01/03/2021 - 14:00

Snow chains for cars

With the arrival of winter, driving conditions are becoming snowier and icier, meaning it’s the time of the year to look out those snow chains for cars. These devices add extra traction and are an essential part of winter life in certain areas, as well as for those visiting Andorra ski resorts such as Grandvalira by car.

In this guide, we outline the basics and essentials for winter driving and explain how to install a tyre chain for snow.

 

What are snow chains and how many types are there?

Put simply, snow chains are devices that add extra grip. There are various types of snow chains, offering drivers different options depending on budget and frequency of use. Here comes a summary of four types of snow chains. 

  • Metal snow chains. These are the most common snow chains for cars, as they represent the best value for money and are the sturdiest.
  • Spider snow chains. It can be difficult to know when to put snow chains on your car, which is why the clip-on spider chains, with their install-once anchoring system, can be a good option.
  • Textile snow chains. Also known as snow socks, these are made from specially designed fabric that wraps around the tyre to provide traction. These are recommended for more frequent use.
  • Hybrid snow chains. These are a mix between metal and textile snow chains. Some drivers prefer the hybrids because they’re easier to install than metal snow chains, but longer lasting than the textile ones.

As for how many snow chains are required at any one time, this depends on the type of car. The chains should be placed on the engine-powered wheels, which will be the front two for certain vehicles or the back two for rear-wheel drives. If you have a 4x4, this is when to put snow chains on all four wheels.

 

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Snow chains for cars: How do you fit them?

If you’re a beginner or just learning how to drive with snow chains, it’s vitally important to practice installing them ahead of time. Most of the snow chains for tyres that were mentioned above are simple to install, as they either wrap around the tyre or are clipped across the tyre in the case of the spider snow chains.

However, metal snow chains for cars are the most complicated to put on. These are the six main steps to follow so that you can understand how to fit snow chains on a car.

1. Store your snow chains in an easy-to-access part of the vehicle and try to keep them untangled.

2. Once you have your snow chains out, lay them straight next to the tyres you’re installing them on.

3. Pull the far end of the chain over the top of the tyre, letting the metal rungs hang down both left and right.

4. Start to attach the chains using the clips.

5. Drive the car forwards or backwards a half metre to expose the quarter of the tyre that hasn’t been fitted yet. Attach the snow chains there too.

6. Add the tensioner, an essential part of any tyre chain for snow.

 

Once your snow chains of choice are attached, there are still some other things to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s a good idea to drive for around 10 to 20 metres and then stop, getting out the car to check nothing has come loose.

It’s also important to keep in mind that, in certain regions, there may be specific speed limits in terms of how fast can you drive with snow chains. It’s always advisable to drive slower when navigating snowy or icy conditions, but in certain places the law might actually set a new limit for anyone using snow chains for tyres.

Given that you’re already researching when to put snow chains on and how to drive with snow chains, you’re already doing the responsible thing ahead of your upcoming snowy or icy drive. You’ll get the hang of it in no time and you’ll quickly become an expert in knowing when it’s time to get a grip!

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