When the snow starts, most jurisdictions in the US usually follow a graduated approach to road use before a complete shutdown occurs. Something like this:
- 1. Light snow - snow rated tires required
2. moderate show - snow tires and 4 wheel drive required.
3. heavy snow - chains required
Chains, like just about everything else, have evolved significantly and there is a chain type now available to meet almost any vehicle and any need. If you jump on the internet with the search term, "best snow chains", you'll find that there is no shortage of hits. Advances in technology have created some genuinely innovative snow chains, giving the consumer some excellent choices. In the end, however, you will need to do your research on what will best serve your vehicle and the type of driving you foresee.
One of the other benefits of technology is that there are many traction control devices that are not even made from chains, or metal, for that matter. They too, have their advantages and disadvantages and which one is selected will be determined by cost, size, weight, convenience, and, of course, your needs. Here are some of the most popular categories:
HEAVY DUTY CHAINS
If you are looking for some heavy duty strong snow chains, look into the pewag website, http://www.pewagchain.com/Products/Traction-Chains.aspx . Their motto - Strong Is Not Enough - gives a good insight into their approach in building chains. Since most four-wheelers run tires much larger than stock, finding chains can be challenging. Pewag offers heavy duty, strong chains in a huge variety of sizes. From their website:
Strong is not enough
The strongest chains in the world for each area of application
pewag offers the right product for every situation. With our determination to innovate, we at pewag design snow chains that guarantee maximum safety and comfort in every situation.
pewag snow chains cannot only be used in wintery conditions. Our products can be used on all different types of grounds – mud, pebble and sand: In impassable terrain military and ambulance drivers rely on pewag quality.
Check out this video on how easy it is to install and remove their chains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Q5c5lPo-4E
SPECIAL APPLICATION CHAINS
Many of the newer cars today have very tight clearances around the tires and manufacturers do not recommend the use of (regular) chains. Tire chain companies have risen to the task and have developed chains that are meant to fit these vehicles. SAE guidelines have also been developed to indicate which type of chain is appropriate for a given clearance dimension. For purposes of illustration only, I have selected one manufacturer to demonstrate the types of chains that are currently being offered that can be used in such vehicles. The product is called "Z-Chain" and is manufactured by the SSC company. This is the description from their website (http://www.scc-chain.com/tire-chain-fin ... s/z-chain/)
Here is an example of these chains. Before purchasing any chain, you should check with your owners manual.Z-Chain has always met S.A.E. Class “S” requirements for passenger vehicles with limited clearance around the drive tires. Now the inner cross member connectors and side cable fastening system have been redesigned to operate in even smaller spaces!
There are many alternatives to conventional chains that will work well. In general they are cheaper than a full set of chains, smaller, more compact, and easier to install. Here are a few:
1. ZIPGRIPGO These are recommended for a single use only, but at about $25 per set, it can serve as an emergency set that is light weight and easy to stow in any vehicle. The product is available from the manufacturer as well as more information: https://zipgripgo.com/ .
From Their website:
2. MICHELIN S.O.S. GRIP® SNOW SOCK
From the Michelin website ( http://www.michelin.com/eng/media-room/ ... -snow-sock ):
MICHELIN S.O.S. GRIP® is an approved solution ideally suited to use in emergency situations on snow-covered or icy roads.
It is effortlessly easy to fit in less than two minutes and the structural design of its exclusive MICHELIN textile ensures outstanding grip and traction.
When it comes to grip, the ultra-absorbency of the textile ensures a level of performance on a par with that of snow chains. Tests* effectively reveal that MICHELIN S.O.S. GRIP® significantly improves traction, braking performance and lateral grip on packed snow compared with a tire with no sock fitted.
Moreover, MICHELIN S.O.S. GRIP® comes with Night Vision Security reflectors to improve the vehicle’s visibility in darkness. Both ESP- and ABS-compatible, this new snow sock is vibration-free.
Last but not least, MICHELIN S.O.S. GRIP® is available in a selection of 10 different sizes which cover more than 90 percent of vehicles on the road, from small city cars to 4x4s and large family saloons.
3. SNOW CLAWS They also come as a pair but have a different attachment method using a ratchet system. Snow Claws design is very different from conventional chains but at about the same cost. They are very unique and are made from some sort of high tech polyurethane. Snow claws are made to fit a huge variety of tires all the way up to 40 inches for trucks and SUVs and larger for buses, tractors, etc. They install in about 5 minutes and are meant to not damage your wheels. From the "for what it's worth" department, Snow Claws" were named as "tool of the month" by Truck Trend magazine a couple of years ago, ( http://flextrax.mysite101.net//about-snoclaws )