What Are Tire Chains Used For?

Tire Chains on Snow Plow

In snowy and icy weather, tires without chains can spin and spin without gaining any traction. If you’ve ever wondered, “What are tire chains for,” the answer is extra grip in adverse weather conditions. Whether you drive a pickup or a cab chassis, installing tire chains can mean the difference between reaching your destination and having to dig your way out of the snow and cold. Are tire chains a good idea for you? Read on to learn more about the uses for tire chains, how to drive with them, and how to store them.

Should I Use Tire Chains?

First of all, you’ll want to double-check the tire chain laws in your state. In Wisconsin, using tire chains is perfectly legal in snowy, icy, or other otherwise slippery conditions as long as they’re of reasonable proportions. What are the appropriate conditions for tire chains? They should be reserved for when there’s a thick layer of snow or ice on the road, and in Wisconsin, that’s not so unusual in the winter.

Two-wheel drive vehicles should have chains installed on the wheels on the drive axle. So, if a car is rear-wheel drive, the chains should go on the rear tires. You can install them on all four tires, even if you have a 2WD vehicle, but this can be more costly and cumbersome. If a vehicle is all-wheel drive, the chains should go on each tire, as all-wheel-drive systems allocate engine power to each wheel as needed.

Driving with Tire Chains on Your Tires

When using tire chains on Northern Chicago roads, it’s important to pay close attention to how you’re driving, as well as any strange noises. If used incorrectly, tire chains can severely damage your truck. Keep the following tips in mind as you travel:

  • Practice installing and removing your tire chains several times before you venture onto the roads.
  • If you hear a slapping sound, like metal hitting metal, pull over as soon as possible. One of the chains may have come undone. A loose chain can wrap itself around a strut or shock and cause severe damage to your truck.
  • Don’t exceed 25 miles per hour, even if there’s very little traffic on the road.
  • Avoid driving on bare pavement. If you pull onto a road that’s been plowed and salted, you’ll need to pull over and remove the chains before proceeding. This can be time-consuming, but it’s worth it if it means avoiding damage to your truck.
  • Avoid braking suddenly. This can cause your wheels to lock or spin.
Woman Adjusting Tire Chains on Car

How to Properly Store Tire Chains

When you’re done traveling, remove the chains from your truck’s tires and let them air dry in the garage or somewhere dry. Packing tire chains away while they’re still wet can cause them to rust. If you drove them over bare asphalt for any amount of time, be sure to check them for cracks and flat spots. If you notice any wear and tear, make sure to address it before reusing the chains.

Shop Tire Chains & More at Lynch Truck Center!

Do you have additional questions about tire chains, such as what’s the right size for your truck or how to install them properly? Contact us at Lynch Truck Center, or visit us near Racine and Milwaukee! The friendly experts at our parts center can assist you with finding the right set for your truck, so you can travel confidently through whatever the weather throws at you.

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