Snow chains are compulsory in many countries throughout Europe. In those countries, chains must be used when local signs or road conditions dictate. Even though they are not mandatory in the UK, when the winter weather takes a turn for the worse, having a set of chains does give your car better traction and can make for safer journey. But, they have to be fitted properly and used in the right conditions for them to be effective.
Read how to fit snow chains below with our helpful winter driving guide provided by RAC Breakdown Cover.
When to Fit Snow Chains
Drivers are only permitted to fit snow chains when the road is clearly protected by layers of ice or snow. Driving on a road clear of those winter conditions risks damaging both the road and your car. If you are driving with chains and come to a gritted road, find a safe place to pull over and remove them at the earliest opportunity.
Choosing the Right Snow Chains for Your Car
Chains should not be fitted if there is not enough clearance between the wheel arch and tyre. If your tyres are equipped with electronic sensors, poorly fitted chains can also interfere with them. Where chains can’t be fitted, it may be worth considering a second set of wheels that can accommodate them.
If you are unsure which chains are suitable for which tyres, check your car’s manual.
Fitting Snow Chains
Fitting snow chains to your car can be a bit fiddly at first, but with practice they can be put on in a matter of minutes.
It is important the chains go on the appropriate tyres. If you are unsure whether your car is front- or rear-wheel drive, again, check your car’s manual.
Firstly, whilst the hand brake is on and the car is in gear, hold the chain over the tyre and lower it evenly over the wheel. As the bottom of the tyre is out of reach just cover the parts you can.
Once the chain has been evenly placed on the first tyre, repeat the process for the next tyre. With all tyres covered and secured drive forward enough to expose the uncovered section of the tyres. As before, whilst the hand brake is on and the car is in gear, secure the final part of the chain. To tighten everything up, use a closer link where the chains close.
To help guide the snow chains into place, some come with rings that actually go inside your tyre. To fit these chains properly, ensure the connection at the bottom of the wheel has been opened. After the chains have been put on with the ring around the inside of the wheel, the bottom of the ring can be connected.
It is important to test the chains before going on your main journey. If possible, test them on a quiet snowy or icy road to ensure they are on securely and are working efficiently.