type of rubber which works best as long as the temperature remains above 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tread Profile

The all-terrain tires have a kind of design, which is known as open-tread. This is the most useful feature of these tires.

Due to this tread profile, the tires ensure a great grip on the roads or on any type of surface, be it mud, snow, or other off-road conditions.

And the tires provide adequate traction even in thick snow and good handling of the vehicle. They offer sipes that add to the good traction, making them a safe choice for use in snow.

Rolling Friction

The rolling friction is higher in all-terrain tires than most tires, which adds to the good handling. Owing to the rolling friction, the all-terrain tires have less speed and less breaking time, which is a great advantage in snow.

When you are driving through snow or icy roads, you need sufficient traction, good grip on the roads, good handling, all of which the all-terrain tires provide without a doubt.


Due to their aggressive build, the tires are resistant to punctures, and with the ability to survive any condition, they are extremely durable.

This means you don’t have to change the tires when the winter ends, and avoiding the hassle of changing and storing tires is a great advantage.

Fuel Consumption

This is one of the weaker points of the all-terrain tires when compared to all-season tires. They take up much more fuel and hence decrease the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.

All-terrain tires are mostly used if the driver goes off-road frequently, for which the tires need to have certain features to survive those conditions.

The build of the tires while providing those features, also takes up more fuel. But this may not be a problem if you can get a safe drive in harsh conditions in exchange.


The all-terrain tires are more expensive compared to the all-season tires. But with the amount of traction they provide, and with all their features, they are worth the investment.

An added advantage would be, with these tires, you won’t need to worry about buying tires for other seasons or terrains, ultimately reducing the overall cost.


Now that you have sufficient knowledge, you can answer the question. To be honest, I would say that it depends on the location and the severity of the winter.

The all-terrain tires deliver what you need to tackle the snow during winter, whether on-road or off-road. But you need to be aware of the temperature for them to stay useful.

If you deal with moderate winter and can put up with the fuel consumption and noise, then the all-terrain tires are a great choice.

And if you are dealing with a severe winter with subzero temperatures, then safety should be your main concern during the season, and changing to a suitable tire will not be a bad idea.