Your friend is probably right. If you live in an area where the temperatures are often cold but not freezing, such as in the high 30s and low 40s, all-season tires will not perform as well as winter tires, even on roads that are dry.
All-season tires are made from a harder rubber compound than winter tires, so when temperatures are cold, they become stiffer and can even be brittle compared to winter tires.
As a result, they don't grip the road as well as winter tires, which means they will take a greater distance to stop the car, even on dry roads. Wet roads will only increase the stopping distance. Gaining traction during initial acceleration, such as from a stop sign, and maintaining traction in corners also can be compromised.
In these situations, your best bet is to purchase a set of winter tires. To save some money, you might try sourcing a set of wheels and winter tires that are the correct size and bolt pattern through a local salvage yard. Just be sure to check the tires to make sure they are in good condition, including a checking of the date code to ensure they are not too old.
Many people find buying a set of wheels and tires easier because they can swap the all-season tires for the winter ones at home using a simple lug wrench and a jack, versus visiting a tire shop to have the other set of tires mounted and balanced in the same wheels.
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