Best Tires for Rain: The Top Tires for Navigating Wet Roads
Keep safe in the rain with a good set of wet-weather tires
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One underappreciated car part is the tire. While we tend to pay a lot of attention to engines for performance and rims for style, we often forget about how essential the actual rubber is for performance and safety. The right traction can be the determining factor for a race car, give you the stopping power to keep you safe, and help protect you in extreme weather. Here are the top picks for the best tires in wet conditions.
- Best OverallMichelin Pilot Sport A/S 3SummarySummaryMichelin offers the best tires for rainy weather with its Pilot Sport A/S 3 made for summer use.ProsProsThese tires have a unique water channel design, increased traction with higher speeds, and high-density steel for tread protection.ConsConsThe Pilot Sport tires are an expensive option, are for summer weather only, and have the shortest warranty.
- Best ValueGeneral Altimax RT43 Radial TireSummarySummaryThe Altimax tires are a popular passenger vehicle option because of their affordability and premium-level features.ProsProsGeneral Tire uses a silica tread compound, offers a smooth ride, includes a 75,000-mile warranty, and is the cheapest option.ConsConsThese tires underperform in the cold weather and snow and are not available for larger vehicle models.
- Honorable MentionGoodYear Assurance Triple TredSummarySummaryThese are the best tires for traction in rain and snow conditions due to their smart tread design.ProsProsThe TripleTred tires use aqua-channels for wet conditions, offer a quiet ride, can improve gas mileage, and have an 80,000-mile warranty.ConsConsGoodyear's tires are expensive, do not have precise handling, and have a small range of tire sizes available.
Benefits of Tires for Rain
- Avoid hydroplaning. One of the scariest things that can happen when you drive is hydroplaning. The best way to avoid it is to have a tire that can effectively clear out water from underneath your treads.
- Long-lasting. The best wet-weather tires are made to evenly wear across the whole tread, which means they will ultimately last longer.
- Less expensive. Since summer tires and all-season tires are in high demand, there is a much larger selection and availability for rain tires. This results in a less expensive product overall.
Types of Tires
Summer tires are specifically designed to handle the hottest temperatures. When you drive, your tires heat up from friction and even stretch due to the air expanding. Summer tires are made to withstand the extreme heat and prevent any unwanted wear and tear. These are the best option for driving in the rain in areas where it is warm year-round.
All-season tires can be great for wet roads. The reason they're considered all-season is that they can perform in both hot and cold temperatures. They are not, however, made for harsh winter conditions. Instead, these are the right choice if you live in an area that has seasonal weather and rainstorms on cold days.
Winter tires are made to tackle unplowed roads after a snowstorm. While they do a great job in winter conditions, they’re not as good on rainy days. The treads are made to cut through slippery conditions but are not optimized for clearing rain from your tires at high speeds.
Charles Goodyear discovered the process of making vulcanized rubber in 1839. In 1898, Frank Seiberling started the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in honor of the man who created the product. The company took off thanks to the bicycle industry, the introduction of automobiles, and its innovative products. Today, the company is well known for selling some of the most popular passenger tires.
Michelin got its start in the tire industry back in 1907 after purchasing the International Rubber Company in New Jersey. After losing too much business during the Great Depression, the company was reformed in New York in 1950. In its decades of operation, the company has expanded to 19 plants throughout North America and became a leader in the tire production industry. The company produces a wide range of tires including all-season and sport.
Hankook is a popular tire brand all around the world. Created in Korea in 1941, Hankook was initially named Chosun Tire Company. The company was renamed and reinvented after the Korean War and started to grow across multiple automotive markets. Its popularity in Asia and Europe helped with establishing its first US branch in 1981. Ten years later, it became a popular company worldwide thanks to its deal to make tires for Volkswagen.
Pricing for Rain Tires
- Under $120 (per tire): There are a lot of factors that affect tire prices. Inexpensive options include products that are rated for fewer miles before they need to be replaced and they are smaller-sized.
- $120-200 (per tire): Most new cars and smaller SUVs have 16- or 17-inch tires. A new set of all-season, brand-name tires this size will typically land in the $120-$200 per tire price range.
- Over $200 (per tire): Tire prices can get expensive if they are low profile, geared towards racing or off-roading, or have larger rim sizes. Large trucks and SUVs, and some sports cars will require these premium-priced tires.
The tread is one of the most important factors in how your vehicle performs. Snow tires are made explicitly with a tread that can get the best grip in snow and slush, and rain tires need a similar setup. For wet-weather performance, the tire's tread needs channels that will help keep the water out from under your tires while you drive.
On rainy days, your best tire option is either summer or all-season tires. Where you live can be the most significant factor in which is the best for you. Summer tires can be used year-round if you live in a warm climate area, and they tend to have excellent wet-weather traction. If you live in cooler regions, all-season tires perform well in colder temperatures and are your best choice.
If a tire only has good traction for the first month after purchase, then it's likely a waste of money. How long a tire lasts and how fast it wears down is crucial to finding the best tire for rain. You can sometimes judge a tire based on the length of its warranty, although the materials used to make the tire can also play an important role.
- Road Noise: You may not know that the loud noise cars sometimes produce when driving on the road is actually due to the type of tire they have. Tires have a big impact on the road noise you hear while driving.
- Comfort And Smoothness: Another factor to consider is how smooth of a ride you prefer. Tires can make for a comfortable ride or one that’s a little stiffer. This might be an important consideration depending on the shape of the roads near you and your type of car.
Best Tires for Rain Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Tires for Rain Overall: Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3
The Michelin Pilot Sport is the best wet-weather tire on the market. This performance-optimized option gives you fantastic traction on asphalt and concrete, and it has one of the best-wet condition ratings possible. Michelin continually gets the highest rain tire reviews thanks to its products’ handling and long-lasting performance.
These touring tires are specially designed to give you the best traction even after thousands of miles of wear. The Sport A/S includes a unique design that channels more water out as your tires heat up, which means hydroplane resistance increases at high speeds. The materials incorporate pressure and temperature placement for performance and high-density steel to prevent treadwear.
Despite being the best tires for rain, the Pilot Sport A/S 3s are not ideal for everyone. The biggest downside to this option is the price. These tires are very costly, especially with larger sizes. They are also for summer-use only, which means they won't perform in winter temperatures. In addition, Michelin offers the shortest warranty of all the options on our list.
Best Value Tires for Rain: General Altimax RT43 Radial Tire
It should be no surprise that General Tire is the most affordable water tire option on our list. The company has made a name for itself by producing cost-effective tires with stats that rival premium competitors. The AltiMAX RT43 tires are incredibly popular with compact and midsize car owners due to the price point and durability.
General Tire uses a Twin Cushion Silica Tread Compound, which gives the AltiMAX all-season traction. The tires are also surprisingly quiet and smooth, even beating out some grand-touring options. The AltiMAX RT43 is the best tire in its class to counter hydroplaning. The company also offers a 75,000-mile warranty, which beats out even the most expensive tire options.
While these are a great option, the AltiMAX tires aren't perfect for everyone. They aren't the best all-season tires for rain and snow. They perform rather poorly in snowy conditions compared to other all-season options. They also are not a good choice for SUVs or trucks.
Best Tires for Rain Honorable Mention: GoodYear Assurance Triple Tred
One of Goodyear’s best all-season tires for snow and rain are its Assurance TripleTred All-Season tires. The tires use a three tread zone design for unique grab that can adapt to the weather conditions you're driving in.
The TripleTreds aren’t just the best traction tires, but they also offer a lot of great features. While the tread pattern uses a water zone with aqua-channel grooves to give you great wet-weather traction, the tire's composition also makes for a smooth ride. These tires can manage 820 revs per minute, and with the right PSI they can even increase your vehicle's fuel economy. Goodyear offers an unbeatable 80,000-mile warranty and a 30-day test drive.
The Assurance TripleTred tires compromise on performance and handling for harsh weather preparedness. Some users also say that they're less than ideal for dirt and gravel. These Goodyear tires are an expensive choice, and they have a much smaller tire size range compared to other options.
- If you ever hydroplane while driving, the best thing to do is let off the gas and coast to a slower speed. Jamming on the breaks or turning will only make handling your car more difficult.
- Before searching for tires, determine what size you need. The size can be found on the sidewall of your current tires.
- Many tires are specifically intended for cars or SUVs/trucks. Pay attention to the recommended type of vehicle and weight suggested by the manufacturer.
- Tire pressure can have a significant impact on wet-weather performance. Under-inflated tires can allow water to build up and create hydroplaning.
- All-season tires are not the best choice for winter. While all-weather or all-season would make you think they’re fine for winter driving, they typically have worse snow traction than snow/winter tires.
Q: Are summer tires good in the rain?
A: Yes. Summer tires often have the best wet-weather performance. While you might think that all-season tires are better, they actually compromise performance in the rain to have good snow traction.
Q: Does tire wear affect wet traction?
A: Yes. The longer you drive on a set of tires, the less effective they'll be in wet conditions. That's why one of the most important things to consider is how long the treads last.
Q: What do the different tire patterns mean?
A: The tread of your tire is researched and designed specifically for a particular purpose. A good set of rain tires have grooves and channels to move the water from the road surface and keep you from hydroplaning.
There's a lot to consider when you're looking for tires for your vehicle. The best tires for rain are the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3. They offer excellent traction and handling.
The General Altimax RT43 Radial Tires are the perfect option for customers who want wet-weather tires at a more affordable price point.
Tell us about your favorite rain tires in the comments below!
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