Differences in Tyre Types & How Textile Snow Chains Can Improve Winter Driving Performance

Differences in Tyre Types & How Textile Snow Chains Can Improve Winter Driving Performance

As winter weather approaches, it is important to understand the differences between tyre types and how textile snow chains can improve your winter driving. Selecting the right tyres and accessories for your vehicle will give you more control, traction, and peace of mind when roads become snowy and icy. In this article, we will compare features of all-season, winter, and snow tyres so you can determine which is best for your needs. We will also explain how textile snow chains work and recommend situations when you should install them for maximum safety and mobility. Equipping your car properly for winter will make you more confident behind the wheel during the colder months. Continue reading to learn key facts that will help you drive more safely once the snow starts falling.

The Different Types of Tyres - All Season, Summer, Winter, Studded

All Season Tyres

All season tyres, as the name suggests, are designed to be used all year round. They provide moderate performance in summer and winter conditions. The tread pattern and rubber compound are meant to handle various weather conditions. However, they do not excel in extreme summer or winter temperatures. All season tyres are best for drivers in temperate climates with minimal seasonal changes.

Summer Tyres

Summer tyres are optimized for warm weather driving. They are made of specific rubber compound that provides maximum grip on warm, dry roads. The tread pattern is also designed to efficiently displace water and maximize road contact. However, the rubber composition and tread pattern are not suitable for cold temperatures. In freezing weather, the rubber becomes hard and loses pliability, reducing grip. For the best performance in summer, use dedicated summer tyres.

Winter Tyres

Winter tyres, also called studdless tyres, have a soft rubber compound and tread pattern specifically designed for cold weather driving. The rubber remains pliable even in freezing temperatures to provide maximum grip on snow and ice. The tread pattern also has grooves and sipes to effectively channel water, slush, and snow away from the tyre. While winter tyres excel in snow and ice, their performance suffers greatly in warm weather due to the soft rubber. For the safest winter driving, switch to dedicated winter tyres.

Studded Tyres

Studded tyres take winter performance one step further by including metal studs in the tread. The studs provide additional grip by digging into icy and snow-packed roads. However, studded tyres significantly damage road surfaces over time. Many regions have banned or limited the use of studded tyres due to the excessive road wear. Studded tyres also increase road noise and reduce dry road performance. Only use studded tyres when legally permitted and necessary for maximum ice and snow traction.

Despite the types of tyres, you can use snow socks to improve winter driving. How easy it is to determine which snow socks are suitable for your tire dimensions, you can read here. 

How Snow Tyres Are Designed for Winter Driving Conditions

Snow tyres, also known as winter tyres or studdless tyres, are specifically engineered for driving on snow and ice. They are made of softer rubber compounds that remain flexible in freezing temperatures, allowing the tyres to grip the road better. The tread patterns on snow tyres are also designed differently, with wider grooves and more sipes (small slits) to help the tyres bite into snow and ice.

Improved Grip on Slippery Roads

The soft rubber and tread design help snow tyres grip onto slippery, icy roads much better than regular all-season or summer tyres. The rubber remains pliable even in very cold weather, so it can conform to the shape of the road surface. The wider grooves and sipes provide more edges for the tyre to grip onto, even when roads are covered in snow. This results in much shorter braking distances, better handling, and more control for the driver.

Deeper Tread for Traction

Snow tyres typically have a deeper, thicker tread than regular tyres. The added tread depth provides more space for snow and slush to pack into, which helps with traction on winter roads. As the tyres roll over the snow, the tread scoops up snow and effectively gives the tyre a "snowshoe" effect. The packed snow in the tread also helps with braking power. When braking, the tread squeezes the packed snow, which presses against the road surface and slows the vehicle.

Improved Safety in Harsh Weather

The design features of snow tyres can significantly improve safety for winter driving. The added grip, traction, and braking ability give drivers more control on snow and ice. This results in shorter stopping distances, better handling, and fewer skids - all of which help prevent winter driving accidents and make navigating winter roads safer. For the best winter driving safety, snow tyres should be installed on all four wheels of the vehicle.

In summary, snow tyres are engineered specifically for winter road conditions. Their rubber compounds, tread designs, and added tread depth provide superior grip, traction, and braking ability on snow and ice compared to regular tyres. Using snow tyres, especially on all four wheels, can greatly improve safety for driving in harsh winter weather.

You are not sure where to go for your next winter skiing adventure? Read our recommendations here.

The Impact of Textile Tyre Chains

Improved Traction & Control

Textile snow chains are designed for all types of vehicles to provide maximum traction on snow and ice. The textile, durable socks wrap around your tyres, gripping the road surface for enhanced control and braking. With textile chains on, you'll feel more stable navigating winter roads, especially on hills, turns and stops. The chains "dig" into the snow, reducing wheel spin and helping your vehicle go where you steer it.

Safer Driving Conditions

Driving in winter weather can be treacherous, but textile snow chains significantly improve safety by maximizing your vehicle's contact with the road. This allows for better acceleration, braking and handling, even in heavy snow accumulation. The risk of skidding, sliding and getting stuck is greatly reduced. For new drivers, the elderly, or those pulling trailers, snow socks can provide extra confidence and security when conditions are at their worst.

Access to Remote Areas

With most vehicles, textile tyre chains are required to access mountain roads and other remote areas that receive heavy snowfall. Park rangers and local authorities will often close off these roads to vehicles without proper traction equipment for safety. Carrying a set of snow socks in your vehicle allows you to explore winter destinations that would otherwise be off-limits. You'll have the freedom to travel where and when you want, unimpeded by road restrictions or closures due to snow and ice. AutoSock as textile winter traction solution is an accepted alternative to metallic snow chains in New Zealand.

Protection from Damage

Winter tyres, rather than all-season tyres, can be an effective choice during colder months but do have limitations. Winter tyres may lose traction when facing steep inclines over snowy or icy surfaces. Drivers globally are supplementing winter tyres with textile snow chains like AutoSock products to climb hills and descend safely while towing loads in winter conditions.

The snow socks from AutoSock meet all relevant international performance, safety, and durability standards for traction devices. In some scenarios, particularly on slushy snow and ice, fabric snow chains can provide better performance than traditional metal chains.

In summary, textile snow chains should be considered essential safety equipment for any vehicle owner driving in areas that receive significant snowfall. They provide benefits that improve mobility, enable travel to remote locations, reduce damage to your vehicle and promote safer driving conditions for you and your passengers. For many drivers, the rewards of enhanced confidence, control and access are well worth the small investment in this simple but vital product.

Read more about snow socks, their principal function and usage here.


In closing, understanding the differences between tyre types and how textile snow chains can improve winter driving is key for all drivers. With this knowledge, you can make informed decisions when purchasing tyres and accessories to keep yourself and others safe in hazardous conditions. The next time winter weather rolls around, remember there are simple, cost-effective products like textile snow chains that can give you extra traction and control. For mountain areas where snow chains are mandatory as well as for other areas in New Zealand, fabric snow socks are an accepted alternative to metallic snow chains in New Zealand. We all share the roads, so staying informed on winter tyres and chains allows you to confidently handle whatever the season brings. Drive safely out there.


Find your textile snow chains here