Snow Tire Chains Review

Custom Fit Tire Chains

When snow and ice make driving difficult, snow tire chains can give you the traction you need to maintain control of your vehicle. The following will give you basic information on using snow tire chains safely.





Basic Guidelines

K-Summit snow chains

Before Purchasing:


How many sets does my vehicle require?

The basic rule is that snow chains always go on the driving wheels.

Note: For each 3 different drive types, all 4 wheels can be chained to provide extra stability as long as the vehicle's owner manual does not indicate chains cannot be used on all 4 wheels.


Before Using:


During Use


DON'T





snow chains

Special Concerns When Using Snow Chains

Mountain Driving

When driving in the mountains, you may be required by law to use snow chains in certain areas. Follow the signs and requirements to avoid difficulty driving.


Emergencies

If a cross chain should break, stop immediately and pull off the road in a safe area away from traffic. Remove or repair the chains, then follow the directions for installing the tire chains. Chains should fit as tightly as possible by hand for maximum chain life.


Tires

Snow chains may cause cosmetic scuffing of tires when installed. This condition is unavoidable with certain tread types and designs. By design, most standard snow tire chains must hang down (drape) the side wall of the tire in order to stay on the tire while being used. As a result, radial tires may also experience some scuffing of the tire's side wall as a result of the flex inherent in the side walls of radial tires.


Wheels

Wheels are also at risk of cosmetic scuffing with the use of snow chains. Larger-diameter wheels that use very low-profile tires, such as 35, 40, 45 and 50 series tires, are especially at risk because of the short height of the tire side wall.


Vehicles

Snow chains can break during the course of their normal service life. They are designed for use in snow or on ice-covered road surfaces - not on bare pavement. Use of chains on bare pavement greatly increases the wear and chance of component failure of the device. Speeds faster than 30 mph also greatly increase the chance of component failure. Continued use of snow chains that have been broken is extremely unsafe and may cause loss of control or damage to the vehicle. Any snow chain that has been broken while in service should be immediately repaired or replaced.


Maintenance

To keep your snow chains in good condition: After removing them, rinse off all road dirt and salt and dry them with a towel. After they are completely dry, store them in your vehicle so you will be ready the next time weather conditions warrant their use.





State and Province Snow Chain Laws

The following state and province snow chain laws are for general reference only and are subject to change. Please consult your individual state or province department of motor vehicles for the most up-to-date snow chain laws.

StateLaw
AlabamaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, rain or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.
AlaskaPermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions which may cause a vehicle to skid. Sec. 28.35.155. Operation of vehicle with certain tires prohibited (a) It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle with studded tires or tires with chains attached on a paved highway or road from May 1 through September 15, inclusive, north of 60 North Latitude and from April 15 through September 30, inclusive, south of 60 North Latitude, except that any latitude on a paved portion of the Sterling Highway, a person may not operate a motor vehicle with studded tires or tires with chains attached from May 1 through September 15, inclusive.
ArizonaPermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
ArkansasPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety.
CaliforniaRequired to be equipped with tire traction devices when entering a signed restricted area.
ColoradoSigns along the roadway indicate when a vehicle must be chained. The metal chains must consist of two circular metal loops, one on each side of the tire, connected by not less than nine evenly spaced chains across the tire tread.
ConnecticutNon-skid devices may be used from Nov. 15 to April 30.
DelawareMay be used upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.
District of ColumbiaPermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions.
FloridaPermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions.
GeorgiaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
IdahoPermissible to use tire chains. There are times when chains are required. Signs will be posted "Chains Required Beyond This Point" when the road is snow-covered or icy.
IllinoisPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
IndianaMay be used upon a vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
IowaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
KansasPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
KentuckyPermissible when icy road conditions exist.
LouisianaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.
MainePermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions.
MarylandPermissible on any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid. In case of declared snow emergency, chains will be required on certain designated highways.
MassachusettsBetween Oct. 15 and May 1, triples must carry one set for at least one driving wheel on each side.
MichiganPermissible when snow is on the ground.
MinnesotaPermitted when road conditions (ice and snow) require snow tires.
MississippiPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
MissouriPermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions.
MontanaPermissible upon a vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid. In dangerous or unsafe conditions, the department of transportation may post signs that require vehicles to use chains on driver wheels.
NebraskaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice, or other condition tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.
NevadaRoads may be posted with tire chain requirements under certain snow conditions. Vehicles not equipped with chains on at least two driving wheels and at least two braking wheels on each trailer will not be allowed to proceed.
New HampshirePermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions.
New JerseyMay be fitted with tire chains of reasonable proportions when roads, streets, and highways are slippery because of rain, snow, ice, oil, manner of construction or other reason; provided, however, that no tire chains shall be used at any time on improved highways when highway conditions do not make such use necessary for the safety of life or property. No person shall use any tire chains so constructed or installed as to be likely to be thrown so as to endanger any person or property.
New MexicoPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
New YorkTire chains are required when a snow emergency has been declared.
North CarolinaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.
North DakotaPermissible to use tire chains.
OhioPermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions.
OklahomaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
OregonTire chains are required when conditions demand because of snow, ice or other inclement weather, and signs are posted.
PennsylvaniaRequired on two tires on a driven axle on emergency routes when the roadway is covered with ice or snow.
Rhode IslandPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
South CarolinaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
South DakotaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid. The secretary of transportation may restrict public travel upon any state trunk highway system to four-wheel drive vehicles or motor vehicles equipped with tire chains.
TennesseePermissible to use on any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other condition tending to cause a vehicle to skid. Must carry one set of tire chains for all vehicles likely to encounter conditions requiring them.
TexasMay be used when required for safety because of a condition that might cause the vehicle to skid.
UtahMay use on a vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid. Drivers are advised to carry one set for the drive axle from Nov. 1 to Mar 31.
VermontPermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions.
VirginiaPermissible when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid. Vehicles blocking traffic due to lack of tire chains may be fined.
WashingtonThe chain requirements are effective when the department of transportation has posted signs marked "Chains Required." On certain routes sufficient tire chains must always be carried on the vehicle from Nov. 1 to April 1. The number of chains required varies, depending on the number of axles and vehicle configuration. At least two extra chains must be carried on the vehicle.
West VirginiaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
WisconsinMay be used when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to skid.
WyomingMay be required when the superintendent or his authorized representative determines that travel is sufficiently hazardous due to snow, ice or other conditions.
ProvinceLaw
AlbertaAllowed when conditions warrant.
British ColumbiaVehicles in the mountains must be equipped with snow tires or chains from Nov. 1 to April 30.
ManitobaPermissible upon a motor vehicle where required for safety.
New BrunswickMay also be carried in the vehicle for use in ice and snow conditions.
NewfoundlandRequired on drive wheels when there is snow or ice on the surface of the highway.
Nova ScotiaPermissible upon any vehicle when required for safety because of snow, ice or other conditions tending to cause a vehicle to slide or skid.
Prince EdwardPermissible to use tire chains.
QuebecThe minister of transport may authorize, under the conditions and for the period he determines, the use of certain types of non-skid devices for such road vehicles as he may designate.

Information courtesy Minnesota Trucking


Updated by: Raymond P.

Last updated: 6/26/18





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