Tips and advice about winter tyres - When should you use chains?

When should you use chains?

Your winter tyres

Winter tyres allow you to drive more safely and abide with the law, in most cases. However, this does not mean that you should not keep chains in the boot of your car to deal with exceptional situations, especially in the mountains

Snow chains on a car Snow chains are a useful piece of equipment if there is heavy snowfall and when driving in the mountains - Copyright © :

What the regulations say

Sign on a snow covered roadCopyright © : ©istockphoto - ermingut
With the widespread use of winter tyres, it has become an exception to have to resort to using snow chains. Indeed, in most cases this type of tyre delivers sufficient grip and traction. Furthermore, the B26 road sign indicating that chains must be fitted on certain road sections often comes with an exemption for vehicles with winter tyres.

Regulations for the use of winter tyres, snow chains and studded tyres in Europe 


A precautionary measure

Fitting snow chains Copyright © : All Rights Reserved
In these conditions, are chains still required? Yes, in winter, it is best to keep a set of chains in the boot of your car. This precaution will allow you to deal with sudden snow falls and continue to drive without having to wait for the road to be cleared, especially if you are driving on a steep mountain road… Warning, keep your speed below 35 mph when driving with chains.

> Snow chains: Driving tips 


 Choose the right snow chains

Diamond chainsCopyright © :
When you buy snow chains, make sure they are suitable for your vehicle and the size of your tyres otherwise they may damage the sidewalls of your tyres and cause them to fail. As a general rule, choose chains with the most links in the contact patch: Diamond chains or ladder chains have at least 12 bars for an average tyre.

>> The different types of chains 



Fitting chains: Practical advice

Fitting snow chains Copyright © :

>> Chains should always be fitted to the drive wheels, i.e. the front wheels for front wheel drives. For rear wheel drives (BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari…) or a 4x4, chains should be fitted to all four wheels to keep the front end from sliding.
>> Once bought, practice fitting and removing your chains. Don’t forget to put them in the boot of your car where you can easily access them, with a pair of gloves and a torch, just in case …
>> To fit chains, choose a flat section of road and don’t forget to apply the handbrake.
>> When fitting chains, make sure that the side offering most grip is facing the ground.
>> Once fitted, do not forget to retighten your chains after a few miles.
>> Disengage the traction control system if your car has one.
>> At the end of the season, thoroughly clean your snow chains, and let them dry before putting them back in their packaging.