The Need fore Tire Chains
March 1, 2006
Whether you are driving in snow, mud, rain, or ice, tire chains are a great way to give your vehicle added traction, providing extra safety for the most important cargo you have - yourself, your kids, and other passengers.
Before shopping for tire chains, make sure it is legal to use them in your state. Once you have determined which chains will get you to safety and which ones will get you a ticket, drivers should then consult their owner's manual to determine which types of chains can be used on their vehicle. The shopper should also consider how he plans to use the chains (in mud or snow, et cetera).
Drivers have many options to choose from. Some of the basic designs include cable tire chains, diamond tire chains, ladder tire chains, and V-Bar tire chains. Cable tire chains are lightweight, economical and great for vehicles with limited fender clearance. However, they are not really designed for heavy duty use on 4x4s. Diamond tire chains, which have cross chains that run over the tread at intersecting angles, are better for heavy duty use because some part of the chain is always in between the tire and the road. Ladder tire chains, in contrast, allow small spaces between the cross bars where the tire contacts to the road. Nevertheless, the ladder chain is still the most frequently used, probably due to the fact that it is lighter and less expensive.
When purchasing tire chains, drivers should make sure to pre-fit them before actual use to make sure that they are properly sized. Drivers should practice attaching the chains to the wheels several times, as it can often be difficult to do - especially if you try the first time along an ice-covered road. When installing the tire chains, apply them as tightly as possible by hand for maximum chain life. Drivers should not deflate tires to install the chains; tires should always be at normal inflation. After installing the chains according to the manufacturer's directions, drivers should drive approximately one quarter of a mile, stop, and retighten the chains. Another important thing to remember when driving with tire chains is to watch your speed. Although each manufacturer will have a somewhat different recommendation, the general rule of thumb is not to exceed 30 miles per hour. When driving, accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid spinning or locking of the wheels, and avoid hitting curbs with tire chains.
The wide array of tire chains allows drivers of all kinds of vehicles to protect themselves against dangerous driving conditions. While tire chains are meant to offer more protection by providing better traction, drivers must make sure to follow all directions carefully in order to prevent the chains from becoming a hazard instead of a help.
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