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When should you not use snow chains?

Sep 15th 2023

There are situations when you should avoid using snow chains on your vehicle. Here are some scenarios and conditions in which you should not use snow chains:

  1. Dry or Clear Roads: Do not use snow chains on roads that are dry, clear of snow and ice, or only lightly dusted with snow. Using chains on dry or clear roads can cause damage to both the chains and your tires, and it can negatively affect your vehicle's handling and ride quality.
  2. Pavement: Snow chains should not be used on bare pavement, as they can cause excessive noise, vibration, and damage to the road surface. Remove chains as soon as you encounter clear pavement.
  3. High Speeds: Snow chains are not designed for high-speed driving. Driving at high speeds with chains installed can lead to excessive wear on both the chains and your tires. Always adhere to the manufacturer's recommended maximum speed when using chains.
  4. Mismatched Chains: Do not use mismatched or improperly sized chains. Chains that do not fit your tires correctly can cause damage and pose a safety risk.
  5. Limited Clearance: If your vehicle has limited clearance between the tires and the wheel wells, using chains may lead to rubbing or damage. Check for adequate clearance before installing chains.
  6. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Issues: Some modern vehicles equipped with ESC and ABS may experience stability and braking issues when using chains. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual for guidance and potential limitations related to using chains with these systems.
  7. Severe Damage: If the chains have become severely damaged or have missing components, do not use them. Damaged chains may not provide the necessary traction and can be a safety hazard.
  8. Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) or Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) Mismatch: Avoid installing chains on the wrong set of wheels. On FWD vehicles, install chains on the front tires; on RWD vehicles, install them on the rear tires.
  9. AWD/4WD Limitations: Some AWD and 4WD vehicles may have restrictions or recommendations regarding the use of chains. Consult your owner's manual for guidance on which tires to install chains on and any speed limitations.

Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the specific brand and model of chains you are using. Additionally, be prepared to remove the chains as soon as road conditions improve, so you do not damage your tires or cause unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle.