We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›
A proper set of tire chains on your vehicle means snow and ice won’t stop you. Tire chains look just like their name suggests—lines of metal chain that wrap around your vehicle’s tire. They add serious traction for getting you through the snow, and allow effective braking in situations where you’d otherwise simply slide. And you can find a quality set in a variety of price ranges for nearly every vehicle.Tire chains aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. You need to match the right set to both your vehicle and your tires. And there are different kinds of tire chains, as well. Some are more suited for use on ice, others excel in snowy conditions, and some models are made for occasional use only. Once you make the right choice, you’ll be able to safely make your way through winter weather—over the river and through the woods to wherever you want to go!
Before you purchase tire chains, take a look at your tires to figure out the tire size and the chains that will match. Each tire carries a size configuration. It will be in raised rubber letters on the tire sidewall, and consists of 3 numbers, such as 265/75/16. The first number is the width of the tire in millimeters. The second is the ratio of the width to the sidewall height. And the third is the inside diameter of the tire. You’ll need those measurements to match the tires with the proper tire chain.
Old-style tire chains were difficult to put on, and a real pain to tighten. To prevent having to stop and adjust your tire chains, Look for tire chains and cables with self-tightening rachets or stout rubber in-line tighteners. Those are much better for a worry-free drive. Just install and go.
No matter what type of tire chain you install, read the manufacturer’s instructions about a maximum speed of travel and how long you can keep them on your vehicle. Tire chains are fantastic at providing extra grip and keeping you on the road, but they are not designed for highway travel. Many aren’t made for travel over about 30 miles per hour. Cable-style chains aren’t suitable for long-term use, but are great for short trips around town.