One of the most important vehicle accessories to have is a snow chain. This is if you live in a place that snows. Snow chains help you drive through snow as well as a slippery icy road. When driving on snow, the treads on your tires are not enough to produce friction. This may result in your car swerving off the road among other potential hazards. This is where snow chains come in. By attaching a snow chain to your tires, your tires get a good grip with the ground and can easily cut through the snow as you drive. This will give you control over your car no matter how deep the snow is.
In this Surf’n’Buy’s guide, we tackle everything snow chains and help you pick the best set of snow chains for your ride. We tell you what to look for in a snow chain, the different types available, tips and tricks and most importantly, we give you our top five snow chains in the market. Are you ready to buy some awesome chains for your car?
Take a look at our list of the top 3 snow chains in 2019.
Top 3 Snow Chains
1. Security Chain SZ143 Super Z6: Snow Chains for Passenger Cars, Pickups, and SUVs
- Designed for cars, pickups, and SUVs with very limited operating clearance around the drive tires
- Fast easy installation with no need to move the vehicle
- Designed-in rubber tightener means there is no need to stop and retighten after installation
- Better all-around traction performance than conventional tire chains or cables
- Better compatibility with anti-lock brakes, traction control, all-wheel drive, and other electronically monitored control systems
It keeps your tires fastened at all times. The cable tire chain is fantastic for your car tires whether you drive an SUV, pickup or a passenger vehicle. There is little operating clearance that you need when using this chains. It is easy to install because they have two positions to tie up even when the car is stationary and right where it is. Their design features a rubber tightening that ensures you do not stop to fasten the chains after installation. You do not go through the hassle of moving your vehicle to install the Super Z6 cable tire chain. The Z6 cable tire chain has all round traction which is a feature that is not available in any other car cables on the market.
Traction control, four wheel drive and workability with anti-lock brakes are also available features that the Z6 supports. Compatible with electronic systems. All electronic systems in your vehicle are compatible with the chains and will not cause any problems for you when driving. They are very lightweight chains, weighing at 1 pound and only takes up half the space that ordinary chains take up.
- The Super Z6 is very easy to install especially because of their split cable that has two positions for tightening. When you need to put the chains in, you do not even have to move the vehicle. Once you fit in place, there is no reason to stop and fasten.
- The Super Z6 is a new design that only requires 6.33mm. It is an impressive feature that is less than what most cable chains take up. All vehicles that have lesser clearance on their sides are more suited for the Super Z6 cable tire chains.
- They are durable because they are built from steel alloy. The strength of the steel makes them very durable and offer services for a lot longer. It also ensures that the chains do not scratch easily when in use.
- They have impeccable performance track record mainly because the Z6 have high compatibility with electronic vehicles and functionalities in your vehicle. They allow you all wheel drive, traction control, and anti-lock brakes.
- Diversity is the language the Super Z6 speaks best, they are compatible with different car types and offer the best performance for each vehicle. They are protective for your vehicle. When on the move, there is no damage caused to the body of the car which is made possible by its unique design.
- Using the chains limits the speeds at which you can drive. The recommended speeds are between 30-50kph to ensure that the vehicle does not lose control especially when braking and maneuvering all corners.
- Have a high tendency of coming into contact with the body of the vehicle. When this happens, the best thing to do is remove the chains to avoid damages to the vehicle. If during the installation the chains do not fit the tires perfectly, do not use them.
- There is no manufacturer’s warranty on wheels or the damages caused by the chains if the user does not account for the clearance space required and uses the chains without all the necessary requirements for them to work.
- The chains are subject to breakages when used for a long time and in some cases when not properly installed, they tend to snap and may cause damage to your vehicle when on the move.
The Security Chain SZ143 Super Z6 are amazing cable tire chains that give value for your money and will work great when properly installed. They have all the features that beat most of the other car chains. This is a fact that places these chains at the top of their game and makes them a great recommendation for your vehicle’s needs.
2. Konig CB12: Easy to Install and Remove Snow Chains
- 215/70-14, 195/80-15, 215/70-15, 225/65-15, 235/60-15, 215/60-16 (Continental Conti Premium Contact 2), 225/55-16, 235/50-16, 245/45-16, 215/50-17 Kleber Krisalp, 215/55-17, 225/50-17, 235/45-17, 225/45-18, 235/40-18, 235/35-19
- The simple and sturdy manual tensioning chain.
- 12 mm inside and on-the-tread clearance.
- Certifications: Ö-Norm 5117, UNI 11313, TÜV.
Safe to use on ABS and ESP car systems. Konig CB12 is a new line of snow chains that are 12mm of excellent quality and service to the user. Especially when the ground gets snow covered, these chains will help you get where you need to be. Unique chain design – It adds to the performance of the chains. They are designed to be easy to fit. When you follow the instructions in the user manual, you are able to fix them quickly and get moving immediately. The points of installation are colored which makes it easier to find them and follow the instructions.
Comes with a five-year warranty. The Konig CB12 are made by Thule which is an automobile company. The warranty gives you the confidence that you need to purchase them. Their durability is affirmed by the duration of the warranty. The chains are made from steel which is a durable metal that ensures they do not wear quickly. It also ensures that they have a smaller gauge and in turn, you do not feel their impact when driving as there is no impact on them. D-shape links that add traction to the chains. They increase the life of the chains.
- Konig CB12 are affordable chains that give you value for your money. When you purchase, you do not dent your pocket, instead, you save money from buying these chains.
- The design of these chains is much better and more advanced than other chains. It has a steel alloy that is hard and maximizes the durability of the chains. The design also ensures that when traveling, you do not constantly have to readjust the chains because they have a self-centering feature that allows for them to tighten themselves.
- They are very easy to fix, which makes them an excellent choice because they will not disappoint. When put in place, they offer excellent services and are very reliable as they do not break easily.
- They have a five-year warranty that assures users of their durability, effectiveness, and reliability especially because of how great their traction is.
- The hooks are made of plastic which tends to break. Some will break during the first ride while others wear out after several uses making the chains weak.
- If you do not install the chains correctly they cause damages to your vehicle which in turn costs you money for repairs.
- The instructions in the user manual are not very easy to follow which makes the installation difficult for most of the first time users.
- Only works with specific vehicles and tire sizes which are limiting to most users who would love to use the chains for their vehicles during snow season.
The Konig CB12 are great Italian chains that work great for users. They help people navigate the snowy roads and get to where they need to be. It is a highly competitive product in the market that comes highly recommended by most people who have used it. It is affordable, reliable and performs great especially when you fit it correctly. The main issue with the chains is that they have plastic hooks which are prone to breaking. The five year warranty is a welcome addition to the chain since it gives users confidence in the chains and their durability.
3. Quality Chain Cobra 1046: Quality Cable Chains
- Sold in Pairs (2 Chains/Covers 2 Tires)
- Rubber Adjusters Sold Separately (Quality Chain Part# 0212) (Recommended)
- SAE Class "S" Clearance
- Not for Use on Trailers
Eases mobility in the snow. The Cobra Cable chains are a fantastic product that offers users an opportunity to cruise through the snow. When it is snowed out, and it’s tough to make your way around, tire chains are a great help, and one of the available chains is the Cobra chains. Durable and tough. They are built to withstand the hardships of driving in snow. They give resistance to your tires to make them be able to move without skidding in the snow. The materials used are robust and vigorous to ensure that they can stand the weight of the car and support it at the same time.
Made from carbon steel. It is a metal used which does not break easily and gives the chains durability. It also gives the chains traction. They are built low and small which allows the tire to get into contact with the ground for efficiency and safety. Reduces noise and vibrations. These tire chains, the Cobra cable are also designed to reduce noise when you are moving in snow and absorb the vibrations resulting from the movement. The Cobra cable chains are protected from rust and are easy to install and to fix. Built for Vehicles with a small clearance. This means that trailers and any big vehicles cannot use the Cobra chains as they would not fit. SAE class are the only cleared vehicles. They come with rubber adjusters.
- They are very effective, they ensure that the vehicles tire touches the road so that movement is easier and faster increasing the speeds in snow
- Made from strong metal that gives the chains a long life, strength, and reliability because they do not easily break even when used for more than one seasons.
- When the vehicle is in motion, there is no noise or vibrations experienced because the chains are built low which puts the tires on the ground and there is no struggle through the snow.
- Cobra Chains are an affordable chain brand that guarantees you get your money’s worth when you purchase them. Not only will they serve you great but they will last a long time meaning that you won’t need to dig into your pocket very often.
- They are available for a great range of tire sizes for many types of vehicles which make them a go-to for many users,
- Cannot be used in larger vehicles like trailers. The only available range of sizes is for smaller vehicles.
- Affect the handling on the vehicle, they can make a driver lose control of the vehicle and be all over the road
- They are heavy chains that weigh 9.1 pounds which add more weight to the vehicle. This also makes them cumbersome when installing them onto the vehicle
The Quality Chain Cobra 1046 are a great help when it comes to the snowy seasons and investing in a pair is a great idea. They may have some disadvantages like how heavy they are, but that should not stop any driver from getting this quality chains for their vehicle. The design and technology used in making the chains ensure that they offer a comfortable drive and are reliable and assure your safety during such times. They are an affordable tire chain that. Besides the few setbacks that only a handful of users experience, the effectiveness, and reliability of these chains is unquestionable. Get the best chains for your vehicles needs without overly stretching your budget or running into any problems.
How To Distinguish a Quality Snow Chain From a Cheap One
If you plan to drive in the snow, it is important to have a set of quality snow chains. They are used to increase the traction of your wheels for safer driving. In some states, you are legally required to carry a snow chain in your car especially when the snow has reached a certain depth. This shows the importance of owning a pair. While you have to work around your budget, it is important to choose a good quality snow chain. Here is how to distinguish a quality snow chain from a cheap one.
- Class rating: Quality snow chains have their class rating clearly indicated on them for your reference. Cheap ones may not have their class rating indicated at all. As you pick a set of snow chains, look for this detail. Ensure that they are rated as SAE Class S. This class of snow chains is ideal for cars which are front-wheel drive and have low ground clearance levels. It is the class which you should buy. If your car has a high ground clearance, make sure to research and find out the ideal class of snow chains for it.
- Exact size rating: Some cheap snow chains are marketed as one size fits all. Not only is this misleading, it is dangerous. Each snow chain has its own unique size rating for the various types of tires available today. Thus, check to see the size rating of a snow chain prior to purchase. You can be guided by the information on the sidewall of your tire. Every tire has some information about its size. This is presented in form of a unique code, for example, P265/70S16. This code represents the width of the tire, its height ratio, and diameter too. Thus, pick a quality snow chain which has the same size rating as your tire.
- The rating of its speed: Every set of quality snow chains has a speed rating that indicates the maximum speed which you can drive with them on. Cheap ones may not have this information indicated on them. Therefore, to identify a set of quality snow chains, check to see if there is a speed rating indicated on it.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Snow Chain
You can’t just grab the first set of snow chains you find at your nearest store. There are some factors you ought to keep in mind before settling for a snow chain for your car. Find out below.
Ease of Installation
As you choose the right snow chain for your car, pick the one that is easiest to install. Easy installation allows you to act fast in case of unexpected snowfall. Also, make sure it comes with easy to understand instructions. This gives you a chance to understand how the chains work and react fast in case of anything. If they come with illustrations, the better.
Choose a Good Quality Product at the Right Price
You will have to buy a snow chain depending on your budget. But as much as you compare your budget to the price of the product, keep in mind that cheap snow chains may not be the best option for you. This is because in most cases, snow chains that are too cheap end up getting worn out fast. Instead of focusing too much on the price of your snow chain, think more in the lines of quality. Then, you will be able to get snow chains that will serve you for a while before wearing out.
Pick a Suitable Link Pattern for You
Different snow chains have different link patterns. Each one has its own benefits and purpose. If you are going to drive on icy roads which are slippery, pick a snow chain which has a diagonal link pattern. If you are going to drive on snowy roads where grip and longevity are of top priority, pick the square link snow chains. Do you plan to venture off-road with your car during the snow season? In that case, pick snow chains with a ladder-like pattern. They will maximize grip for you.
Choose Durable Snow Chains
Good quality snow chains should be as durable as possible. They must remain in the great condition throughout years of use. Even if you use them often, they should remain durable and resist any wear and tear. Thus, choose a reliable brand of snow chains. How do you know chin is durable? Through research. Who would want to have their chain break in the middle of a snow storm? Definitely not me!
Best Snow Chain Brands
Inno is a renowned company for making excellent snow chains, based in Japan. They make their products out of a special material known as polyurethane. The material is so effective that INNO snow chains are provided as original equipment to the Toyota Motor Company and exported worldwide. One of their most effective models is the INNO Quick and Easy. This one holds firmly against your tires for extra grip. Moreover, you can drive on a snowy or icy tarmac for up to 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) with them before they begin to wear off. Snow chains from the INNO brand feature special tungsten carbide studs that maximize grip and efficiency.
MAGGI is a well-known Italian brand of snow chains. They manufacture various types of chains other than snow chains. Examples are anchor chains and crane lifting chains too. Two of their outstanding snow chain models are The ONE and the TRAK snow chains. The ONE is a snow chain which features a unique, patented self-tensioning system. It makes use of elastomer balls to maintain the tightness of the chains. However, it also allows the chains to flex according to changes in the shape of the tire. The TRAK range of snow chains can fit on the outer side of your tires without requiring any extra tools for installation. With these models and more, MAGGI is a force to reckon with in the snow chain industry.
This is a brand of snow chains which is based in Northern Italy. There are many Thule models of snow chains available for you. Examples of these are the K-Summit and the Easy-fit automatic snow chains. This brand is unique because its snow chains do not tangle. Moreover, they are easy to install and remove. If you have a low profile car and the space between your tire and the wheel well is limited, the Thule snow chains are perfect for you. They are durable as well.
Specially built for light trucks and SUVs, Security Chain is a reliable snow chain brand. The snow chains from this brand can be installed easily. Moreover, they provide substantial traction as you drive on icy or snow covered roads. This brand is well known for being superb for off-road driving in snowy conditions. Therefore, they are a brand associated with heavy duty or hardcore driving.
RUD is a snow chain brand based in Germany. This brand is the top provider of ultra-high quality snow chains in Germany. One of their models is the RUD-matic Classic V which is designed for 4×4 vehicles. This model features specialty steel which has a high resistance against wearing out. Thanks to the quality of this snow chain’s construction, the British Army among other organizations gets its supply of this model from RUD. Snow chains from this brand are delivered in attractive and convenient packaging. The cases are waterproof and offer cushioning for you to kneel on as you fit the RUD snow chains on your car. This is a reliable brand of snow chains today.
This is a brand of snow chains from Switzerland. They are unique in terms of their construction from all other snow chains in the world. Spikes-Spider snow chains do not actually grip the tire. They are fixed upon a special plate which you attach to the wheel rim. The chains then float around the tire without actually touching it. By having this mechanism, they are able to clean themselves as you drive. In addition to that, Spikes-Spider snow chains are held next to the wheel rim by 5 individual points of contact. In this way, they are more reliable. This technology is patented by the Swiss company Confon. You can actually resize the Spikes-Spider snow chains to fit various sizes of tires. Thus, you experience long term value for your money. This brand is recognized for its top quality and the Spikes-Spider snow chains are supplied to Jaguar Land Rover as original equipment.
Choosing the Best Snow Chain for Your Needs
There are very many models and designs of snow chains available in the market. And guess what? Every brand claims to meet your needs. Thus, it can be challenging to find an ideal type of snow chain for your car. Here is how to choose the best snow chain for your car.
The Snow Chain Specifications Set by Your Automobile Manufacturer
Every car manufacturer normally specifies the class of snow chains which is ideal for their motor vehicles. This class information is found in the user manual of your car. You should always use the right class of snow chains for your car. If you use the wrong one, you could actually damage your suspension, brakes, wheels or other car components. The most versatile class of snow chains is the SAE Class S. This one can fit on modern front-wheel cars. Moreover, this class is perfect for cars which have low ground clearance. Thus, if you drive a sedan, a coupe or any other car which has average to low clearance, this is the class for it. Otherwise, check your snow chain class and purchase an appropriate one.
The Size of Your Tires
Since snow chains go on the tires of your car, you should always buy a set of chains which fits them perfectly. This is important because the wrong size of snow chains will not give your car the right amount of traction. Moreover, if they are smaller than your tires, then they will be too taut and break easily. Therefore, check the size of your car tires before you go shopping for some snow chains. You can tell the size of your tires from the code indicated on its sidewall. An example of this one is 205 455 R 17. The first group of numbers gives you the width of your tires in mm (millimeters), the second one gives you the tire height ratio while the third group of numbers gives you its diameter. With these details of your tire size, you can purchase a set of snow chains that can fit perfectly.
Is Your Car Compatible With Snow Chains?
There are some cars which are not designed to use snow chains. They are designed to be used with snow cables instead. These ones work on the same principle as snow chains but are very different in structure and installation method. Therefore, check the owner’s manual of your car so as to see if you can actually use a snow chain. This is an important factor to consider because snow chains and cables are actually not interchangeable.
Consider the Speed Rating of the Snow Chains
Every set of snow chains has a specific speed rating. This is the maximum speed that you can drive at while having the snow chains fitted on your car. Some snow chains have a speed rating of 24mph (miles per hour) while others have a speed rating of 30mph. It is important to know that a higher speed rating does not necessarily indicate a superior set of snow chains. Thus, check for the speed rating of snow chains prior to purchase.
The Particular Type of Snow Chains Which You Desire
There are three main types of snow chains available in the market. Each one has its own special characteristics. These types include:
- Entry-level snow chains: These are the most affordable type of snow chains. They help you to increase the traction of your car. They are ideal for periodic use and light snow or ice coverage. If you live in an area where it snows rarely, this is the type to get. They come with special accessories such as tighteners. Entry-level snow chains are attractive because they are very affordable. Thus, they are a good choice of emergency snow chains for passenger cars.
- Standard snow chains: These are snow chain sets which are effective, relatively durable and extremely affordable for you. They are better than other snow chain alternatives and come with all the accessories which you need for the purpose of installation. If you live in an area which gets regular snowfall, standard snow chains are a great addition to your car accessory collection. They can get you through one season of winter comfortably.
- Premium snow chains: This is a superior type of snow chains. They are able to perform high response braking and have maximized grip too. In addition to that, they are constructed out of strong, durable materials such as stainless steel. Premium snow chains are built to last over several winter seasons. In addition to that, they are convenient. This is made possible by additional accessories which make them easy to install. As a matter of fact, premium snow chains can be installed on your car in less than 5 minutes. If you are searching for highly reliable snow chains, premium ones are the ideal choice for you.
Snow Chain Accessories and Parts
Side Chain Fasteners
These help you to fasten your snow chain firmly on the sides of your tires. There are two main types of side chain fasteners. These include the long bar and the fold over side chain fasteners. They are available in various sizes for medium sized trucks, large ones, graders and farm tractors. There is also an extra heavy duty fold over side fastener with a locking plate. This one is ideal for large graders or tractors. These accessories are priced differently for each size.
Snow Chain Adjusters
Snow chain adjusters apply tension on the chains. This keeps them in place tightly as you drive and increases their life span. If you want to get the best performance from your snow chains, this accessory is necessary. These adjusters are mounted on the snow chain side that is in contact with the ground. For best results, you should install a pair of adjusters for every set of snow chains. The different types of snow chain adjusters are regular car adjusters, SUV or truck adjusters, and tractor snow chain adjusters.
Snow Chain Installation Ramps
It is important to ensure that your tire is centered perfectly as you install the snow chain. This is so that it can perform as intended. The snow chain installation ramp helps you to install the snow chain without having to keep moving your car back and forth. By simply parking it atop the ramp, you can slip the snow chain on firmly and correctly. It is very important for the snow chain installation ramp to stay firm as you park your car atop it and fit the snow chain. To ensure this, it has a ribbed bottom surface which boosts its traction.
Snow chain installation ramps are made of hardened plastic and can handle weight capacities of between 7,000 lb. (pounds) and 15,000 lb. per pair. They can also work with almost all types of chains, for example, those which are 5/16 thick or smaller in size. In addition to that, they are waterproof and easy to store.
Cross Chain Hooks
These are small but very important parts for your snow chain. There are two main sections of every snow chain setup. These are the side chain and the cross chain. These ones need to be fastened to each other firmly after fitting the snow chain on your tires. Cross chain hooks are used for fastening. They are available in various sizes depending on the motor vehicle which you are going to use it on. These hooks are available for automobiles such as passenger cars, trucks, tractors and graders.
Snow Chain Tips and Tricks
When all is said and done, it is up to you chose the snow chain that best fit your needs. However, there are some tips and trick which can make this process run along much more smoothly. Have a look.
Always Pick Snow Chains Which Can Fit on Your Tires
Just as there are many sizes of tires available in the market, there are also many sizes of snow chains for you. There are snow chains which fit on tires wrapped around 16, 18 and 20-inch rims. Thus, you need to check the size of your tire and then get some snow chains which match it. Snow chains have another specification too. This is their inner dimension and clearance on the tread. The ones in the market range from 10mm through 12mm to 16mm tread clearance. Therefore, make sure you pick snow chains that can fit on your tires and are deep enough in your tire treads to provide great traction. This helps you to receive the best performance from them. It also prevents the snow chains from damaging your tires.
Practice How to Install Your Snow Chains at Home Before You Begin Driving
The process of installing snow chains has been made very easy by modern accessories. In under less than 5 minutes, you can install snow chains on your car. Despite this, you still need to practice how to install them while at home. This makes it easier for you to do it when you hit the icy road. Moreover, if you are using manual tensioner snow chains, you need to practice so that you can master how to add tension to them whenever required.
Fix Snow Chains Immediately if They Fail While Driving
Sometimes, when you are driving, a snow chain can break. It could be caused by excessively rough terrain or your error. If this happens, you will notice a loss in traction and maybe a crackling sound as you drive. In such a case, stop your car immediately and fix them. It is important to know the causes of snow chain breakage. The main one is over speeding. Every set of snow chains has a maximum speed limit. Some of them have a limit of 24mph (miles per hour) while others are limited to 30mph. Thus, as soon as you buy some snow chains, check to see the recommended maximum speed by the manufacturer. Remain within this speed whenever you are driving and your snow chains will remain in great working order. Moreover, avoid spinning your wheels at all costs. Accelerate slowly and hold the speed lower than the recommended one.
Maintain Responsible Driving Habits
Your manner of driving has a direct effect on your snow chains. Therefore, make sure that you do not lock your wheels when you brake. This can cause your snow chains to break. Also, make sure that you do not hit curbs as you corner. This can damage the linking chains. In addition to that, you should not drive your car on a bare pavement when you have some snow chains fitted on its tires. This can cause abrasion and wear them down prematurely. It can also drive the snow chains into your tires causing damage.
Only Utilize Snow Chains on Icy or Snowy Roads
These chains are designed for use on the snow and ice. They are not meant to be used on any other type of surface. Moreover, they are meant to be installed on regular types of tires. If you have snow tires already installed on your car, you do not need to install any snow chains on top of them. This is because snow tires are already designed such that they have deep tread and snowy weather rubber. Moreover, some of them have studs which improve traction. So if you already have some snow tires, you don’t need to add any snow chains on them. Moreover, only use these chains whenever it has snowed or there is ice on the roads.
It is very important to pick a good quality snow chain for your car. This is so that you can maximize safety as you drive through ice or snow. When going for snow chains, don’t just settle for any kind or perhaps the cheap one. You may think you are saving some money but in the end, you will end up spending more on repairs or worse, end up in an accident. Use the features we have given you to check against a snow chain before you buy. Also, consider your needs when buying a set for your car. We all come with different needs so we cannot all buy the same snow chains. Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the size of your tires.
Also, remember that snow chain accessories help in fast and easy installation so if you can, get as many as you can afford. Consider Surf’n’Buy’s top 3 snow chains when buying a set for your car as well the brands we have given you. Finally, always remember to research about a product online before buying. This will help you avoid buying products that may give you hard time in future. That’s about everything there is to know about snow chains. I hope you get an excellent set for your car!