Tire Chains 101

Tire chains are state monitored and are usually only used in areas where there are seriously snowy roads, and are deemed necessary. It’s no surprise that tire chains are also called snow chains because they provide great grip on ice and snowy roads.

Sometimes, tire chains are a must — seriously

While mandatory on most mountain roads during the winter, nearly every U.S. state has its own individual laws when it comes to tire chains. These laws tell you when you can, can’t, should and must have a set of tire chains on your tires. Be sure to check with your state’s transportation department to find out more.

Tire chains and your vehicle

Use your tire chains according to the type of vehicle you drive.

  • Front-wheel-drive vehicles must install tire chains on the front tires.
  • Rear-wheel-drive vehicles must install tire chains on the rear tires.
  • It is only necessary to have tire chains on the one driving axle when travelling in chain required areas (see above). However, when driving an AWD or 4WD vehicle, some drivers prefer to use tire chains on all tires. In most conditions a single set of tire chains will provide enough traction, however there are significant benefits with using two sets on AWD or 4WD vehicles.

Some general tire chain tips

  • Your tire chain size is based on your tire size. Don’t know your tire size? Visit our Tire Finder.
  • If you enter into an area where tire chains are required, they must be on your tire regardless of the tire type.
  • Don’t exceed the max speed suggested by the tire chain manufacturer.
  • Do not drive on dry pavement with Tire Chains.
  • Always check your vehicle’s user manual for more information about tire chains.

Get the right set of tires for winter

Cooper has the right winter tires to help you conquer winter driving.