Recently, I’ve heard the question asked “Should I get a set of tire chains for my car?” As with most things automotive, the answer is a firm “Well, it depends…” I been on a few road trips in the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming, and when those steep, hilly mountain roads (which can be dangerous enough when they’re dry) become snowy and slick- Lookout! Often times the Highway Patrol or State Police in those areas will impose a “chain law” over some of those passes. They can make such a difference, that if you don’t have chains installed, you’re made to turn around and go back the way you came. Conversely, some areas prohibit chains because of the wear they cause to road surfaces.
Here in middle America, I don’t see the chains as often as I used to. While they’re great in deep snow, and they make your two wheel drive car seem like an entirely different winter wonder-mobile, they’re not for everyone. I’ll use myself as an example- the most difficult part of my drive after a big storm is my residential area. Chains would be great in these unplowed areas and my car would sail through that deep powder like an olympic champion! Once I hit the main arteries, however, I’m faced with sections of dry pavement and plowed roads. Not such a great environment for those chains anymore. Chains really beat up the dry pavement and your tires don’t like the chains on dry pavement either. Also chains will reduce your braking distance when on a dry road.
If you do choose to install the chains, keep in mind that you’ll need to drive a lot slower (less than 30mph), don’t spin your wheels, and don’t lock up the brakes.
Which wheels do I need to install the chains on? The drive wheels. A rear wheel drive car needs chains on the rear wheels, and a front wheel drive vehicle should have the chains installed on the front wheels. What if you have a 4×4? Well, chains or cables on all 4 wheels would be ideal- if you have 4 sets. If you only have 2, you’ve got a choice to make.
If you know you’ll be needing the chains, try to put them on before you’ll need them if possible. While they’re not hard to put on, it’s always more difficult in the cold and the snow.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so I think a quick video is in order demonstrating just how easy it can be to install tire chains (or cables, in this case) under ideal conditions:
Remember, a qualified technician is always ready to answer your questions at the Woody’s Automotive Group, and the professionals in the parts department can get what you need- just stop by or give them a call today at 888-869-0963 x24