As Winter approaches, you may start thinking about all the adverse weather conditions you drive in during this time of year. Not only do you have to deal with cold temperatures, but you also have to think thru the best approach to driving in snow and ice. You may have seen other vehicles with snow chains and wondered if having those on your vehicle is the best approach.
Within this article, we’ll briefly talk about the benefits and drawbacks of snow chains on your tires, as well as giving you six tips on what to look for if you do install chains on your vehicle.
Why Would I Use Snow Chains on My Vehicle?
There are a multitude of reasons you would use snow chains on your vehicle. The first and most important is they provide you with a better grip on the road when the roads are covered with snow and ice. No matter how new your tires are, once they are wet, they will become more slippery. With chains, this will not be the case as they will allow you to gain a better grip on the road. This is true no matter the surface of the road; whether it is concrete, dirt or gravel, having chains will provide better grip. This is even more important if you live in a rural area where the snow plow doesn’t come around often, or if you drive where there are a bunch of hills.
There are a couple of minor drawbacks. You should never drive fast in snowy or icy conditions ever, but with snow chains on your tires, this is especially true. The maximum speed you should drive with chains on is 25 miles per hour. Also, if you have never driven with chains on before, you will notice it is a very bumpy ride. This is a feeling you will have to become accustomed to, and for some people it is too much.
Tips for Installing Snow Chains on Your Vehicle
Whether you have installed chains on your tires before, or this is your first time, there are some universal tips you should know to make your life easier.
Tip #1 – Know Your Vehicle
When it comes to chains for your vehicle, you need to know a couple of things. The first being, is your vehicle a front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive? You only need to buy chains for the vehicles which actually power your vehicle when moving. The second piece of information is knowing the size of your tire. Although most chains are sold in a couple of universal sizes, you need to ensure your tire size will fit the chain you purchase. No need to have to go to the store twice because you bought the wrong size chain.
Tip # 2 – Don’t Wait for the Snow to Come
If you want to buy a set of chains for your tires, you need to buy them before the winter season comes. You don’t want to be waiting until the Snow is here, then drive your vehicle in the wintery conditions to the store to buy the chains (if they still have them in stock), and then attempt to put them on your tires in the parking lot. Buy the chains in the fall/autumn season, and have them ready to go for when you need them.
Tip #3 – Follow the Instructions
You may think putting on chains onto a vehicle is easy, but if you improperly install the chains, you could ruin your tires or even cause damage to your vehicle. Take the time, read the instructions and make sure you become intimately familiar with the process of both installing and removing the chains for your vehicle.
Tip #4 – Test Them Out Before the First Snow
Since you have now bought the chains ahead of time, you should follow the instructions and take a trial run of putting them on and taking them off your tires. Once again, you don’t want the first time you are installing these chains to be during the first bad winter storm where it is freezing cold outside and you might be in a rush to get somewhere. Take the time and go thru the proper steps of knowing how to put them on during a relaxed time, so when the time comes, you can feel more confident on getting them on quickly.
Tip #5 – Things to Do During Your Test Run
When you test out the chains for the first time, there are a few things to be thinking thru. You may want to test them out at your house, but it is recommended that you find a flat area which is abandoned for a short time. There is nothing worse than attempting to figure out how to put the chains on and then having to move your vehicle in the middle of the process. Additionally, you want to test drive your vehicle with the chains on the tires, and you don’t want to do this in your neighborhood or any road which is busy. There are two reasons for this – one, you should not drive on bare pavement for too long with chains, and two, remember the fastest you can go with chains on is 25 mph. It is recommended that you find a parking lot which is not being used on a week night or a weekend and perform your test here.
Tip #6 – Storing Your Chains
You only need to have chains on your tires when there is snow or ice on the ground. This means you will, more than likely, be taking the chains off and on regularly during the winter season. When you take them off, you will want to lay them out flat in an area where they can dry off. If you crumple the chains together and store them, they will rust, and will not last very long.
Snow Chains for your tires can provide you an extra sense of safety and security, especially if you live in a rural area or drive on some hills during the winter. Hopefully reading thru the six tips above will give you the confidence needed to put the thought of installing snow chains onto your tires into action.