Tires slip on wet pavement

I have a set of Michelin Harmonytires on my '99 Toyota Sienna minivan. Lately I’ve noticed, moreso than when I put the tires on, that they have poor performance on wet pavement. In particular, sometimes the front wheels (FWD) spin when I pull away when the light turns green. I don’t seem to have any problem stopping. The tires still have plenty of tread, and no signs of uneven wear.

It was especially noticable today (in the rain) when I was at an exit ramp light where both lanes turn left and go uphill. As I accelerated around the corner and uphill, I started spinning out of the turn. (Easy to correct, but surprising.)

They are touted as long-wear tires–are these just a hard-compound tire and I should expect this? Inflated too hard? Manufacturer’s spec is 35 PSI and that’s where I keep them.

Long-wear and good gas mileage tend to show up along with bad wet traction.
Underinflation tends to hurt gas mileage less than underinflation does.
Try two gauges. If your pressure gauge is reading off, such that you’re underinflating the tires, poor traction will ensure.

It’s probably just your tires being teh ghey.
Michelin tends towards hard compounds.

BTW, it pays to check tire reviews on

Here’s one for this tire, which leads me to believe that your conclusion is not unprecedented.
2000 Nissan Altima GLE More Tire Reviews for This Vehicle
Miles driven on tires: 60,000
Location: Bloomington, IN
Driving Condition: Combined Highway/City
Driving Style: Average
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Initial Review, 60,000 Miles on Tires
September 21, 2009
I’ve had these tires on for about 6 years and they are awful. I am getting them off this month. They don’t have any traction in rain or snow. The car has been stuck in 3 inches of snow and had to be pushed out. The car has slid off the road in wet conditions, (no, speeding was not involved) and had to be towed out. The life of tread isn’t worth the problems and lack of stability you will have with these tires."

Also consider time and the weather. Do the tires slip on wet pavement all the time, or more so during the first 30-60 minutes after the rain starts? Until the road oils are washed away when it starts raining, wet pavement performance is pretty dismal regardless of the tires.

How many miles on these tires? Have you rotated them on a regular basis to ensure even tread wear? If not, the front tires may be worn down significantly more than the rear. Check front tread, compare with the rear; if front worn more, rotate.

As has been noted, if you’ve got long-wear tires, you’ve probably got low traction to begin with.

Overinflation is the bigger risk, as it reduces the surface area that makes contact with the pavement, thus reducing traction. Underinflation has its own set of drawbacks, so I wouldn’t recommend either of them.

That said, CookingWithGas, you said that “manufacturer’s spec” is 35 psi; is that manufacturer Michelin or Toyota? Always inflate tires to the lower of what’s listed on the sidewall as maximum pressure, and what’s listed on the inside of the driver’s door/your owner’s manual as the recommended pressure.

I got those too, because they were recommended by Consumers Reports. I haven’t noticed any problems with them.

Definitely make sure they’re at the right pressure. The pressure listed on the tire is not the pressure you’re supposed to use. That’s simply the max pressure the tire maker rates them to handle. The pressure you’re supposed to use is listed in either the driver door sill or the glove box.

Good point. Door sticker. I don’t know what’s on the sidewall.

We can agree that barring extensive testing and consulting with a mechanic or automotive engineer, you should run at vehicle OEM suggested pressure.
I’ve seen evidence on certain hypermiling message boards that slight to substantial overinflation enhances traction. I’ve also seen an article in an auto magazine, I want to say R&T, that supports that position.
This probably depends on whether or not your OEM specced your tires with a bias towards comfort or performance.

Good job remembering about the vehicle vs tire point spec, though.

I missed a point: how many miles are on the tires?

I had Michelin HydroEdge’s on my Continental when the OEM tires wore down. I think they were touted as 75,000 mile tires, and I got about 35,000 miles on them before the slipping in water become noticeable, and about an additional 10,000 miles before it became intolerable. There was still acceptable tread left, but I replaced them anyway. Do note that these were supposedly designed for wet conditions.

Because I loved the tires but didn’t want a fake 75,000 guarantee, I replaced them with Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus’s, which only have a 45,000 mile warranty (or none; I don’t remember and the car is out of the warranty coverage area currently).

Although I’ve only put about 5,000 miles on the tires, I’ve gotta say, these things rock on dry pavement and wet, and I’ve yet to feel them break loose on crappy non-banked Mexican tollroads running between 70 mph and 110 mph, even during the rain.

Sure, they’re roughly the same price as the HydroEdge with half the tread-life, but so far worth every penny.