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4×4 tire chains

I’m absolutely convinced the first thing that come to mind when you read the heading of this post was snow… Suprise suprise, 4×4 tire chains can also be used for other low traction terrains. 4×4 tire chains can basically be used on any slippery surface. They are also known as tire traction devices.

What is 4×4 tire chains?

4×4 tire chains increase traction of rubber tires in snow, ice, muddy, or any slippery conditions. It ensures improved lateral stability, acceleration, better steering and braking.

How to use 4×4 tire chains

Firstly, ensure that you purchase 4×4 tire chains that matches the size of your tires, as they come in different sizes. You can find the size of your tire on the sidewall of your tire, and then get a size that will work for your vehicle.

Which tires do you put chains on for 4 wheel drive?

The ideal will be to get four 4×4 tire chains to fit one on each wheel of your 4×4 vehicle. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you only have two chains available, it will be best to install them on your rear axle. Although this will not improve your steering at all, it will improve your braking and traction. Be extra cautious when only having them on one axle.

However, if you use a set of chains only on one axle you are essentially re-converting your 4WD/AWD into a 2WD vehicle – a 4 brake vehicle into a 2 brake vehicle.

Installation

  1. Lay the chains next to the wheels that you want to install them on.
  2. Fit the 4×4 tire chains over the top of the tire, so that the ends of it hangs along the sides.
  3. Push the chains between the bottom of the tire and the ground to hold them in place.
  4. Drive your vehicle forward slightly to reveal the unfitted portion of the tire.
  5. Connect the chains’ ends together, starting from the inner side of the tire. Try to fit the 4×4 tire chains as snug as possible. (For ease of access you can turn the wheel once you moved forward slightly.)
  6. Drive about 30m (100ft) and recheck your chains, tighten if necessary.

Removal

  1. Ensure your wheel is in a position where the 4×4 tire chains’ connection points are accessible.
  2. Disconnect the connecting points. (For ease of access you can turn the wheel once you moved forward slightly.)
  3. Open up the 4×4 tire chains and lay them flat on the ground.
  4. Drive forward slowly, engage park brake, and pick up your 4×4 tire chains.

Safety when using 4×4 tire chains

The recommended maximum speed will be in the owners’ manual of the 4×4 tire chains, but generally it will be 30 to 50 km/h (20 to 30 mph) maximum. When installing your 4×4 tire chains, you should pull off the road completely, so that you are not blocking traffic, or are in danger of being hit. Make sure your vehicle is in park and the parking brake is on before you get out of your vehicle to install or remove the 4×4 tire chains. Your 4×4 tire chains should not be used on dry surfaces, as it will cause substantial damage to the roads, as well as to your tires. 4×4 tire chains should only be used if you are driving on a slipper surface, like snow, ice, mud, etc. One always has to be very cautious when driving on slippery roads, limit your speed. Rather arrive there late than never arrive at all.

Will 4×4 tire chains damage my tires?

Using 4×4 tire chains on bare pavement can cause substantial damage to both your tires and the road itself. If your 4×4 tire chains is fitted incorrectly they will definitely damage your tires, therefore the reason to drive for a few meters/feet, and check them again, and ensure that they fit snug. If all of this is done correctly, and the chains are used for what they were designed for, there should be no damages to your tires nor the roads.

Tips on what to do if your wheels skid

Rear Wheels skid:

– Take your foot off the accelerator.
– Steer in the direction you want the front wheels to go. If your rear wheels are sliding left, steer left. If they’re sliding right, steer right.
– If your rear wheels start sliding the other way as you recover, turn the steering wheel slightly toward that side. You might have to steer left and right a few times to get your vehicle completely under control.
– If you have standard brakes, pump them gently until you regain control of the vehicle or come to a stop.
– If you have anti-lock brakes (ABS), apply steady pressure to the brakes. The brake pedal will pulsate if one of the wheels is locking up, this is perfectly normal, it is your ABS system doing its work.

Front wheels skid:

– Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, don’t try to steer immediately.
– As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer in the direction you want to go then put the transmission in drive or release the clutch, and accelerate gently.

Conclusion

4×4 tire chains is an excellent invention and can help you to get through slippery situations with ease, as long as you use it right and limit your speed. As always, safety should be first. 4×4 tire chains can also be used in conjunction with 4×4 recovery tracks should you get stuck in snow or mud. Using this combination will almost certainly offer a way out of your situation. To be sure that you are prepared for the worst situation, ensure that you have four 4×4 tire chains available, so you can use one on each wheel of your vehicle. 4×4 tire chains do not have a lot of build up like your tires only would have, thus providing more traction for your vehicle.

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Martin

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