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Which tires do I put snow chains/cables on?

Sep 15th 2023

The placement of snow chains or cables on your vehicle's tires depends on whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive (FWD), rear-wheel drive (RWD), all-wheel drive (AWD), or 4-wheel drive (4WD), as well as the manufacturer's recommendations and local regulations. Here are some guidelines:

  1. Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) Vehicles: If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, it's typically recommended to install snow chains on the two front tires. This helps improve traction for the wheels that propel the vehicle. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual for specific guidance.
  2. Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) Vehicles: For rear-wheel-drive vehicles, it's generally advised to put snow chains on the two rear tires. This provides better traction for the rear wheels, which are responsible for driving the vehicle. Always refer to your owner's manual for manufacturer recommendations.
  3. All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and 4-Wheel Drive (4WD) Vehicles: On AWD and 4WD vehicles, it's often recommended to install snow chains on all four tires. This ensures balanced traction and helps maintain control of all four wheels, which is particularly important in slippery conditions.
  4. Local Regulations: Be sure to check local laws and regulations, as some areas may require the use of chains on specific tires or in certain conditions. Local authorities may have specific requirements that you must follow.
  5. Tire Size: When installing snow chains, make sure they are the correct size and type for your vehicle's tires. Using improperly sized chains can damage your tires and affect performance.
  6. Practice: Before you need to use them in an emergency situation, practice installing and removing snow chains in a controlled environment. This will help you become familiar with the process and ensure you can do it correctly when needed.

Remember that using snow chains on dry or clear roads can cause damage to both the chains and your tires, so it's essential to remove them when road conditions improve. Always consult your vehicle's owner's manual for specific recommendations and guidelines regarding the use of snow chains or cables on your tires.