How To Choose Tire Chains

Driving in the snow can be dangerous at times. Instinct will tell you to drive carefully and more slowly on snowy days but that may not be enough. Your car will need tire chains to give you more traction and control of the steering while driving on a snowy day.

There are many tire chains on the market these days but you cannot just go on a shopping spree and expect that what you have bought will be perfect for your car's tires. There are many things to think of in choosing tire chains and here are just some of them:

  1. Consult your owner's manual. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has classifications on cars and this will dictate the kind of tire chains that you need to buy. For example, Class S means that there should be at least 1.46 inches from the thread face of the tire to its wheel well and 0.59 inches from the side wall of the tires to its nearest obstruction. Know the class of your car and shop for the appropriate chains.
  2. Know your car's exact tire size. This will help you narrow down your chain choices. However, understand that there are still differences of up to 7% in tire sizes depending on your tire manufacturer. So when you buy tire chains, ask first if they allow returns or replacements should the tire chains fail to fit.
  3. Compare the types of chains available and see what is perfect for you. Tire chains are not just ordinary chain. Here are the three types of tire chains that you may encounter on the market:
    a. Winter Traction Devices. These chains will give you traction and steering control greatly based on their pattern. A common wind traction device pattern is 'ladder' and these have existed for decades now. Recently other patterns like zigzags, "Z" pattern, and "X" pattern have been developed. Consult your owner's manual first and see if these new patterns will work for your car.
    b. Cable Chains. These are the most popular chains on the market today because drivers find them easy to install and to remove. Drivers also attest that it gives them a smoother ride.
  4. Know your state's laws on tire chain use. Some states do not allow metal tire chains especially those with metal studs.
  5. Buy tire chains for all four tires. Provide your car with the most traction while driving on a snowy road. If you install tire chains only on the drive wheels, you will just have steering control. Invest in all four tire chains and avoid accidents.

Buying tire chains is important if you are living in a place that has a snowy or icy winter. Just consider all of these factors in buying your tire chains and you are on your way to a safer ride on a snowy day.


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