Snow chains are an element that is not essential in Spain, except when bad weather intensifies. However, they never hurt to travel through certain cold areas when the thermometer drops. To equip ourselves, we have different types of snow chains, designed for different uses and user profiles.
In a country where mounting winter tires does not make sense, due to the environmental conditions in which we find ourselves, snow chains are the most interesting alternative to maintain our mobility when the cold rages and the snow makes an appearance.
However, precisely because we are not used to handling this type of chains, deciding which are the best snow chains for our car can be a considerable problem. Something that, without a doubt, will have consequences when we have to mount them if we have not done our homework properly. Therefore, when looking for the best snow chains , it is essential to know what models currently exist on the market and the main differences between them.
Types of snow chains
One of the advantages that those users who have never assembled snow chains have is that today there are different models with which it is easier both that assembly process and that of driving on the snow safely. Although there are also cheap and suitable chains for those who are more used to using them. These would be our options:
Metallic Snow Chains: These are the traditional snow chains of a lifetime. Chains that are hooked on the tires, generating a diamond-shaped design with which we can pull properly regardless of the amount of snow we have under the wheels. Its advantages include having a high resistance, as well as a lower price than other models on the market. However, the biggest drawback of this design is that the assembly of the chains is very complicated. For this reason, it is highly recommended to practice a little with dry and snow-free wheels for when we have to mount them in real conditions of use.
Textile chains : These chains are the last to arrive and the easiest to use. Visually, they are similar to the blankets used by race cars to keep the wheels warm before races. Its exterior textile design is combined with metallic elements, so that they give adequate traction, as long as the road has enough snow for it. As the main advantage, we have its assembly, as simple as covering the tires. The main drawback is its price, which is considerably higher. In addition, in case there is not enough snow on the road, the covers deteriorate with worrying speed.
Semi-automatic chains : Semi- automatic snow chains are an improved version of conventional metal snow chains. Its greatest advantage is the assembly, which is much simpler than in conventional models. These chains are mounted almost alone, by means of a manual adjustment system that allows them to be given the proper tension. Additionally, they provide greater stability while running, even with little snow. As a drawback, we have the price, which is usually as high as that of textile chains. Although as an alternative it may be worth it.
Hybrid chains : These chains have a similar approach to metal chains, although they change this material for a very efficient braiding when rolling, which reduces their weight and generates greater adherence during our movement. In addition, they have a simpler mounting system than that of conventional chains, although not as easy as that of covers or semi-automatic ones. Anyway, they are another alternative to the usual metal chains.
Choosing the size
Once we are clear about the different types of chains currently on the market, it is time to take the next step and choose the size that best suits us. In general, the sizes are variable, depending on the type of chains that we are considering purchasing. However, in most cases it is essential to know the exact measurements of the tire that our vehicle mounts, since each wheel has a different size.
In the case of conventional metal chains, this size is usually indicated directly in measurements, taking advantage of the wide range of existing tire equivalences to offer unique products that are compatible with as many wheel sizes as would be the equivalences of said measurement. So we just have to look for chains of the right size for our tires to avoid problems.
If we talk about textile chains, there are models in which this design approach is maintained by tire measurements, although the most common is to see conventional sizes such as L, S, M, etc. The explanation is due to the design of these chains, which is more versatile when it comes to mounting on different tires. In any case, the tire size for which each measure of said textile chains can be used is also included next to said size.
This same approach is usually the usual for both semiautomatic and hybrid chains, given that due to their characteristics these can be comfortably adjusted to tires of different dimensions. However, it is still necessary to take a look at the measurements, in order to make sure that we will not have problems when mounting them.
As a final step, a couple of things to remember. The first is that the chains are always mounted on the drive wheels of the vehicle, so we do not need more than a couple of chains to ensure our mobility. In any case, in the event of particularly heavy snowfall, a second set can always be added to the other axle, for greater safety.
If you have a 4 × 4, in principle you should not need chains, since almost all terrains have tires marked M + S, initials equivalent to the expression Mud and Snow, or mud and snow, which allows you to drive on those surfaces without risks. However, in case you need chains, it is necessary that they be placed on the axle that has the most traction. If your vehicle has the possibility of distributing said traction, it will be convenient to adjust it to what you need, although the option of mounting chains on all 4 wheels is the most recommended.