Anyone who has ever made an effort to drive in sub-zero temperatures is well versed in the perils of winter roads. Although highly-frequented roadways are often salted and sanded, lesser-used roads can pose a dangerous problem regarding safe driving. Modern technology lends a hand with front-, rear-, and four-wheel drive, advanced tire treads, and other assistive devices. But what happens when they’re simply not enough? They offer a unique advantage because they alter the physics behind how tires interact with a problematic surface and can be used in conjunction with already existent technology, such as four-wheel drive.
Tire Chain Classes
Tire chains come in several different classes: SAE class S, SAE class U, and SAE class W. Each class has different minimum tread-face and side-wall clearance and is appropriate for use on a different kind of tire. Class S is well-suited for use on smaller vehicles with limited wheel well clearance, whereas class U is appropriate for lug-reinforced tires with good regular clearance. Class W is intended for passenger tires in light trucks.
Applying Tire Chains
Depending on what kind of wheel drive a vehicle has, these chains will be installed on either the rear tires, front tires, or a combination. For cars with front-wheel drive, tire chains are typically used on the front tires-this kind of application is the most common, as passenger vehicles tend to have front-wheel drive. Cars with rear-wheel drive, such as trucks, should apply the tires chains to the rear tires. With four-wheel drive, these chains may be used on all four tires.
Vehicles with front- and rear-wheel drive can also use tires chains on all four tires if the manual specifies that it’s appropriate. Make sure to consult your vehicle manual before applying these chains. While these chain rentals are available in locations where they are most often required, drivers should not depend on a chance that the rental place will not have the best size for their tires. It’s safer for drivers to make a little investment in these chains to make sure that they will have them available when they need them, regardless of weather conditions.
When purchasing snow tire chains for vehicles, you have many options to select from. The most economical though are cable chains since they are lightweight and have galvanized steel rollers applied for increased traction on cars with least fender clearance. The other kind is highway chains made of steel with twist link design. They are made for vehicles, which have allowable wheel well clearance with the large chains giving added durability and traction.
Another kind is the snow grip chains, which are a perfect choice for winter because they offer a quiet ride and superior traction. Their square linked designs provide better standing, cornering and stopping associated with other conventional designs.
Finally yet important is the V-Bar snow chains which offer an aggressive traction for emergency vehicles and snow removal but are not to be used on cars with the constrained wheel well clearance. Use of these chains is necessary for safe driving during winter. In most states, it has been made mandatory while driving on freeways and major roads during winter.
In spite of the style or brand of snow tire chains one chooses to use, one should ensure the chains are a perfect fit and are properly installed to provide the best protection for passengers and drivers.