Tire Concerns: Wet traction and road noise in All Season Radials

Tire Concerns: Wet traction and road noise in All Season Radials

by Shawn
(Tacoma, WA, USA)

I'm getting ready to purchase new 225/55-17 tires for my 1993 Cadillac Seville (base model) that weighs 3625 lbs and has 4-wheel discs & 4-wheel ABS.

I live in an area where we get a higher than usual amount of rain, sometimes very heavy. So I'm looking for a decent tire that will handle well on wet highways since I live near and drive on so many.

I also want a tire that will grip well from a standing start and not break loose too easily. But everytime I find a tire I think will be good, I encounter reviews that claim the tires I'm thinking about are really loud.

Maybe I can't have both wet-weather traction AND a quiet tire, I'm not sure. This is the reason for my question.

Would a tire with bigger blocks and bigger gaps between them have less wet traction and/or more noise than smaller blocks and smaller gaps? One thing I notice in reviews are how many opinions are like night and day! One tire might have half the people saying they get better traction than any tire they ever owned, but the other half of reviews might say they got the worst traction! I'm losing my mind!

Here are the tires I've pretty much narrowed down my choices to. I'd prefer a performance All-Season but would settle for a nice Touring tire. Any advise on quietest and best wet traction would be appreciated.

BF Goodrich Traction T/A
General Exclaim UHP
Bridgestone Potenza G019 Grid
Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS
Goodyear Eagle F1
Goodyear Eagle LS2
Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S
Riken Raptor HR
Riken Raptor ZR
Yokaham Avid Envigor

Editorial Comment:

To be completely frank, I don't have first hand knowledge of all the tires you've listed, so telling you what I think would be best would be prejudicial.

I will, however, give you some of the things that I would take into account if I were in your position. This may help you make a choice.

First, you seem to have two issues in mind. Wet road traction, and tire noise.

To begin with, it would be helpful for you to decide which of these is the most important, because, you may have to sacrifice one to maximize the other. If you go for an all season tire, you will be getting something which will less than optimum in all categories in order to give you a little bit of everything.

Problems with traction on wet roads is often the result of aquaplaning in which a tire literally "floats" on top of a thin layer of water which does not escape from below the tire.

A tire designed to minimize aquaplaning typically has a tread pattern which seems for form a "V" when you look at it. The tread openings allow the water to be expelled to the sides of the tire as opposed to being "trapped" inside the tread area. Look for this kind of tread design for maximum wet road traction.

Tires with large tread blocks and wide openings between them tend to be noisy because of the harmonics caused by the air movement. Some creative designs are able to minimize this by varying the size of the openings around the tire, but generally speaking the smaller the openings between the tread blocks the lower the noise.

The best traction is given by a tire with the most amount of tread in contact with the road. So, slicks, provide the very best traction and quietest ride, but you would have the worst case of aquaplaning with slicks, which is why they are not commonly used in consumer tires.

Now you have some of the theory to understand the basics of what you face. Add into this your preference of how you feel about the looks of the tire and your budget and you're ready to make a choice.

As with all choices, you're not likely to get everything, so before you start, decide what things are most important to you and let your priorities guide you.


Comments for Tire Concerns: Wet traction and road noise in All Season Radials

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Try These On Your Cadillac
by: Anonymous

Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus

Thanks for your input, TG!
by: Shawn (original poster)

You're right, if I want one thing I might have to give up another. Most important to me is wet weather traction. Low noise is just a luxury. After all, in a Cadillac all you do is roll up the window it all is quiet. So yes, wet traction is more important.

Of the tires I've listed, some are "Ultra Performance All Seasons", and most have the channeling characteristics you mentioned. I do tend to look for the V patterns and the least amount of solid ribs in the center. The Traction T/A has nice tread but wide gaps and large blocks. The Exclaim UHP has a real nice pattern with looks like it would be great in the rain. The Potenza G109 Grid has a nice tread pattern too that looks like it would do great in rain. The Riken Raptors have a nice tread pattern to, especially the ZR. The Exalto AS has a very nice tread pattern with smaller blocks and less of a performance tread, and gets mostly high reviews. The Cooper CS4 gets the highest reviews from other Seville owners in my forum, and most owners swear it's the best tire they've ever had on a Cadillac and they won't get anything else in the future.

It's a tough choice, but I do believe I'm going to go with a less "sporty" tread and will most likely narrow my choices down to the Michelin Exalto AS or the Cooper CS4. Besides, I don't plan on going to the Bonneville Salt Flats anytime soon (LOL!) so I don't really need a tire rated in the triple digits.

Most important to me: Best wet traction.
Of medium importancce: Noise
Least important to me: Dry grip or speed rating.

Thanks again!

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