As we get into the season where tire changes are required, it’s important to consider all of your options when shopping for all-season or summer tires. It goes without saying that we strongly encourage the use of winter tires in the colder months, but once temperatures rise over 7 degrees Celsius, winter tires begin to wear much faster and its’ time to change over to the rubber better suited for warmer weather.

All-season tires are what most mainstream cars, crossovers and light trucks come equipped with. These are great for certain climates where snow and ice aren’t an issue, and perform adequately in the dry, wet, and through the odd flake of snow. The tread depths on these tires are moderate and the compounds are specifically designed to last longer than that of summer tires. Features that are emphasized on the all-season tire include on-road ride comfort, sharp handling, and quietness for the vast majority of conditions and drivers.

It might be tempting to consider a value-brand tire with a low price tag, but not all tire brands offer the same level of quality, longevity, and performance. Although we have recommended high value tire brands, such as Sailun, for those shopping on a budget, there are some value brands that are best avoided. For those who would rather not give it a second thought, pay a bit more, and just go with the best, a top-tier tire brand is the only way to go.

One of the most reputable top-tier tire brands on the market is Continental. They offer a wide range of high-quality tires with an option for just about every vehicle and need. The company sent us a set of their latest all-season tires, the PureContact LS, which is a premium all-season rubber ideally suited to passenger cars, minivans, and crossovers. Over the course of a four week and 2,500km, we tested the Continentals in a variety of conditions to see how well they actually perform.

Continental Tires at Nelson Tire & Auto in Siler City, NC

The PureContact LS makes use of Continental's latest tire technology, including the use of intricate traction grooves and a special silane rubber additive, all of which help maximize on road performance in dry, wet, and slippery road conditions. Compared to the previous set of budget tires fitted to our test car, the Continentals offered a noticeable improvement in handling performance. The tires performed remarkably well in all types of weather conditions, including a few days of a light snow and slush where one would probably second guess the performance of lesser all-season tires.

In addition to offering outstanding performance, the Continentals proved to live up to their premium luxury label by delivering smooth, quiet ride quality, even on the longest highway drives. "Tire howl," a noise which is an irritating trait of many lower quality tires, was totally absent. The tread pattern of the PureContact LS is designed to produce 50 percent less noise than its predecessor, yet also improve efficiency. The rubber compound makes use of "ecoplus+" technology, helping to reduce rolling resistance for better fuel economy and extended tire life. Low rolling resistance technology can help save gas over the life of the tires, and it is a worthwhile feature to look for when shopping for a set.

The promise of long tire life should be quite long as well. Continental includes a 112,000km limited treadlife warranty, plus three years roadside assistance, road hazard protection, and a 60 day customer satisfaction trial. These are the type of perks you normally don't find with the lower-tier tire brands. The PureContact LS tread pattern even includes wear indicators letting you know when it is time for tire rotation and tire replacement so that you do not need to second guess when servicing is needed.

Here in Canada, when we take off our winter tires, we need a good three-season tire. Although you can save some money with a decent value tire, there is a possibility that compromises will need to be made in other areas. For those looking for the best in terms of performance, longevity, and protection, it is hard to find a better option than the Continental PureContact LS all-season tire. It is a great option to consider. Whatever tire you decide to go with, remember to choose a reputed retailer and installer, as tire rotation and balancing is essential to optimizing your car’s safety and performance. Drive safe!