How Fast Can You Drive With Snow Chains On Your Tires?
Snow chains or tire chains are fitted to a car’s tires to get maximum traction when driving on snow and ice, but how fast can you drive with snow chains fitted? In this article, we will dive into the world of snow chains and make sure you’re safe when it comes to driving in potentially dangerous conditions.
What Are Snow Chains
Like tire chains for mud, snow chains are chains you attach to your car’s drive wheels, and some vehicles even have an automatic system that will deploy the chains for you. Although the chains were once typically made from steel, they are now made from a wide range of materials and various designs to give different levels of strength and traction. The chains are commonly sold in pairs since many consumer-level cars that need them have just two drive wheels; they also have sizes that correspond to various car tires. However, if you’re willing to spend extra money, you can opt for a pair of chains designed to fit multiple-size tires. Tires sold in the United States are based on a standardized sizing system, so you can use that information to find the perfect chains for your tires.
Driving with snow chains will significantly reduce your fuel efficiency and lower the top speed you can travel at. Many regions will require you to use chains under certain weather conditions, while other regions won’t allow them due to the damage they can cause to the road. If unsure, you should check with your local DOT and brush up on the rules.
Snow chains need to be fitted perfectly on the tires. Otherwise, the tires may develop minor cosmetic damage. If the motorist drives over a dry road patch, the chains cause the car to slip out of control at the moment of braking.
Generally, the top speed for driving with tire chains on is around 30 MPH. Driving faster than thirty MPH on snowy roads will risk damage to the tires, chains, and car. Those numbers may vary from case to case, depending on your vehicle, so consult your car’s manual to get specific details if you are in doubt.
Common Reasons for Chain Failures
- Driving too fast with chains on
- Driving on dry roads with chains on will lead to sliding when braking
- Not securing the chains tight enough on the tires
- Attaching chains to non-drive wheels
- Accelerating too fast spins the tires and puts stress on the chains
- Broken chains can cause damage to the body and underside of the car
Factors Affecting The Drive
Some factors will limit the speed of your driving with chains on tires. You must consider these points while driving on snowy streets and roads.
Road Condition: If the snow is compacted, riding is achievable at a moderately fast speed. However, you can not drive too fast. A fresh snow layer on the road requires the driver to ride more slowly.
Fitting: Tight-fitting the tire and chain will provide more grip on the road. As a consequence, you can drive faster. However, loose-fitting make driving slower. Always make sure to use the right-sized chains for the tires.
Age: The user will be more confident using a brand-new tire chain. Plus, the speed is higher in the advanced chains. On the other side, the old version tire chain can give the opposite results.
Type: In comparison, the design of a tire chain can affect the speed of driving on road snow. Many snow chains can cover the whole tire wall and tread. Some cover the tire tread’s part.
Snow chains face many difficult situations in snowy weather. Dangerous or unsafe road conditions require extra caution in driving the car. Therefore, we are outlining a few safety tips for going with snow chains:
Prepare The Car: Before installation of your tire chains, notice the tire’s inflation. At least 3 mm of tread should be in it. Winter tires are preferable to use. See the brake locks whether they are functioning correctly. A shovel should be brought with the users.
Use Double Pair Of Snow Chains: The driver can use only one pair of tire chains. However, we recommend using double pairs for better grip and traction. In case of using one pair, snow chains must be installed on your driven wheels. But, they may cause the car to oversteer or understeer.
Before Storing, Clean Your Chains: Clean your snow chains and allow them to dry completely. Then, put the chains in storage. Metal-made chains may corrode. Regular basis maintenance should be practiced.
Some additional safety protocols are required to take. If the tires are covered with snow chains, the traction control safety feature of the vehicle must be turned off. Frequently check the operator manual of your car. Keep the speed down to minimize unexpected jerks while driving. Be careful when you negotiate curves and bends. Drive the car gently.
Best Show Chains Varieties and Alternatives
As mentioned above, snow chains come in a vast range of varieties, which have different advantages regarding ease of setup, traction, durability, ride smoothness, and recommended travel speed.
Studded tires are a popular alternative to snow chains, which are more of a specialized type of tire that allows for greater speeds in the snow but has no use cases outside of snow and ice. It’s also possible to use mud chains instead of snow chains, but it’s generally frowned upon because mud chains are much larger than simple snow chains.