Driving a vehicle in the rain calls for many challenges. Along with reduced visibility and low sense of awareness; it possesses a deadly risk- which is, the risk to hydroplane. Since hydroplaning is the leading cause for most of the road accidents in the US, it’s threat cannot be dismissed. Nevertheless, with the right precautions and selection of tires, this disaster can be prevented.
What makes rain tires special?
In order to prevent hydroplaning and increase traction on wet surfaces, manufacturers design rain accustomed tires with special features. These include deep grooves on the tread as well as an circumferential alignment of patterns. This is done, to allow efficient displacement and expulsion of water whilst maintaining friction. Furthermore, there is an addition of blocks to promote maximum stability and grip. Customers also have the option to pick studded tires (treads implanted with metal protrusions) to maximize traction by allowing a stronger grip.
Since friction is key here, the tires are also made with a compound containing soft rubber in order to accumulate heat. On a final note, tires adapted for rain are usually made with a smaller diameter thus are relatively narrower than its counterparts, this is because narrower tires permit higher contact pressures which push water out more efficiently.
However, these tires are not all perfect, there are a number of compromises made to allow for the wet adaptations. In dry conditions, narrow tires are not able to hold as good a grip, compared to wider alternatives. Also, softer rubber tires account for easy deterioration thus tread life is significantly decreased.
The 5 Absolute Best Truck Tires For Rain
Overview of out top picks:
- Michelin Premier LTX All Season Radial Car Tire for SUVs and Crossovers, 225/65R17 102H (Editor’s choice)
- Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Plus All-Season Highway Tire 225/65R17 102 H
- Michelin LTX M/S All Season Radial Car Tire for Light Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers, 275/55R20 113T
- Bridgestone Dueler H/L Alenza Plus Truck & SUV Highway Tire 275/55R20 111H
- Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady All-Season Radial Tire – 215/55R17 94V
1. Michelin Premier LTX All Season Radial Car Tire for SUVs and Crossovers, 225/65R17 102H (Editor’s choice)
The absolute best rain tire, in our opinion…
Michelin tires are known for their outstanding performance in all sorts of weather and conditions. Quite expectedly, these Michelin Premiers deliver no less. This product has been a user favorite and has been catagorized as Amazon’s choice. Along with offering great traction these tires also offer supreme ride comfort, which is something that would usually be compromised on most models.
One of the most notable features of this tire is the Evergrip technology. With the passage of time customers often complain of worsening vehicle performance but with Evergrip technology, the traction remains the same as the newly bought pair. This is because as the tires wear down, this technology widens the old tread grooves and allows new grooves to open up.
Moreover, the compound is enhanced with silica in order to boost water drainage and braking. On the basis of company tests, there is a significant decrease in braking distance compared to its counterparts. The tread pattern has also been enhanced to improve wet grip. Steering and maneuverability have been hailed as “great” for the price.
- Ultra safe
- High water drainage capacity
- Great wet braking distances
- Long tire life
- 6 years limited warranty
- Slightly expensive
The most fuel efficient truck tire in its class…
These tires are particularly developed keeping environmental sustainability in mind. As per consumer reports, Bridgestone Ecopia H/L has shown a notable reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions. These tires have also been equipped with features like tread blocks and full depth grooves in order to improve wet braking and maximize traction, respectively. This tire takes the fuel efficiency approach to a whole new level in terms of the adaptations it has to offer. Multiple users reported excellent fuel efficiency (due to low rolling resistance) while still maintaining a good ride quality. No complaints regarding hydroplaning resistance or water evacuation abilities have been recorded and the pricing has been rated as “fair”.
- Fuel efficient
- Substantial wet performance
- Appropriately priced
- Early deterioration
3. Michelin LTX M/S All Season Radial Car Tire for Light Trucks, SUVs and Crossovers, 275/55R20 113T
Michelin is one of the largest and oldest tire manufacturing companies. These tires are best known for their quality of rubber and low rates of defect. Therefore, it is of no surprise that this tire comes first in the list. Not only do these tires provide excellent traction for wet roads but also long tread life (over 70,000+ miles) along with a comfortable ride, which tends to be compromised in most rain tires. What makes them even more popular is the company’s care for customer satisfaction. Michelin provides long term warranties and years worth of flat tire assistance on the purchase of their tires. Most reviews also rave over the maneuvering and cornering abilities. The hydroplane resistance is rated as a solid 9.8/10.
- Premium construction
- Hydroplane resistant
- Class leading wet traction
- Adequate tread life
- Long warranty and flat tire assistance
Robust and environment friendly at the same time…
Like the Ecopia Plus, this tire is also regarded as a green tire as it has also been proven to notably reduce carbon dioxide emissions. This is because the tread is made with 5% recycled rubber. As per the look of this tire, it is styled beautifully to provide a luxurious look for trucks. Bridgestone already earning a name for robustness and durability, this tire has also been further enhanced with polymerized treads due to which wear off is decreased. Moreover the casing and design have been optimized to provide a quieter and comfortable ride. The sturdy contact patch prevents hydroplaning by providing a stronger grip.
- 80,000 miles tread warranty
- Fuel efficient
- Environment friendly
- Quite, comfortable ride
- Early deterioration than expected
From a world leading wet performance brand…
As per the tread wear tests, Good year has earned its reputation for excellent grip and handling. These tires are always up to the standard no matter the tire model or the test. They provide outstanding traction while maintaining a quiet ride. The fuel economy is also commendable. The tread compound is improved to provide better braking and acceleration. 90% of the users claimed they would buy the tires again along with a community of repeat customers. Equipped with zigzag biting edges these tires achieve the highest marks in the dry wet traction category. A whopping 9.2/10 in wet testing and a 9.3/10 hydroplane resistance, was recorded. Besides, it also contains Evolving Traction Grooves to provide like-new traction as the tire wears
- Class leading wet traction
- Hydroplane resistant
- Fuel efficient
- Rocky and rough ride
- Low load rating
Hazards of driving in rain:
Hydroplaning or aquaplaning is a condition that drivers often describe as a sensation of “levitation”, this occurs when the vehicle’s are driven over a certain speed (for most trucks this is described as anything over 35mph). The reason behind the “floating” effect is that (to put it quite simply) the tires are not able to expel the water as fast as they should and so, a film of water forms which tends to elevate the vehicle off the ground. Although this is only for a few seconds, hydroplaning is exceptionally dangerous because it causes the car to lose all available traction and user command, further causing panic and ultimately, a crash.
Wet roads also cause the tires to lose friction, hence the braking distances are increased, this can be as much as 50ft. Statistically, a driver’s reaction time too is increased in rain. Moreover, wet roads favor over steer, due to the lack of grip and excessive slippage in rain. For the same reasons (low friction and grip) there is also a significant decrease in maneuverability and acceleration. Similar hazards can be faced while driving over mud and snow. To mitigate these effects you’ll need specialized tires for these terrains which can be found here: Best truck tires for mud and snow.
How to buy the best tires for rain?
- Always check for the dimensions before proceeding to buy the tires.
- Regardless of having good tires, certain factors can still cause hydroplaning to occur. This includes having older or worn out tires, thus regular maintenance and replacement of tires must be ensured.
- Keep a lookout for spines on the tires. These filter out rain very well. Also, never opt for aftermarket siping.
- It’s worth noting that rain equipped tires make compromises in terms of performance on dry/icy roads. Therefore, loss of traction or a faster tread wear on these kinds of surfaces is expected and completely normal.
- Check your region’s guidelines for studded tires. They are illegal in some states.
- Ensure that the tires are properly inflated, incorrect pressures promote hydroplaning