Tire Chains

Tire chains are an important addition to any off-road drivers vehicle, and can be a highly valuable tool for situations where there's very little grip on the road. If you're an avid skier or snowboarded, four wheel drive enthusiast, or just someone that lives somewhere where road conditions often fall below the expected level, the value of a set of chains can be huge and life-saving when you're stuck on a road that isn't passable without them. With a wide selection of chains available from many different manufacturers, picking out a set that both fit your vehicle, provide maximum grip, and are easy to fit and remove is most important for anyone looking to purchase a set. This simple guide will help you find the set of chains that helps you get the most out of your vehicle on a slippery road, not the set that takes the most out of you during difficult circumstances.

When buying a set of chains it's important to keep in mind what you're planning to use them for. If most of your four wheel drive time is spent on relatively grippy dirt and mud roads, a set of tire chains may not be as valuable as a high quality set of heavy tread tires. On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time driving on icy and slippery surfaces, then a set of chains is an ideal purchase for you.

From there, you need to find a set of chains that fit your vehicle. This depends on several major factors, primarily the size of your vehicle's wheels, power output, drive-train, and heavy braking wheels.

If you're in a four wheel drive vehicle, it's best to pick up a set of four different chains. This allows you to have maximum grip on every wheel that power is transferred to. Depending on your vehicles power output, and the addition of a limited slippage diff, the importance of chains can increase of decrease. In a powerful four wheel drive, it's useful to have chains on all four wheels, in order to maximise the amount of grip that your car has in order to drive power directly into the ground. That power is helpful if you ever feel yourself getting stuck or sliding on the road, as it allows you to minimize the risk of falling off track due to inadequate resistance.

If you're in a two wheel drive vehicle, it's best to fit the chains to the two driving wheels. For example, in a small front wheel drive vehicle, your front wheels are responsible for both the turning and power of the vehicle, so they should take priority if you only have one pair of chains to fit. However, as before, it's best overall to fit a tire chain to each of your wheels in order to maximise the amount of grip that every one of your wheels has with the ground. There's nothing worse than having your back pair of wheels slide out when you expected them to be grounded and gripping, and using a full set of tire chains can easily prevent this from becoming a possibility.

It's very important to pick a set of chains that fit your car's wheels easily. Chains too big will provide minimal grip due to their loose fit on your vehicle, and run the risk of causing permanent damage to your car's brakes, chassis, and axle due to their ability to move within the wheel arch. Chains that are too small run the risk of not fitting over the entire wheel, or just providing a partial fit that provides little to no extra grip and safety. In every case, it's worth the extra money to get the perfect fitting pair of chains for your car, as either of these two options are less than ideal.

Well fitting chains should wrap comfortably around your car tires, and easily buckle or clip together on the inner side of your car wheel. Fitting styles can vary between different chain manufacturers, but the shared safety factor of each is only present when you secure them with a tight fit. The connecting hook or pin should move relatively easy, however it should not be so loose as to be able to come undone during vehicle movement. If in doubt, go on the tight side, as it's much better to have chains that are slightly more difficult to remove than permanent brake damage.

Finally, when picking out a set of chains it's important to find a set that are easy to attach and remove from your wheels. There's nothing worse than being stuck out in the cold snow and ice trying to fit a set of chains that just refuse to budge. Save yourself the time and energy and buy a set that are easy to attach to your wheels. As before, the connecting hook or pin should be relatively simple to attach but still tight enough that it won't move around while your vehicle is in operation.

Hopefully this quick guide has helped you pick out a set of tire chains for this winter. With the risks associated with icy and poorly paved roads, a set of chains is often a necessity for anyone that spends a lot of time driving in icy or snowy conditions. Always err on the side of safety and put your chains on in slippery weather. A small time investment putting the chains on could save you from permanent injury and expensive repairs caused by sliding on a slippery road.

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