How can I improve rain traction in my truck

I think my rain traction is poor. I put two 50lb bags of sand in the bed over where the rear axle is (it is a ranger with a 500lb limit). And I will probably have to look at new tires. What should I look for in new tires for rain traction? Is rain traction listed variable or is it just a standard characteristic of most tires? What else can I do aside from get new tires and put sand in the back? Is 100 lbs of sand enough?

I drive pretty safely, i just have trouble when turning. The truck can slide sideways when I turn a corner in the rain. Plus if I am braking while going downhill in the rain I may not be able to stop in time.

Sideways thought here. If the truck has a Limited -slip differential, see if it is not unlocking. This can cause all sorts of problems turning in low traction situations. As for tires, Michelin Artic Alpins grab in the wet like a barricle on a hull. I drive a Dodge Dakota 4x4 extended cab. Keep any extra weight ahead of the rear axle. Weight behind the axle can cause very bad things to happen. The voice of experance.

100 pounds of sand isn’t a whole lot; you might want to consider adding another 50-100 pounds. (I keep 150 pounds in the back of my station wagon.)

You’re supposed to put the weight ahead of the rear axle? How far ahead, like 6"? Why not put the weight on top of it? I hope 200lbs of sand doesn’t ruin my gas mileage.

Also, even though this is a 500lb limit does anyone know if 200lbs of very compact weight cause any damage to the shocks, struts, etc.? Isn’t that 500lb limit meant to be spread out over the whole bed? A 50 lb bag of sand is about 14"x8".

Arctic Alpines are really snow tires. They will wear pretty quickly compared to a regular tire. Any good new tire should help somewhat. Just remember that all pick-ups have very little weight over the rear axle. What sort of traction problems are you having? If you’re talking about the wheels spinning when you take off, then nothing will help that much. If you’re talking about the rear end drifting around when you go through a puddle, then the weight will help somewhat, but your truck will never handle like a car. The rear suspension on a pick-up is pretty crude.

What year is your Ranger. 500 lbs is a very low limit for a pick up. I have a an old C10 ½ ton Chevy and I have put a full ton it many a time.

500 lbs. Is two guys and a gal. It’s next to nothing. What year is your ranger? Is it a V6?

Think about the lever. The further back you put the sand the more pressure will be put on the tires. However. Weight in the ass end of a vehicle that does not handle well will be bad on the corners. Think centrifugal force. Cornering

The position of the weight is not that important. But, DO keep it on or in front of the rear axle.

I would put the weight on top of the axles (cross them, run them the long way of the vehicle) next to the wheel wells, and look into better tires.

Since this is a question with perhaps several factual answers, I’ll move it to GQ for you.

Cajun Man
for the SDMB

Its a 1999 ford ranger 2.5L. I have a 2WD XLT regular cab short bed.

Here is a chart

http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/spec_engines.aspx?modelid=3129&src=vip

It says standard payload is 1260 lbs. I guess its a half ton truck, not a quarter ton.

When I bought my truck (Dodge Ram 1500) it had Goodyear Aquatreads, best wet traction I’ve ever had. Problem was, when I wore them out, I found out they cost around $200 each! That was for 245/75R16, should be cheaper for a Ranger.
Also, get the widest tire you can run; wider footprint = more traction IMO.

Here’s some info that might help;
http://www.discount-tires-online.com/tire-ratings.htm
Check it out.
Peace,
mangeorge

Is your truck an automatic, or manual transmission?

Hmm… The ass end of the truck is trying to pass you. The front end has the breaking power. Every vehicle is that way. When you brake, as the car slows, weight is transferred to the front.

You may want to reconsider your driving style, and get some better tires.

Another possiable cause, do you drive w/ the tailgate down or w/o a tailgate to save fuel?

Besides it’s questionable fuel savings (I’ve seen the opposite) the lack of a tailgate cause air to have to travel dow further, this actually causes ‘lift’ on the rear end and reduced tractiuon.

Adding weight over the rear should increase traction at take off if you’re taking off slowly, but will be detrimental to any type of cornering. We’re not talking snow here, so you probably won’t be going that slow around turns. Remember, going around a turn, the mass will want to swing wide more than gravity will want to push it down.

This might be true, in very low speed situations, but at anything other than parking lot speeds, that wider foot print will want to skim on top of the water like a boat, rather than cut through it to the pavement.
As for the OP, I would just get some decent rain tires. www.tirerack.com has some good info too, along with all the wet/dry traction ratings for all the tires they carry.

I have an automatic transmission and I have a leather tonneau cover with the tailgate up.

My driving style isn’t bad or anything. Its just sometimes when I am at turning a corner the end slides occasionally. I hope sand will fix that. Also I’m somewhat poor so should I replace all four tires or just the rear tires?

You know something, Wesley, if there’s a good, reputable tire dealer in your area, your best bet probably is to go to them and tell them your problem. It may be no more than reducing the pressure in youir tires. You don’t have to take their advice, but you can consider it. Keep in mind what you’ve learned here and ask the experts. They surely know the conditions in your area better than we do.

It’s a 2wd we are talking about? If it’s a 4x4, that changes things a bit.

If you are driving at reasonable speeds and have reasonably good tires, there is NO reason that the rear end of the truck should be sliding.

Period.

So possibly…

Booker57 said -

I think Booker57 nailed it. Limited-slip differentials can lock when going around a corner. When it senses that one wheel is making more revolutions that the other, the dif will lock. Great if you are stuck in mud or on ice, but bad news just going around a corner (the inside wheel does not spin as fast as the outside wheel).

If, on a corner, the differential locks, one wheel will loose all traction and skid a bit.

Take the truck and a friend to an open parking lot. Make some tight turns. Have the friend watch the rear wheels. Look for a skip, where one wheel is turning and the other drags.

If that’s the case, you should have Ford take a look at it. Like mangeorge said, get some experts.

This works on snow, but not so good in rain. For rain you don’t want more surface area of the tire in contact with the road, because if you end up with a large flat surface it’s just going to want to hydroplane (basically the same thing that No Disguise was saying about wider tires). For rain you want deep channels in the tire that will force the water out and let the higher points in the tire dig down through the water and contact the road for traction. There are many tires specifically made for rain traction. As the others have said, check your local tire dealer.

Most cars and trucks these days have all season tires. Since they are a compromise between all different conditions, they tend to suck in rain and snow. If you get tires specifically designed for rain in the warm weather and tires specifically designed for snow in cold weather you’ll do much better, but of course this can be rather painful for your wallet.