Best Tires For Rain 2020 | Top 5 Wet Weather Tires Reviewed | Buying GuideLast Updated: August 1, 2020
A survey conducted in a time frame of 10 years between 2007 and 2016 showed that the number of weather-related car crashes sits at a high estimate of 1,235,145 with rain alone being the cause of 556,151 of them which accounts about 45% of the total. The nearly six hundred thousand crashes resulted in nearly 212647 injuries with a near 2500 death toll. All of these just in the United States alone. One can only wonder how many of these could’ve been prevented if these vehicles were well fitted with the right tires.
Now, hoping that you care enough, I’ll move onto the basics of tires and the stuff you need to know when you purchasing a vehicle or getting tires replaced.
Top 5 Tires For Rain
1. Michelin Primacy MXV4 Radial Tire
Michelin Tires’ Primacy MXV4 Radial Tires are a solid choice of tires for wet conditions. Billed at 230$ and an option to get it professionally installed when ordered online paired with the consistency associated with Michelin’s name make this a very good choice.
The tires come with MaxTouch Construction which assists the tires in making and maintaining contact with the road and evenly distributes the force of acceleration, braking and cornering across the tire ensuring and doubling down on the safety. Implementation of Comfort Control Technology which is computer-optimized allows the tires to minimize noise, vibrations and discomfort derivative of rough roads.
Its All-Season nature with fantastic performances in wet and snow environments make this a great choice.
- Brand: Michelin
- Model: MXV4
- Product Dimensions: 26.3 x 26.3 x 8.5 inches
- Product Weight: 11.02 lbs
- Speed Rating: V
- Great handling
- Good wear life
2. Continental PREMIUM CONTACT 6 Radial Tire
Continental’s Premium Contact 6 is the second entry on this list and a very good one. The Premium Contact 6 is a massive upgrade over the Premium Contact 5 which in itself was exceptional when it came to stopping distance.
The Premium Contact 6 is very good when it comes to handling in rough weather conditions and is fairly efficient in heavier vehicles too. The level of comfort is unmatched when it comes to comparing it with other tires on the market. The Achilles heel of this product is its durability which is far lower than other products.
- Brand: CONTINENTAL
- Model: Premium Contact 6
- Product Dimensions: 29 x 10.4 x 29 inches
- Product Weight: 30 lbs
- Responsive handling
- Great stopping distance
- Low durability
3. Dunlop Sport Maxx RT2 All-Season Radial Tire
Dunlop’s Sport MAXX RT2 is one of the more expensive products on the market. As the name suggests it’s an all-season tire and is super viable in wet weather conditions.
The Sport MAXX RT2 comes available in multiple sizes and variations and is suited to most vehicles whether sports or sedan. Its asymmetric tread pattern justifies its high price and is the driving force behind its performance.
Despite claiming to be an all-season tire it’s best performance comes in summer and is fairly average during winters. This paired up with its obnoxiously high price puts the MAXX RT2 on the lower end of the to-buy spectrum despite its solid performance overall.
- Brand: Dunlop
- Model: Sport MAXX RT2
- Product Dimensions: 29 x 29 x 12 inches
- Product Weight: 20 lbs
- High performance with the summer performance being exceptionally good.
- Good performance in wet weather conditions
- Asymmetrical tread patterns
- Good durability
- Poor winter performance
- Obnoxiously high price
4. BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2
Another expensive entry on this list but this one justifies its high price tag by being a solid performer on all terrains. BFGoodrich’s All-Terrain KO2 is best suited for your vehicle if you’re one to invest into frequent off-road ventures along with the regular road travels.
The All-Terrain KO2, with KO2 standing for Key benefit ON and OFF, comes with CoreGuard technology that gives it a rougher sidewall exponentially increasing durability and thicker, extender shoulders. These thicker shoulders cover the failure zones well and ensure safety. Its specially formulated tread rubber are designed to minimize chip and tear. It also has upper sidewall traction bars which further maximize traction in snowy, wet and muddy conditions.
Despite its high price, the All-Terrain KO2 makes a solid case for itself and is for sure worth buying if you’re the adventurous type.
- Brand: BFGoodrich
- Model: All-Terrain T/A KO2
- Product Dimensions: 32 x 32 x 11 inches
- Product Weight: 53 lbs
- Speed Rating: R
- Incredible traction on all terrains
- Great durability
- Only worth getting if you invest in off-road ventures as well.
5. Michelin Premier A/S All-Season Radial Tire
Michelin reappears on this list with the Premier A/S All-Season Radial tire. Priced moderately close to what other All-Season tires are around, the Premier far exceeds the other on the market.
It is designed for vehicles of multiple types and the performance is consistent across all types. The new features this time around are the Expanding Rain Grooves around the circumference of the tire and the Emerging Grooves across the shoulders which massively increase the performance quality in wet weather conditions and help keep the traction more consistent overall. The silica and sunflower oil enhanced tread compound allows the tire to double down on its already impressive wet traction. Internally the tire is reinforced across with twin steel belts which improve the handling on wet roads and increase its durability. Overall the Premier A/S is a moderately priced tire that gives you exactly what you pay for.
- Brand: Michelin
- Model: Premier A/S
- Product Dimensions: 26.3 x 8.5 x 26.3 inches
- Product Weight: 22 lbs
- Speed Rating: V
- Unmatched traction in wet weather conditions
- Great durability
- Good handling
Buying Guide: Tires For Rain
The materials of modern pneumatic tires are synthetic rubber, natural rubber, fabric and wire, along with carbon black and other chemical compounds. They consist of a tread and a body. I won’t delve into the body workings of the tire as the tread is more significant to the conversation at hand. The tread is that design you see over and across the circumference of the tires. The treads play a pretty crucial role as they provide traction to the tires which prevent the vehicle from hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can scatter. Water pressure in the front of the wheel pushes water under the tire, and the tire is then separated from the road surface by a thin film of water and loses traction. The result is loss of steering, braking, and power control.
Hydroplaning can occur on any wet road surface. When light rain mixes with oil residue on the road surface, it creates slippery conditions that can cause vehicles, especially those traveling speeds in excess of 35 mph, to hydroplane. This can be very dangerous for the driver and surrounding motorists. Making sure the treads are in the appropriate condition is necessary to prevent hydroplaning. Other measures include keeping tires well inflated, slowing down, driving in a lower gear, avoiding hard braking, and avoiding taking sharp turns.
The treads are of 4 types, namely unidirectional, symmetrical, asymmetrical and directional.
- Unidirectional: These flow in one direction and have arrows pointing that way. They make the forward motion smooth for the driver. This type of tread allows the water to be displaced easily to avoid hydroplaning.
- Symmetrical: As the name suggests, these patterns are similar all across the tire. These are found on common vehicles due to their longevity. In addition to their longevity, they’re also very quiet.
- Asymmetrical: These tread patterns are often associated with performance-oriented vehicles such as sports cars. It is a hybrid type and combines the best features of other patterns which allow for maximum grip on wet roads. Tires with these patterns tend to fall on the expensive end of the spectrum.
- Directional: Directional tread patterns inherit the best qualities of the aforementioned types. The forward V pattern helps in displacing water efficiently and it also has the dry weather traction of the asymmetrical type.
Discounting the tread patterns themselves, tires too are of different types based on their performances across the various seasons across a year or based on the terrains that they can tackle.
These provide smooth rides and have high winter traction. They come in many subtypes as well:
- Grand Touring All-Season: As the name states these have a solid year-round performance and traction.
- Grand Touring Summer: They offer balanced traction for both dry and wet weather. Not suitable for winters.
- Standard Touring All-Season: Offer smooth rides and acceptable traction. Its longevity comes at the expense of quality.
- Crossover All-Season: Good all-season traction paired with reasonable wear time.
- Highway All-Season: Longest tread life among all types.
- Highway Rib Summer: Heavy-duty treads for heavy vehicles. Applicable for dry and wet roads.
These tires focus on improving handling and have good wet and dry traction. Their winter traction is very much acceptable but not the best during summers. Their tread life is very short and needs to be retreaded.
- Extreme Performance Summer: Have a very high dry grip coming at the expense of wet traction, comfort and tread life.
- Max Performance Summer: These do a pretty respectable job of balancing the wet and dry traction and have an acceptable level of comfort and tread life. Not applicable in winters.
- Ultra-High Performance All-Season: Improved handling, good traction for both wet and dry. Applicable during winters as well.
- Ultra-High Performance: Nimble handling and good wet and dry traction with a decent level of comfort.
- High-Performance All-Season: Balanced traction all year-round with an acceptable tread life.
- High-Performance Summer: Good wet and dry traction and average tread life.
- Street/Truck: Responsive handling, good wet and dry traction and applicable on the season type you choose to purchase.
Built and best suited for off-road crusades and are very loud on regular roads and pavements.
- On/Off-Road All-Terrain: Good traction with significantly reduced comfort.
- Off-Road Max Traction: Built exclusively for off-road activities. Modest comfortability and winter traction.
- On/Off-Road Commercial Traction: Designed for heavy-duty vehicles providing acceptable traction on regular treads and pavements. Good winter traction.
Tires falling in this category have unmatched ice traction and are optimized for performing in cold conditions. Only useful during winters.
- Studless Ice and Snow: Designed for sustaining in the worst winter conditions, these tires offer maximum traction during snow. They have reasonable handling and a respectable wear life.
- Studdable Winter/Snow: Similar to the studless type but with more aggressive tread patterns. They also have slots to add metal studs for additional traction
- Performance Winter/Snow: Balanced traction and handling on both regular roads and snowy pavements.
- Light Truck/SUV Studless Ice and Snow: Designed for SUVs and offer similar performance to other studless types with maximum traction in ice and good handling.
- Light Truck/SUV Studdable Ice and Snow: Aggressive tread patterns and option to add metal studs for additional traction. Designed for SUVs.
- Light Truck/SUV Performance Winter/Snow: The most balanced among these types with good handling and fairly acceptable traction levels. In addition to that, they also have good wet and dry traction and are best suited to high-performance vehicles.
Track and Competitive Tires
These types are developed for racing and competitive purposes. Their track performances are spectacular with nimble handling but these come with a short tread life. Though they are primarily designed for competitive purposes, some of them can be used in the streets.
- Racetrack and Autocross only: Their goal is to reduce lap times in dry conditions. Not suited for street applications.
- Streetable Track and Competition: These types can be used both on track and street. They have longer wear life when compared to other competitive tires but this comes at the cost of performance.
- Wet Racetrack and Autocross only: Designed to give high performance on wet tracks.
- Drag Racing: These are DOT-legal tires that maximize acceleration traction and lower ETs. Not suitable for wet tracks.
Other Tire Types
Other tire types include temporary spares which are light-duty in nature and trailer types. Trailer types are built for providing maximum stability and durability. Performances are not the focus of these types.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Summer tires be used in Winters?
Absolutely not as doing so puts the driver at great risk due to a lack of sufficient traction provided by summer tires during winter conditions.
At what speeds do cars normally hydroplane?
Cars at an average tend to hydroplane at 35mph. This tends to vary depending on the size of the vehicle.
Why does hydroplaning occur?
Hydroplaning occurs due to the lack of displacement of water by the tires. The tread patterns displace the water they come in contact with and allow the rubber on the tires to come in contact with the ground thus ensuring stability.