Snow chains are used to provide better traction and grip to your vehicle. This traction device is very durable and works effectively during snowy conditions. Do snow chains work on dirt roads, mud or snow?
Snow chains can work on dirt roads, mud or snow to provide better traction for the stability of your vehicle. But they will not do wonders in the case of dirt roads as they do while working on snowy roads. The premium quality snow chains can push your vehicle out of trouble.
You can snow chain as per legal restrictions in each state.
Snow Chains: Deployment and Working Principle:
Harry D weed was the person who had invented snow chains in 1904 in New York. During the 20th century, driver wrap rope was very common to increase the traction on muddy and snowy roads.
The stability of any vehicle is determined by the amount of traction it gets from the tires. Harry D weed extended the idea of driver wrap rope and culminated in producing snow chains for tires to augment better traction.
Before the invention of these snow chains, people usually refrained from driving during winter. The invention of this traction device makes it possible for people to drive their vehicles during winter conditions.
I have created the infographic below that covers whether the snow chains really work. (You are welcome to use and share but please credit back if you do so.)
The sweeping characteristics associated with the functioning of the snow chain is that it is more durable and can provide efficient functioning in snow and as well as in mud. Transportation authorities has made the installment of traction aided devices compulsory while driving your vehicle in snowy conditions.
Snow chains apply to all types of devices except those that have already installed traction aid devices. You can install the snow chains on one or more driver axles of your vehicles.
But in some cases, such as running wheel loaders, special protection chains are used because of the intense pressure on tires. Below is the table manifesting the installment of so no change based on wheel clearance of the vehicle as follows:
SAE Traction Devices Class
Minimum Tread-Face Clearance(A)
Minimum Side-Wall Clearance(B)
Main Functioning of Snow Chains:
You need to know that snow chains decrease the fuel efficiency and the speed of the vehicle, but they bolster the braking system of the vehicle during emergency situations.
Off-roading is an activity that is not without challenges if you are willing to take your vehicle off-road you need to know the purpose and the benefits associated with the usage of snow chains, especially in winter.
These snow chains are also helpful in preventing dangerous situations like skidding that can prove to be life-threatening for you and your family.
Is there any way to increase the effectiveness of these snow chains? In the next section, you will get to know about the ways by implementing those we can augment the effectiveness of these snow chains.
How to Increase Effectiveness of Snow Chains.
You can acquire the proper effectiveness associated with the usage of snow chains if you attach these snow chains with the wheel of your vehicle earlier before entering the mud or any other dirty track.
After the attachment of snow chains with the wheels of your vehicle, the next important step is to drive your vehicle with proper driving technique and adjust the speed properly.
It’ll help if you comprehend that you cannot drive your vehicle fast. The average speed limit you can adjust is 30 to 50 kilometers per hour. But it is not wise to take your vehicle above 50kmph in this difficult situation.
What happens when you drive your vehicle at high speed? When your vehicle is being bogged in the mud, and you try to drive your vehicle at high speed, it can result in the overproduction of heat, which is dangerous for your vehicle’s tires.
So, you can acquire the maximum efficiency of snow chains by adjusting the speed limit of your vehicle and by attaching the snow chains earlier.
Legal Side of Using Snow Chains (USA State Wise Comparison):
It’d help if you have an idea about the impact of the usage of snow chains on the ground. There are certain drawbacks associated with the usage of snow chains.
The usage of a snow chain is responsible for disturbing the ground surface. Snow chains function by biting the ground surfaces and can cause serious damage to the road surfaces.
For these reasons, you need to understand that you cannot use them in every situation and time. As far as the law is concerned, it varies from government to government from area to area.
In some countries, snow chains while passing through national parks are banned. But in some countries, you can utilize the services of snow chains; then, you get stuck in snowy conditions.
If you are an off-road enthusiast, you need to inspect and scrutinize the legal conditions before using the snow chains in a specific area.
So, you can use the snow chains to improve your grip on the road but keep in mind the certain restrictions imposed by the government on the usage of snow chains.
Tire chains or snow tires may be used by any vehicle when required for safety due to snow, rain, or other slippery conditions.
The below list of US states follow the snow chain law as above:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Few states, however, have date constraints for when you cannot use snow chains, as well as restrictions on the size of the chains and the type of vehicle. Check out the detailed restriction:
Rules on Snow Chain
No specific dates for chains, but signs will be posted when chains are required.
Commercial vehicles traveling on certain roads must carry chains from Sept 1 to May 31.
Studded tires & non-skid devices may be used from Nov 15-April 30.
No specific restrictions, it is advised to avoid it unless necessary.
May not be used unless road is ice-covered or vehicle has an ice shoe at least 6 in wide. Limit on diameter & spacing.
Permitted from Nov 1-May 1.
Required when snow emergency has been declared, not allowed on vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs.
Permitted when road conditions call for it. Studded pneumatic tires not allowed on state registered vehicles.
Permitted Oct 1-May 1, not mandatory unless notices are posted. Specific regulations for studded tires.
Metal studs only permitted November 1-April 1. School buses, mail carrier vehicles, and emergency vehicles are permitted year round.
Required on all vehicles over 10,000 lbs when requirements in effect. Studded tires permitted between Oct 1-April 30.
Required when a snow emergency has been declared.
Only permitted between Nov 1-April 1, except for public safety or school bus.
Required on vehicles over 10,000 lbs when SNOW ZONE signs are posted.
Permitted between Nov 1-April 15, restrictions on size of tires or studs.
Permitted Oct 1-April 1, specific regulations on percentage of wire or other material that comes in contact with the road.
Between Nov 1-March 31, if signs are posted,vehicles must have chains or snow tires.
Signs marked "chains required" will be posted. On certain routes, chains must be carried from Nov 1-Mar 31.
Signs will be posted indicating when chain laws are in effect, must use adequate snow tires or chains.
Few Best Snow Chains for Dirt-Roads:
1. Peerless 0232405 Auto-Trac Light Truck:
The main feature of this snow chain is its auto-track tensioning system. You need to know that this snow chain’s highly efficient auto-track tensioning system has become compatible with the SUV and other off-road vehicles.
The automatic ratcheting system associated with these slow chains can prove to be very helpful for you in difficult situations. As far as the composition of this snow chain is concerned, It is composed of manganese alloy steel.
This is one of the best available options, and this kind of snow chain provides maximum traction when you drive your off-road vehicle in difficult situations. Another benefit associated with using this snow chain is its smoother ride.
Before going for the selection of this snow chain, you can analyze the pros and cons associated with this vehicle, and they are delineated as follows:
|Pros of Snow Chain||Cons of Snow Chain|
|You can go for the selection of this new chain because it is durable and long lasting. It can prove to be a worthy investment .||One of the major drawbacks associated with the usage of this road chain is the issue of durability of its ratchet system. But you can mitigate this problem by proper maintenance.|
|Another benefit associated with this snow chain is its efficiency while pulling out the vehicle from mud. Based on its efficient functioning, you cannot go wrong with this option.||Another drawback associated with this slow chain is the issue related to the size of this chain, but it can be ignored.|
|Another benefit associated with this snow chain is its self-tightening ratchet system. With the provision of this system, you don’t need to attach this snow chain with a tire but this system will do this|
2. Security Chain Company QG2228CAM Quik Grip:
The major feature associated with the snow chain company is its availability in different sizes. You can select this option because it is compatible and adjustable to any size of tire. As far as the durability of this snow chain is concerned, it is extremely durable due to its composition.
But you need to consider that these snow chains are not compatible with low-profile tires. And another glaring feature associated with this snow chain is its built-in CAM tightening system.
You can go with selecting this option as it is very easy to install and available in step-by-step instructions.
If you are willing to pursue your off-road with this option, you cannot go wrong. But before taking the final decision, you need to scrutinize and analyze the pros and cons associated with the use of this snow chain.
|The main benefit associated with this snow chain is its dual usage. You can use this no chain on road and as well as off road and this could be the decisive factor in the selection of this snow chain||Rusting issue is one of the major drawbacks associated with the usage of this snow chain.|
|Another main factor associated with this snow chain is its installation system. You can easily install this system without any hindrance||There are some fitment issues associated with this snow chain as well.|
|You can go with the selection of this option because it is extremely durable and long lasting as we have mentioned earlier.|
3. KÖNIG CB-12 104 Snow Chains:
The main feature associated with the functioning of this snow chain is its dual-sided D-shaped links that provide maximum traction. This type of snow chain is composed of a manganese nickel alloy.
You can go with the selection of this product as it is 20 to 30% cheaper than its competitors. This price feature can attract so many buyers.
Due to their integrated rubber tensioners, it is very easy to install, so you cannot go wrong with selecting this product. We have enlisted some pros and cons associated with the usage of this product, and these are as follows:
|One of the most important benefit associated with the usage of this snow chain is its feature of corrosion resistant.||One of the most important drawbacks that is associated with this snow chain is extent of its durability. This type of snow chain is not durable and because of this feature it can be overlooked as compared to the competitors|
|Price factor can be the decisive factor in determining the selection of this snow gin as it is available in cheap prices||The feature of poor instruction is also another drawback that is associated did this vehicle and that need to be analyzed before making the final decision|
|As we have mentioned earlier this system is easy to install and provide maximum functioning|
Issues Related to the Functioning of Snow Chains:
There are certain issues related to the functioning of snow chains. If you are an off-road enthusiast, you should have a proper idea about those issues and the resolution.
- If the snow chains run on the pavement, they can cause wear and tear of the tire and cause worn spots on the tires. Another main issue is related to the functioning of the braking system. Sometimes snow chain causes the braking system to collapse.
- The chains can get stuck because of larger tires and wheels. Improper functioning of snow chains can cause malfunctioning of vehicles.
- The improper functioning of snow chains can also damage the road and may badly impact the performance of the tires of your vehicle. These snow chains can only be used if there is a layer of snow or ice between the road and the tires of the vehicle; otherwise, you can prevent the use of these snow chains.
Cost of Snow Chain:
It would help if you had an idea about the cost of using the snow chain. The ghost of snow chains mainly depends on the type you are using.
If you are willing to use semi-auto snow chains, you need to have an idea about the cost of these notions, and they can cost about $60 to $80. But if you are willing to use premium, self-centering chains, you need to pay as much as $500
Before going for the final selection of snow chains, you should analyze the pros and cons related to the functioning of those snow chains and the expected cost of those snow chains.
You can use the snow chains effectively at the proper time and location; otherwise, they can cause severe damage to your vehicle, which you can’t endure during an off-road journey. Thus, these are the factors you may want to consider all the time.
If you are an off-road enthusiast, you can drive your vehicle with or without snow chains. As far as legal rules are concerned, it is no compulsion to use snow chains in every situation. You can get the maximum out of these snow chains when your vehicle is stuck in difficult situations.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Are snow chains better than snow socks?
As far as the functioning of snow socks is concerned, these have been augmented in their popularity because of the easy use and easy mechanism of their adjustment. Weekend delineates the difference between snow chains and snow socks based on their strength.
As far as snow socks are concerned, these are light and foldable. They can adjust to smaller tires easily.
On the other hand, snow chains are durable, and they can fit vehicles without moving the vehicle, so we can say that both snow chains and snow socks are proficient in their functioning, and you can use both, but snow socks have a slight edge as far as the strength is concerned.
Do I need snow chains for all four tires?
As an off-road enthusiast, you need to know the placement of snow chains. During an off-road trip, you don’t need to take risks because it can prove to be life-threatening for you; therefore, ideally, you should place the snow chain on all four tires of your vehicle.
If you are willing to put these snow chains only on the front tires of your vehicle, then the rear tire the vehicles can perform unpredictably dad can prove to be damaging for your vehicle.
But if you put the snow chains only on the rear tires, then the handling of the front tires can be largely affected, leading to unwanted incidents.
Can I drive with tire chains on the pavement?
You need to understand that it is very difficult to drive your vehicle with no change on the pavement because it can cause deadly impacts.
If you want to drive the tire chains on pavement, you need to know that it can bring havoc to the interior of your vehicle and the surface of the road.
But you can reduce the extent of damage by taking serious precautions. You need to drive your vehicle with no chance at low speed to protect the damages; otherwise, there is no way to protect the harmful impacts of using these snow chains on your vehicle.
And another important factor that you need to consider is the proper place and time of using these snow chains. You can avoid damages if you efficiently use this no chance and add proper time and place.
What is the difference between snow chains and cables?
As far as the functioning of these machines and cables are concerned, both of these are quite different from each other. Snow chains function so that these are metal links that cover the outer surface of your tire and dig into the snow to clean the snow on the road.
The main purpose of its function is to augment better traction that will foster better control and grip on your vehicle. On the other hand, as far as the functioning of snow cables is concerned, these snow cables are steel cables enveloped in protective material to give maximum traction.
The main aim of both of these snow chains and cables is to provide maximum traction to your vehicle, so you cannot ignore any of these. As far as off-roading is concerned, you can go with any one of these options.
If you are an off-road enthusiast and willing to take your family and friends with you on an off-road journey, then you need to understand these terms. You should avoid any trouble during your off-road journey, and it will be better to enjoy the fun of this activity.
This is Surya. I am an experienced off-roader. I have been off-roading for many years across several terrains. I am passionate about 4×4 driving and want to share my knowledge and experience with others.
My goal is to provide you with the most comprehensive and unbiased information about off-roading.
I curated this article through my personal experience and expertise, and I hope it helps you with what you are looking for.