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A Guide to Tire Chain Maintenance

Tire Chain Maintenance

Tire chains are used to assist cars in driving over particularly deep or dense snow. Tire chains are typically employed in hilly or mountainous places that get a lot of snow throughout the winter. You don’t want some issues with your tire chain in the middle of the snowy road so you must always keep proper tire chain maintenance by regularly inspecting all connections to make sure there are no missing or broken links. Make sure that if there is any rust it’s just on the surface. Spray a light film of WD-40 to keep rusts manageable and make sure to correct any twisted links. Twisted links will stress your chains and they will eventually give out easily. As you store tire chains make sure they remain straight. Tire chain maintenance will help you keep those chains working as it should and will help you keep it for longer use.

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Use of Tire Chains


Before digging deeper into tire chain maintenance let us first get to know tire chains. Tire chains are chains that go around your tires and fasten them. They're made to use your car's weight to dig into the snow and ice while you're driving. Basically, they allow the tires to get a better grip on snow and ice covered roads, giving the vehicle more traction and better control. Tire chains boost traction by minimizing wheel spin in addition to generating grip by biting into the snowy surface. Wheel spin occurs when the force applied to the tire tread by the engine exceeds the available tread-to-surface friction, causing the tires to lose traction.


Different size chains are manufactured for different tire sizes, so make sure to get the right size. Using the wrong size tire chains can damage your tires. When it comes to putting on the chains for the first time, there is a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it's a breeze.


Tire chains are quite beneficial for driving in the snow, but they do come with some limitations. When driving with tire chains, you should not exceed 30 miles per hour. It's unsafe to drive faster than 30 mph with tire chains on. Furthermore, driving on bare asphalt while using tire chains can reduce their longevity


Tire chains are designed to increase your safety in inclement weather. They do not, however, imply that you may neglect everything else you should be doing as a driver in inclement weather. Chains improve traction significantly on snow, ice, mud, and even sand, but they do not allow you to defy physics.


Where you can go and where you can't go is largely determined by the vehicle's capabilities, the load, the driver's ability, and a variety of other considerations. So don't think that just because you have chains on, you're invincible; some slopes will be impossible to climb even with chains on for some cars. In this case, do not try to climb the slope by spinning the wheels, as you are likely to break your chains and possibly harm your car.


Installing Tire Chains


If you want to learn about proper tire chain maintenance then you should also know about proper installation of your tire chains.Tire chains are a reasonably straightforward procedure to install. Instructions are included in the majority of sets. First and foremost, make sure you get the right chains for your tire size. This information can be found on the side of your tire. Consult your driver's manual or your local dealership if you have any questions about which chains to buy.


It's best to get some practice in first, preferably while the weather is still pleasant. Put them on and take them off a few times without going anywhere to get the feel of it so that when you do need them, you aren't stuck fumbling and trying to figure out how to get them on with frozen fingers. If you're hauling chains, you should also bring a safety vest. There's a considerable chance you'll have to pull over to the side of the road to adjust or remove them at some point, and vision will be limited if it's snowing.


Almost all chains are fitted by putting them flat in front of or behind the tires, driving onto the set of chains, and then wrapping them around each tire. They will fit snugly on the tires when properly placed, leaving very little slack. It's a good idea to inspect how the chains are fitting on your tires after you've driven on them for a short distance. They may have settled and become too loose or too tight after being rolled over a few times. A tire specialist can assist you in choosing the right tire chains for your vehicle and demonstrate how to correctly install them.


Snow chains come in pairs and must be installed on the driving wheels. However, for added traction on some vehicles, four snow chains or chains and socks (two sets) are recommended. Most snow chains are now simple to install. Some snow chains are designed to be extremely simple to install, and chains grow easier to install and remove as you progress up the mountain ranges.


Tire Laws from State to State


Tire chain laws differ from state to state so see and learn about the legislation in both states if you cross from one state to the next with tire chains on. More exact tire chain laws may be used on specific highways, but this is uncommon. Before you go out and buy a new pair, check to see if chains are prohibited, permitted, or even necessary in some circumstances. A chain “requirement” generally indicates that you must have them in your car in order to pass certain checkpoints that appear in severe weather. Chains are normally allowed in places with a disclaimer that restricts their use, so make sure you know the rules and follow them.


For instance, when you're south of 60 degrees north latitude, you can't use tire chains from April 15 to September 30 in Alaska. From May 1 to September 15, you are not able to use chains while operating a vehicle on Sterling Highway. If you want to use chains in one of these banned zones, you'll need to get a special permit from the Department of Administration.


Another example. The law in Oregon applies to all state roadways. When you are obliged to carry chains and when you are required to use them, signs will inform you. In Oregon, you'll need six chains on hand to comply. Tire chains are permitted when necessary for safety during periods of snow, ice, or other conditions that may cause slick highways.


Tire chains are permitted when necessary for safety during periods of snow, ice, or other conditions that may cause slick highways in New Mexico, New York, North Carolina and many more states.


Some icy road conditions necessitate the use of chains on tires. Tire chains, often known as snow chains, are required by law in certain locations. These are typically mountainous areas with roads that are dangerous even in dry weather due to altitude fluctuations, loose rocks, sharp turns, and switchbacks that need the maximum amount of traction from tires. When the snow starts to fall, the hardship of driving on these roads becomes considerably greater. Chains, when properly fitted, can be the solution to all of these problems.


Tire chains are available in a range of sizes to fit practically any passenger car, truck, SUV, and big rig that may be required to drive through deep snow or up and down high mountain passes. It's easy to use chains on tires if you've never done so before.


You shouldn't put chains on your tires unless you're traveling on entirely snow-covered roads. Tire chains or snow chains will not make your vehicle function as it would if the road was clear of snow and ice. If you're wondering where chains are required by law, know that there are usually road signs and designated spots where you can pull over and install chains.


How do you maintain tire chains?


The following are a few simple tips on tire chain maintenance:


  1. Examine all connections visually. There shouldn't be any broken or missing links. Check to see if they've been twisted since you last used them. Twisted linkages are more likely to be stressed and break. Line them up and make sure they stay straight when you put them away.


  1. When you use snow tire chains, try to avoid hitting potholes since this can damage or break the chains, causing damage to your car.


  1. Even while using snow chains, it is always suggested to drive with caution in snowy circumstances. The maximum speed allowed is 30 miles per hour.


  1. A gentle driving style is essential when using snow chains. Harsh acceleration and braking equates to too much pressure that will cause your snow or tire chains to snap.


  1. Remove the tire chains from your tires and thoroughly wash them to remove any dirt, snow, mud, or debris. To keep them in good shape, hang them up for storage and spray them with WD40. Rust is to be expected, but is it anything more than surface rust? Metal that has deteriorated will tire significantly more quickly. The WD-40 will aid in the control of rust in tire chains.


  1. Make a sweeping motion with your hand back and forth across the tire from the front to the back to verify the clearance of your tire with the chains. The tire has good clearance if your hand can go around it without hitting anything. The amount of space between the wheel and any barriers, such as the bodywork, braking systems, or suspension of a vehicle, is referred to as clearance. A margin of around 15mm between the inner edge of the tire and any obstacles is required for a typical 9mm car chain (to allow for movement of the chain).

How long do chains last on tires?


Tire chains or snow chains can last several years if seldomly used and if you observe proper tire chain maintenance. They aren't the ideal choice for frequent use or in locations where there is a lot of snow and ice. The life of any chain is affected by a variety of factors, including road conditions and vehicle weight, thus an exact life span cannot be calculated.


Can you leave chains on tires overnight?


Yes, you could leave the shackles on, but if a burglar is prepared to put in the effort, they could remove them from the vehicle. But on second thought, the vehicle tires will rest on the chains, making it impossible for a criminal to remove them. To lift the weight off of them, they'd have to go to the inconvenience of jacking up the car. In the snow and ice, it's improbable that a would-be burglar would go to such lengths for tire chains, so there’s really little reason to worry about the chains getting stolen overnight when left on your tires.


Is putting chains on tires bad?


Putting chains on tires is not bad at all. Snow or tire chains, however bulky, can make a big difference in winter weather when you need to travel somewhere without Mother Nature's permission, but only if they're utilized properly.

Again, car tire chains should only be used if the road has a covering of snow or ice on it. When you use chains on bare pavement, you risk damaging both your tires and the road. Pull over and remove the chains if you enter a route that has been plowed and salted.


When driving in freezing temperatures, it's always a good idea to be cautious, but chains necessitate an extra level of caution. Again, the vehicle should not be driven faster than 30 miles per hour, and you must park carefully to avoid hitting curbs. So again, use tire chains only when necessary and always observe proper tire chain maintenance and you could fully enjoy these important vehicle equipment.


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