Are You Looking to Get the Best Wet Traction and Hydroplaning Resistance from Your Tires?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 by Zig Ziegler

The most important factor to consider in wet weather traction is tread depth. Even though their tires are not legally worn out, many drivers don't realize they may be below adequate tread depth to properly function in wet weather conditions. A tire is officially worn out when it reaches 2/32" of remaining tread depth, but after 4/32" of remaining tread depth your tires are recommended for dry roads only.

Hydroplaning occurs when a wedge of water lifts the tire from the road, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Hydroplaning is most frequent with heavy rain or high speed in wet conditions. It's the tires job to evacuate water quickly and efficiently to maintain contact with the road at all times. If your tires don't have sufficient tread depth the channels that evacuate water from underneath the tread will not be large enough to resist the wedge of water from building.

The tread design itself also plays an important role in wet weather traction. The directional tread design, also known as unidirectional tread, is one of the most efficient designs for water evacuation. Most directional tires have a V-shape tread pattern which can more easily push water from underneath the tire when compared to a typical ribbed tread design.

Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position
Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position
Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season
Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season

Yokohama Parada Spec-X
Yokohama Parada

Spec-X

If you're looking for a safer wet-weather driving tire for your performance sedan or coupe, like a BMW 3 Series, the Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position is my choice. If you have a touring sedan like the Toyota Camry I would recommend the Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season, while the Yokohama Parada Spec-X would be a preferred choice for an SUV like the Ford Edge.

Shop by vehicle to find the tire that'll be best in wet weather conditions for your vehicle.

Comments on Are You Looking to Get the Best Wet Traction and Hydroplaning Resistance from Your Tires?

Monday, April 23, 2012 by Rita:
Looking for 4 best tires to fit Kia Sportage LX, need these to be excellent in water/hydroplaining, as I do all highway driving. 215 65 R16
Tuesday, April 24, 2012 by Zig:
In the size you provided the Goodyear Assurance TripleTred All-Season I reference in my blog would be a great choice. Also the new Michelin Defender is definitely worth a look as well.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 by Dewayne:
I'm trying to find some tires for my mom's mini van. Right now she has a set of Michelin HydroEdges 235/60/16 and loves them and is the best wet weather tire I've ever been around. Problem is I've heard they are replacing it with the Defender but by looks it just doesn't look like it will have the wet weather performance of the HydroEdge which is very important on a minivan any suggestions?
Tuesday, July 31, 2012 by Zig :
The looks may be deceiving but the new Michelin Defender tire was designed to retain the same wet weather capability as the HydroEdge tire it replaces. Michelin combine the technology of their highly successful Harmony and HydroEdge tires into one complete package. When compared to the Harmony, the Defender offers 22% better rolling resistance and 16% shorter wet braking. And compared to the HydroEdge with Green X, the tire provides 10% lower noise along with 15% better snow performance. See my entire blog specifically on the new Michelin Defender at:

http://blog.tirerack.com/blog/choose-the-best-tires-with-zig/the-new-michelin-defender-the-best-of-both-tires-comfort-and-quiet-of-the-michelin-harmony-and-proven-treadlife-and-traction-of-the-michelin-hydroedge
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 by Dewayne:
Well one of the reasons we like the HydroEdge is if we happen to hit a puddle of water the HE doesn't jerk you one way or the other as standard tread tires tend to do it just keeps going straight on. For a woman 70 yr old woman that is very important along with the all around wet weather handling. Not really worried about the snow performance since we live in the south and the nose is much less the we've had with other tires. Here's the thing with me I tend to spend a lot of time researching before we I let her buy something and the tire test I've read they all say the Defender needs better wet weather traction and that's what worries me. Is there any other tire out there that compares to the HydroEdge in all around wet weather performance?
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 by Zig:
In the 235/60R16 size you are requesting the best tires in the wet would be Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring, Michelin Primacy MXV4 and the Michelin Defender. The do not have the appearance you are used to with the HydroEdge but are the very best in the size you need and should perform in a very similar manner.
Saturday, October 27, 2012 by Stephen Parks:
Looking for the best wet weather tire for my girlfriend's car, a 2011 Toyota Corolla SE - 195/65R15. She's a social worker who needs to drive in inclimate weather and we're in NJ where we get a good deal of rain, snow and slush. Please advise?
Monday, October 29, 2012 by Zig:
I would also recommend the Michelin Defender for the Corolla just as I advised Dewayne in my comment above. The Continental Pro Contact with EcoPlus technology would be worth a look as well. Both of these tires will be very capable in wet as well as winter weather. The both have been high rated from our customers as well as testing done at The Tire Rack.
Thursday, November 8, 2012 by Nate:
When are you gonna start using your hydroplaning pool? That's the only way to know in comparison to a set of BFG W00.
Thursday, November 8, 2012 by zig:
The pool is still relatively new to The Tire Rack and a little testing was done this summer. Testing is done on the track for this year but I'm sure this is something that will be fully utilized next season.
Friday, January 18, 2013 by Rob:
2010 Acura ZDX, coming off of OEM Michelin Latitude Tour HPs. What are your thoughts on going to Continental CrossContact LX20 with EcoPlus? Am looking for ultimate hydroplaning / ice resistance, a quiet ride and sportiness in that order. My cars all have Conti DWS and we love them, but the sidewall seems too soft for an SUV. Thanks very much!
Friday, January 18, 2013 by Zig :
Currently the two highest rated replacement tires for that car would be Pirelli Scorpion Verde A/S or the Continental Cross Contact LX20 w/ EcoPlus technology. Either of these would be my recommendation for the vehicle and have excellent ratings for hydroplaning resistance and wet traction.
Monday, April 1, 2013 by Graig:
Looking for a recommendation for a 2009 santa fe limited.

Mostly local driving but hydorplaning on the highways are a concern.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013 by Zig:
In the 235/60R18 you need for your Santa Fe Limited I would look at the Pirelli Scorpion Verde A/S, these were definitely one of the best tires we have ever tested in the wet for an SUV. I have attached a link to this tire below:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Pirelli&tireModel=Scorpion+Verde+All+Season&partnum=36VR8SVASXL&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes&affiliate=WC3
Monday, April 15, 2013 by Edward:
I have a Jeep TJ 2000 and live in Canada. I am looking for a winter tire and a summer tire. The Jeep is a box and light so in windy, slushy conditions can slide, and in rainy conditions the same. What is the best suggested anti-hydroplaning tire do you suggest for each season. (mostly highway driving)
Tuesday, April 16, 2013 by Zig :
Edward,

In order to make an accurate recommendation I need to know your tire size. It looks like the 2000 CJ came with 3 different tire sizes and most often I find Jeep customers use custom sizes. Let me know your size and I can recommend some good all-season tires.
Saturday, June 1, 2013 by Darrell:
What is the best wet/rain road and anti hydroplaning tire available for my Pontiac Vibe?
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 by Zig :
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 by Sheri:
what is the best wet weather tire with good mileage on tread and lowest noise for 2005 honda civic ex?
Friday, July 5, 2013 by Zig :
I think the very best for you would be the Michelin Defender, which has a 90K tread life warranty and excellent noise and wet traction ratings.

Here is the link:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=Defender&partnum=96TR5DEF&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=Honda&autoYear=2005&autoModel=Civic EX Sedan&autoModClar=&affiliate=WC3
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 by chris:
What is the best Best Wet Traction and Hydroplaning Resistance tire for a 2003 Tahoe?
Sunday, July 21, 2013 by Sam:
Looking for best options on rainy weather conditions (local and Hwy) for my GXP. OEM are P245/45ZR18 but I am open to better choices and 19 or 20s as well
Monday, July 22, 2013 by Zig :
I don't think 19" or 20" is going to get you into any better options. So in 245/45R18 I would first look at the Bridgestone RE970AS Pole Position mentioned in this blog or the Michelin Pilot Super Sport if you're looking for the summer only tire.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Potenza+RE970AS+Pole+Position&affiliate=WC3

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=Pilot+Super+Sport&affiliate=DZ1
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 by Ana:
Hi Zig,
Looking for a 255/60R17 with good wet traction and tread mileage, BUT something that would not brake the bank. 2011 KIA Sportage. I drive quite much, mostly city, often highway and some dirt roads. I have Kumho Solus on right now, and was quite impressed with traction but its only 27,000 miles and it is all gone to the wear indicators :( Any suggestions?
Monday, August 19, 2013 by Zig :
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 by Michael:
Great article, but I can't find any specifically wet weather tires in my size! I drive a 2wd Tacoma, and I'm wanting to go one size wider than OEM; 225/70/15. I'm in FL so wet weather traction is the main concern. I'm 50/50 road and highway, no offroad. (Until I get a 4wd Tacoma, that is.)
Tuesday, August 20, 2013 by Zig :
The problem is there are not many choices in the 225/70R15 but one of the best would be the Firestone Destination LE2. This tire currently scores 9.2/10 in wet traction and 9.1/10 in hydroplaning resistance according to our Customer Survey Results.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Firestone&tireModel=Destination+LE+2&partnum=27TR5DLE2OWL&vehicleSearch=false&fromCompare1=yes&affiliate=WC3
Monday, September 16, 2013 by Jason:
I'm looking for a few good options for wet weather tires on a 2011 Toyota Camry with 215/60 R16 size tires for my fiancée? We live in Seattle where rain dominates the winters with very little if any occurrence of snow or ice & the majority of her driving is on the highway. I am leaning towards General Tire's Altimax HP it looks to be a good wet weather All Season, is reasonably priced & I've read positive reviews. What are your thoughts?
Monday, September 16, 2013 by Zig:
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 by cris:
185/60R14 size tires for rainy Seattle. what do you recommend?
Tuesday, September 17, 2013 by Zig:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 by Sharon:
I have a jeep liberty 2006 and I drive a lot on highways long distance... I'm always afraid to drive in the rain.. Afraid to hydroplane or just it be too slippery.. What is the best rain tire for me?
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 by Zig :
I think your best choice as far as wet traction and hydroplaning resistance would be: (assuming you have the standard 225/75R16 size)

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Firestone&tireModel=Destination+LE+2&partnum=275TR6DLE2OWL&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=Jeep&autoYear=2006&autoModel=Liberty Sport 4wd&autoModClar=&affiliate=WC3
Thursday, October 10, 2013 by Brian:
My wife has a 2005 Chevy equinox LS that she drives the kids around in. it can take both 235/60R17 and 235/65R16. what would be the best tire overall in either of these sizes to prevent hydroplaning? thank you in advance for your help in this. BTW just installed GY silent armors on my jeep wrangler today from Tire rack and they look GREAT!
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 by Zig :
Yes, the car can run each of those tires size but one needs a 16" wheel and the other needs a 17" wheel so it's best to check which you have beforehand. I would recommend the Continental CrossContact LX20 and the Goodyear Assurance Tripletred as the best in the wet weather and hydroplaning resistance:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Continental&tireModel=CrossContact+LX20+with+EcoPlus+Technology&partnum=365TR6CCLX20&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=Chevrolet&autoYear=2005&autoModel=Equinox LS&autoModClar=AWD&affiliate=WC3

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Goodyear&tireModel=Assurance+TripleTred+All-Season&partnum=365TR6ATTAS&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=Chevrolet&autoYear=2005&autoModel=Equinox LS&autoModClar=AWD&affiliate=WC3
Sunday, October 20, 2013 by Eric:
I'm looking for best wet traction to keep my rear-wheel drive only Lincoln Navigator from slipping at boat launch ramps. Tire size is 255/70/18. Thank you.
Monday, October 21, 2013 by Zig :
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by Mark:
Looking for the best tires for my 2005 Mercedes-Benz Slk. Any suggestions?
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 by Zig:
On the 05' Mercedes SLK w/ 17" wheels for a tire that is best in the wet and hydroplaning resistant I would look at the Bridgestone Potenza RE970AS Pole Position as a great all-season option and for a summer only tire I would choose the Michelin Pilot Super Sport. I have attached links to both below:

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Bridgestone&tireModel=Potenza+RE970AS+Pole+Position&frontTire=245WR7RE970PPXL&rearTire=44WR7RE970PP&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=Mercedes-Benz&autoYear=2005&autoModel=SLK350&autoModClar=Standard Model&affiliate=WC3


http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Michelin&tireModel=Pilot+Super+Sport&frontTire=245YR7PSSXL&rearTire=44YR7PSSXL&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&autoMake=Mercedes-Benz&autoYear=2005&autoModel=SLK350&autoModClar=Standard Model&affiliate=WC3
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 by Lou:
In Pennsylvania, what would your recommendation be for a good all-season tire that is good in wet rainy weather, some slippery snow/ice and keep from hyrdrplaning? For a Toyota Camry 215/60R-16. I saw your recommendation for Goodyear Assurance TripleTred, but then you suggested to someone else the Goodyear Assurance Comfortred Touring for a 255 tire. I also saw you recommend Michelin Primacy MXV4 and Michelin Defender. Whats best for my car in wet/snow/ice/all season? Thanks!
Thursday, October 31, 2013 by Zig :
Monday, December 16, 2013 by Doug:
Looking at the Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring for a 2006 Kia Sportage EX 6Cly 4WD 235/60/16.

How do would those handle in a New England winter mix of snow, sleet, rain, ice?
Tuesday, December 17, 2013 by Zig :
Those would be a great choice and the Assurance ComforTred Touring has very high marks for winter and wet weather traction. Overall for you area it would be an excellent choice for the Sportage.

http://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Goodyear&tireModel=Assurance%20ComforTred%20Touring&partnum=36HR6ACTT&tab=Survey&affiliate=WC3
Monday, December 30, 2013 by mark gatz:
would like a recommendation for wet weather and high heat type of tires for a 2004 Nissan sentra that is driven in florida conditions
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 by Zig:
Saturday, October 4, 2014 by DDN:
I live in the very wet Pacific NW. Looking for the best wet weather but quiet/comfort tire for my 2001 Ford F150 4x4 Supercrew (265/70-17). Strictly an on-road truck with no pulling or hauling.
Monday, October 13, 2014 by Tire Rack Team:
Two of the highest rated tires in this size are the Michelin LTX M/S 2 and the Firestone Destination LE2. Both feature good mileage warranties and work quite well as an all-season. -- marshall@tirerack.com

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