Learning Center / Tips for Using Snow Chains


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Snow might be pretty to look at from your window, with a cup of hot cocoa in hand, but it does not make for the best driving conditions. With colder weather quickly approaching and snowy days right around the corner, having the tips and tricks necessary to combat harsh driving conditions is imperative. This being said, investing in snow chains, also known as tire chains or cables, is a winter weather essential. Unsure whether you need snow chains or why you should utilize them? Keep reading to learn 6 tips for using snow chains.

6 Tricks to Using Snow Chains on Your Car

1. Understand How and Why They Work

When roads get icy or snowy, you want to make sure your tires have proper traction to avoid accidents. Snow chains provide the peace of mind you need because they cover wheels of a vehicle and give tires better traction when stuck in snow. They help tires get a stronger grip on the harshest and slipperiest of roads, allowing improved rotation of the wheels. The chains also prevent skidding and aid with hydroplaning if you are driving on black ice or through melting snow.

2. Explore Different Chain Features

All chains are not created equally, as some handle certain types of terrain or road conditions better than others. Make sure you know how many chains you need, and what type they should be. If you have a 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive vehicle, you will probably need 2 sets of snow chains instead of just one set for 2-wheel drive. Do your research before you buy, learning which chain suits your vehicle, the terrain you most frequently encounter, and what kind of chain you can buy within your budget.

3. Choose the Right Size for Your Tires

Snow chains are useless if they do not fit snugly around your tires. Incorrect chain size can undermine performance of your tires, and may even cause damage and stalling to tires and your vehicle. To find out if your tires can be equipped with tire chains (not all vehicles can), make sure you know how to check your tire size, and then consult your vehicle’s manual, maintenance guide, or tire dealer accordingly. Once you have verified that there are no warnings or regulations you should by mindful of, you are ready to purchase your snow chains.

4. Practice Installation at Home

If you know how to use the chains before you head out, the experience of using them will be much easier and less stressful when it matters. Understanding how to keep chains from tangling, how to tighten them as needed, and how to take them off ahead of time will make you more prepared to use the chains in the future.

5. Be Mindful of Driving Habits

Your driving style can affect the performance of your chains, so be extra careful about spinning tires, hitting curbs, locking wheels when you brake, or driving on bare pavement that is not covered by snow or ice. Also, be sure to stay under 30 mph and accelerate slowly and evenly. Any of these poor driving habits will compromise how well your chains work, jeopardizing your safety and causing premature wear on your chains and tires.

6. Only Use Chains as Necessary

Another big component of learning about snow chains before you purchase them is knowing when you do or do not need to use them. You do not need snow chains when driving in wet weather or on snowless roads. Additionally, if you already have snow tires, it is likely that chains are not needed because snow tires are designed with deeper tread and rubber that is more appropriate for cold weather. Whether you need chains also depends on local requirements, as snow tires will suffice a lot of the time.

Shop for Tires Online

With the 6 tips above and a little bit of research, you will be a pro at driving in snowy conditions. It is essential to learn how, why and when to use snow chains before you buy them, and TreadHunter helps make all of your driving experiences a breeze. Learn how simple it is to buy new tires with us once you start your search today!