During the winters, drivers should take extra caution when driving. Snow and ice can spell trouble, especially for those drivers who do not have experience driving in those conditions, or those who fail to prepare. One of the most important aspects of winter car preparation is tire care. Snow tire chains provide one option for drivers who find themselves in slick conditions.

The first rule of tire chains is to make sure they can actually be used on your vehicle. That means dragging out the old owner’s manual. After ensuring that tire chains are safe for your car, truck, of SUV, check with local law enforcement officers to make sure that chains are legal in your state. When shopping for snow tire chains, make sure that they fit the tires before actual use. Tire chains should be pre-fit long before going out into the snow. Drivers should carefully follow the directions of installing their tire chains, which should be applied as tightly as possible by hand. When installing the chains, tires should be at normal inflation – no deflating the tires for an easier application process! After putting the tire chains on all four tires, drive about one-quarter of a mile, then stop and retighten. When driving with snow tire chains, drivers should not exceed 30 miles per hour.

For cars, there are many snow tire chain options to choose from. Cable chains are the most economical choice; they are lightweight and often have galvanized steel rollers for increased traction on vehicles with limited fender clearance. Twist link chains are another economical choice for vehicles with minimal clearance. Highway chains are usually all-steel with a twist link design also, but these chains are designed for vehicles with non-restricted wheel well clearance, and the heavier chains provide added durability and traction. Sno Grip chains are an excellent option for winter weather – they provide superior traction and a smooth ride, and the square link design allows for better standing, stopping, and cornering than any other conventional ladder design. Road King chains offer a square link design, with a Y pattern chain. This offers drivers a comfortable, yet aggressive drive, with less vibration and noise. Finally, V-Bar snow tire chains provide aggressive traction for snow removal and emergency vehicles, but they should not be used on vehicles with restricted wheel well clearance.

Regardless of the brand or style of snow tire chains used, winter drivers should make sure that the chains are the proper fit and are correctly installed in order to offer the most protection for the driver and passengers.