**How to Figure Out the Size of Tire Chains**
Are you preparing for winter driving and considering using tire chains for added traction? Tire chains are a great way to enhance your vehicle’s grip on snow and ice-covered roads, but it’s essential to choose the right size to ensure a proper fit. Figuring out the size of tire chains you need can be a bit confusing, but fear not! In this article, we will walk you through the steps to determine the correct size of tire chains for your vehicle.
Before we dive into the specifics, let’s briefly understand what tire chains are and why they are beneficial. Tire chains are devices that wrap around your vehicle’s tires to provide additional traction on slippery surfaces. They consist of a series of interconnected metal links that grip the road and prevent the tires from spinning. By using tire chains, you can significantly improve your vehicle’s traction and reduce the risk of accidents while driving in snowy or icy conditions.
Measuring Your Tires
The first step to figuring out the size of tire chains you need is to measure your tires. To do this, you will need a few tools, including a tape measure and a gauge or penny.
Step 1: Find the Tire Size
The size of your tire is usually imprinted on the sidewall. It is a combination of numbers and letters, such as P215/65R15 or 235/75R16. This alphanumeric code indicates the tire’s width, aspect ratio, and rim diameter.
Step 2: Measure the Width
Using a tape measure, measure the width of your tire. Place the tape measure across the tread from one sidewall to the other. Take note of the measurement in millimeters or inches, depending on your preference.
Step 3: Measure the Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio is the height of the tire’s sidewall as a percentage of the width. For example, if the aspect ratio is 65, it means that the height of the sidewall is 65% of the tire’s width. To measure the aspect ratio, you can use a gauge specifically designed for this purpose or a penny.
If you opt for a gauge, place it against the sidewall of the tire and read the corresponding aspect ratio value. If you choose to use a penny, insert it into the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it means your tire’s aspect ratio is lower than 50%.
Step 4: Determine the Rim Diameter
The rim diameter is the size of the wheel the tire is designed to fit. It is usually indicated in inches. To determine the rim diameter, measure the distance between the bead seats on the tire’s inner circumference. Bead seats are the areas on the wheel where the tire rests.
Selecting the Right Size of Tire Chains
Now that you have measured your tires, it’s time to choose the correct size of tire chains. The size of tire chains you need will correspond to the tire size. Most manufacturers provide a size chart that matches tire sizes with the corresponding chain size. It’s crucial to follow these guidelines to ensure a proper fit.
When selecting tire chains, pay attention to the following factors:
1. Chain Clearance: Ensure there is sufficient clearance between the tire and other vehicle components, such as fenders or suspension parts. Inadequate clearance may cause damage to your vehicle or the chains themselves.
2. Chain Style: There are various chain styles available, including ladder-style, diamond-pattern, and v-bar chains. Each style has different characteristics and is suitable for specific road conditions. Consider your driving needs and the road conditions you are likely to encounter.
3. Fitment Type: Some tire chains require additional devices like tensioners or adjusters for proper installation and secure fitment. Make sure you choose the right fitment type for convenience and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use tire chains on all types of vehicles?
A: Tire chains can be used on most types of vehicles, including cars, trucks, SUVs, and RVs. However, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure compatibility.
Q: Can I install tire chains myself?
A: Yes, installing tire chains can usually be done by yourself. However, it’s advisable to practice installing them before you hit the road, especially if you’ve never used chains before. This will help you become familiar with the process and ensure a secure fit.
Q: Are tire chains legal?
A: Tire chain regulations vary by state and country. It’s crucial to check the local laws and regulations regarding the use of tire chains. Some areas may require specific types of chains or have restrictions on when and where you can use them.
Choosing the right size of tire chains is crucial for safe and effective winter driving. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can accurately determine the size of tire chains you need for your vehicle. Remember to measure your tires carefully and consult the manufacturer’s size chart for guidance. Additionally, consider your driving needs and the specific road conditions you are likely to encounter. With the right size of tire chains properly installed, you can drive confidently and securely on snow and ice-covered roads. Stay safe out there!