How Fast Can You Drive With Snow Chains On Your Tires?
Snow chains (or tire chains) are fitted to the tires of a car to get maximum traction when driving on snow and ice, but how fast can you drive with them 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
Snow chains, similar to tire chains for mud, are chains that you attach to the drive wheels of your car, 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 come in a variety of 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 2 drive wheels and have sizes that correspond to various sizes of car tires. However, if you’re willing to spend some extra money you can opt for a pair of chains that are designed to fit multiple size tires. Tires sold in the United States are based around 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 will lower the top speed that 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 you’re unsure, you should check with your local DOT and brush up on the rules.
In general, the top speed for driving with tires chains on is around 30 MPH. This number 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 which spins the tires and puts stress on the chains
- Broken chains that can cause damage to the body and underside of the car
Show Chains Varieties and Alternatives
Like mentioned above, snow chains come in a vast range of varieties which have different advantages when it comes to ease of setup, traction, durability, ride smoothness, and recommended travel speed.
Studded tires are a popular alternative to snow chains, which is more of a specialized type of tire that allows for great speeds in the snow but has no use cases outside of snow and ice. It’s also possible to use mud chains in place of snow chains, but it’s generally frowned upon because mud chains are much larger than simple snow chains.