The low down on correctly fitting Snow Chains
BEFORE installing and using any snow chains, always read the vehicle’s owner’s manual and follow the fitting instructions that have been supplied with the snow chains.
This is important as the Konig, Rud and Thule snow chain warranty/guarantee does not cover any snow chains that are used on a vehicle that is fitted with wheels, tyres or a wheel/tyre combination, that is not approved to be fitted with chains by the vehicle manufacturer.
For wheel chains to work effectively they must be able to rely on the compound and tread of the tyre to be able to grip to the chain mesh and to help prevent the wheel from spinning inside the chain.
There are issues even when a diamond pattern snow chain system is used on high performance 2WD or AWD “summer” tyres.
On summer tyres snow chains will grip to the snow/ice but the tyre can slip or spin the chain even when they are tightened on to the tyre.
The problem is compounded by the camber of the road, the weight and torque of the vehicle, the tyre width and the amount of tread on the tyre.
Wheel chains fitted to summer tyres on the front wheels will increase traction for take off and driving but can not assist with lateral stability. Because of the inadequate grip on the rear tyres the vehicle will over steer and when braking the ABS system will be activated, further increasing the stopping distance. The problems are always worse when driving down hill.
Wheel chains fitted to summer tyres on the rear wheels will increase traction for take off and driving but can not assist with steering or lateral stability. Because of inadequate grip on the front tyres the vehicle will not ‘turn in’, it will under steer and when braking, the ABS system will be activated, further increasing the stopping distance. Again the problems are always worse when driving down hill.
There are two basic type of diamond pattern wheel chain tensioning systems. (A) Self-tensioning system, eg Konig/Thule T2 Magic, XG-CSCL-XS etc. (B) Manual tensioning system, eg Konig/Thule Zip-CK-CB, Rud Grip etc. The advantage of the selftensioning system (A) is that it prevents the chain from being over tensioned and with the manual tensioning system (B) the chain can be over tensioned if the tensioning chain is pulled up super tight.
This may be seen as an advantage, however, the tighter the chain the quicker it will show signs of wear especially when it is driven on a ‘bare’ road that is not covered by snow.
Snow chains do not have to be super tight on the tyre and with correct tension your chains will actually last longer, an advantage for you and for shops that hire chains.
◆ THE RIGHT FIT: Correctly fitting the right snow chain will make for a safe drive in the snow and also prevent both tyres and chains from wearing out sooner than they should.