Do I Need to Put Tire Snow Chains on All Four Tires?

October 7, 2021 3:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Snow chains are a common add-on for vehicles in areas that get some significant winter weather with lots of snow and ice. In some areas that have steep mountains or hills, chains might even be required on every vehicle during the winter. Other vehicles might have winter tires or studded tires, but the chains add an extra level of protection that ensures the safety of drivers in tough winter conditions.

A common question we get about snow chains is whether you need to install tire snow chains on all four tires. The answer to this question depends on the kind of vehicle you have.

Installing tire snow chains on your vehicle

Any vehicle with front-wheel drive must put snow chains on their front tires, while rear-wheel-drive vehicles must put tire snow chains on their rear axle. If you have a four-wheel drive vehicle, you should check the owner’s manual for information about which axle to put the tire chains on, but it’s in your best interest with such vehicles to have them on all four tires.

In fact, even if it’s not required, you should seriously consider putting tire snow chains on all four tires for every type of vehicle. This will provide you with the best traction and safety while driving. If you only have chains on the front axle, there’s a chance you could start to fishtail at the back of the vehicle. If you only have chains on the rear tires, you might find it difficult to steer the vehicle at the front.

Here’s what the process typically looks like for installing tire snow chains:

  • Put the vehicle in park and engage the parking brake
  • Lay the chains out flat to make sure they are not twisted or tangled
  • Drape the chain across the tire, and hold the top to make sure it’s even on either side
  • Fasten the speed hooks behind each tire through the third link from the other end of the chain, and then pull the slack toward the outside of the vehicle
  • Put the vehicle in drive and move it forward several feet before fastening the rest of the chain
  • Drive another 50 to 100 feet, then put the vehicle in park, apply the parking brake and retighten the chains
  • If you have extra links, either secure them with zip ties or take them off with bolt cutters

It’s a good idea to practice this process while the weather is still mild, before you really need to put the chains on your tires. This will ensure you are prepared for when a “real life” usage scenario arises.

Any tire snow chains you purchase should be sized appropriately for your tires, and you should not install them on snow tires. Remember that you will not be able to exceed a certain speed (often 30 mph), so don’t expect to take your snow chains out on the highway.

Our team at Dana’s Tire Center is happy to assist in your tire snow chain installation. Contact us today with any questions you have.

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