Tire chains are a lifesaver once roads become covered with ice and hard-packed snow. Here in Eastern Iowa, the temperatures are falling quickly as we wave farewell to summer and slide closer towards winter. Make sure you're fully prepared for hazardous winter road conditions by stocking up on quality steel tire chains for your vehicle.
When to use Snow ChainsObviously, you'll want to use tire chains when there's a layer of snow or ice on the road you're driving on. But, you do not want to drive with snow chains on your truck or semi tires when there is no snow or ice present. This could not only cause damage to the road (which can result in fines), but it could also destroy your tires. Since you never know exactly when snow or ice could show up, it's smart to carry a full set of tire chains with you in your vehicle. Commercial truck drivers, who need numerous tire chains, might consider investing in a toolbox for their truck or a tire chain carrier that will help protect chains and also keep them organized.
Tire Chain LawsThere are strict tire chain laws in many states that require truck drivers to have the appropriate tire chains in their rig at all times. Once the snowy weather sets in, it's common to see roadside checkpoints pop-up where officials check to make sure you have the proper number of chains. If you don't, you may be fined. Some states also have laws that explicitly prohibit the use of tire chains in certain situations, so be aware of the laws in the state which you are driving.
Most people recommend you not exceed 30mph with tire chains on.
How Fast can you Drive with Chains?If you have tire chains on, you should really never be going faster than 30mph. Faster speeds risk damaging the chain links and that could wreak havoc on your tires or fenders.
Practice Installing your Tire ChainsWinter weather changes quickly and some roads you drive on will be worse than others depending on when a snowplow comes through. Instead of learning how to put your tire chains on when you're pulled over on the side of the road in the middle of a blizzard, it's a smart idea to practice putting them on and off in more favorable conditions. This will help minimize frozen fingers and also save you a bunch of time. Also, if you don't already, you should keep a high visibility reflective safety vest with you and emergency warning triangles so that passing drivers can see you in those low-visibility conditions.
Tire Chain Comparison GuideThe main difference among the tire chains sold at US Cargo Control is seen in the chain link styles. The Glacier chain made by Pewag has twist links, while the more premium Pewag tire chain features square links. Square links provide higher traction on ice compared to twist links but come at a higher cost. Twist links and square links both perform quite well in snow. Another huge benefit to using square link tire chains is their ability to be reversed without causing damage. This allows them to have double the life, and also makes it easier to install them.
The Premium Pewag tire chains are heavier since they are made of a thicker alloy steel.