How do Snow Chains Work

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Winters are loved by everyone. It is time for hot coffees, cozy blankets, warm, trendy jackets and skiing. Winters also bring vacations and Christmas, which means a lot of fun for everyone. But delights are not the only thing winters bring. Winters bring snow, lots and lots of it. And while snow allows many amusements and sports, it also blocks away every single road, every pedestrian area and the whole city just jams. Now no matter how powerful your SUV is or how reliable your tyres are, when it comes to snow, nothing goes through it. This situation is most severe in countries like Canada, Greenland, Russia, Iceland and the state of Alaska.

When regular tyres fail to move the car in snow, top snow chains or tyre chains are fitted to increase tyre’s traction and provide grip to the car. Snow chains are actually a set of chains fitted on a tyre. They are either wrapped over the tyre or an automatic system allows them to be ‘woven’ over it. They are a mandatory device in areas of heavy snowfall otherwise cars get completely stuck, unable to move completely.

How do they work?

Snow chains simply work by providing grip when ordinary tyres fail to move a vehicle ahead. Tyre tread is designed to provide maximum stability to a vehicle, but the design which gives friction on roads, actually sweeps the snow from under the tyres. So, in case of a snowy road, the tyres throw the snow backwards instead of moving the vehicle forward.

When snow chains are applied on a tyre, they move over the snow instead of throwing it back. Chains work when they are put properly on the tyre, which means they need to be equally spaced and tightened to avoid losing and dropping off. The principle is to provide the tyre’s force and torque to the snow chains which in turn, dug into the snow and move the vehicle ahead. A tyre with snow chains acts as a tyre with significantly deeper treads. When a tyre with tightened snow chains moves, the chains break into the icy snow to develop grip.

If a tyre has snow chains with a weak link or they are uneven or loosely applied over the tyre, they will be useless against the snow and they may even break off from the tyre.

It is highly recommended to unwrap the snow chains from the tyre before starting off at the clear road again. It is because the chains are designed to give traction against the snow, not against the road. If snow chains are not taken off from the tyre after hitting a clear road, they may not only be damaged, but also would fall off and stuck into the components of the vehicle, causing major problems.

How to Apply Snow Chains on a Tyre

It is quite simple to apply snow chains to a tyre. Put the chains on the tyre, hold it from the top and allow it to fall over the wheel. Now place and fix each link of the chain by holding it from the front and wrapping it over the tyre to the back. Join the links together with the link tensioner (a piece of chain which is provided to apply tension to links and join them). You would not be able to join the links where the tyre touches the road. To achieve this, after joining other links, move the car about six inches so that the area of tyre touching the ground will lift, so you should be able to join the links at that part too.

Snow chains are a mandatory requirement for vehicle owners in snowy areas. They provide a safer, more steadier journey on snowy and slippery roads.

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