Knowing how to put on snow chains before driving out into bad winter weather is essential. In this article, we will cover some of the most important facts.
When you are driving on mountain roads or live in a state with frequent snowstorms it is all part of the driving skills needed. Stay safe while driving by understanding how winter chains work, how to remove them, and when, even if you already have snow tires installed.
When to Use Snow Chains
Tire chains should be used during periods of prolonged snowfall accumulating on the roadway.
Exactly when to put a chain around your tire is important. In the event that you do use them on dry or cleared roads, risks substantial damage to your tires and the highway. There are laws to cover this so always check the local regulations on their use.
The list of Do’s and Don’ts below gives you an indication of how and when to use them.
- Use them on a cleared road.
- Exceed 30 mph.
- Buy the correct product for your tire size.
- Practice installing and removing.
- Adjust when necessary (during your journey).
- Get them on before driving in snowy road conditions.
How to Put Snow Chains on Tires (Step By Step)
Read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to install snow chains before following these steps.
- Always park in a safe spot away from other vehicles before carrying out your chain installation process. Double-check that your parking brake is on.
- Identify correct tires. A front-wheel-drive vehicle will need them on the front tires. A rear-wheel-drive car on the back and a 4wd (all-wheel drive) need one on each tire.
- Remove and detangle. Roll out the chain checking that nothing is tangled or twisted.
- Hang evenly. Place the chain over the top of the tire with even spacing. Ensuring both the outside and inside of the tire have an even length.
- Connect and double-check. Make the proper connections per the instructions and check that it is secure.
- Repeat. Do the same on the other tire(s).
- Inch forward. Slowly drive forward for about 15 ft forward so that the chains settle in.
- Check and retighten. Look to see if each tire chain is secure and snug, adjust if necessary.
How to Remove Snow Chains
Always remove as and when is necessary. This may be before the end of your trip so be prepared.
- Park safely. Safety first, so find a spot away from other traffic if possible.
- Find the best tire position. Try to get the fastenings on the top for easier removal.
- Release the locks. Open the fastening mechanism according to the instructions.
- Remove the chains. After putting the first chain flat on the ground, repeat on the other side(s).
- Drive forward/backward. Leaving the chains on the ground, about the car length allowing you to pick them up safely.
- Carefully collect trying not to tangle. Try to fold up the chain as neatly as possible and place it back in its casing.
- Let dry. Once home, lay the chains out to rinse and dry so that they do not rust.
How Do Snow Chains Work & How Effective Are Snow Chains?
By increasing the traction between the vehicle and the road gives extra grip which makes driving in snowy or icy conditions a safer experience.
Although tire chains come in different designs how they work does not change. The chain digs in deeper than any type of tire ever could, making them an efficient winter accessory for your vehicle.
What Size Snow Chains Do I Need and How Many Snow Chains Are Required?
People often ask how many snow chains do I need and which tires do you put snow chains on. They only need to be fitted on the two drive axle tires, however, if you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle then they can be fitted onto all 4 wheels.
How to choose snow chains starts with knowing the right size.
- Check the car manual. This should mention if there is enough clearance or if you need a specialized model.
- Find the P-number on the side of the tire. The tire chains and P-number should fully match.
- Decide on the right type. The type of chain required is dependent on the conditions you will be facing. In general, there are three options for you, they are:
- Best for light snowfall: cable chains
- Best for heavy snowfall: large squares or twist links
- Best for ice: icebreakers or spikes
People Also Ask (Frequently Asked Questions)
There you have it guys. But maybe you are left wonder a few things, like how much do snow chains cost? Snow chains can cost between $50-$200. The question of how much are snow chains depends because you get what you pay for. Here are a few more answers to questions you may have.
Do you need snow tires if you have chains?
Use snow tires during mild winters but upgrade to chains when expecting thicker layers of snow or ice.
How fast can you drive with chains on?
You should not exceed 20-30 mph with chains on your tires. Going faster can cause damage or the chain to snap.
Do chains ruin your tires?
When installed and used correctly snow chains do not ruin your tires. Don’t drive on dry roads and stay below 30 mph.
What can I use instead of snow chains?
Snow socks can be used instead of snow chains, but they do not offer as much traction.