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Frequently asked questions

Are snow chains suitable for my vehicle?
If your vehicle hasn’t been modified, it’s a simple case of checking your vehicle manual. If your vehicle has been modified (e.g. lowered), then it is your responsibility to decide if you can fit snow chains. Snow chains need sufficient clearance around the wheels to run safely, so running larger rims with wider tyres makes fitting snow chains more challenging.

Tip: To check if there is enough room to fit chains safely on a modified car, turn the wheel to a hard lock, then run your hands over the tyre tread on the inside of the wheel.

A simple guide: If you can get your hand behind the tyre up to your knuckles without obstruction, there should be enough room to safely fit snow chains.

Also check the inside of your wheel arch for signs of wear. If tight turns are causing wear on the inside of your wheel arch, then you won’t have enough room for snow chains.

Which wheels of my two-wheel drive should I fit Snowsweat snow chains to?
On a two-wheel drive vehicle, snow chains must always be fitted to wheels on the driving axle to get traction.

On my four-wheel drive, do I fit snow chains to the front or rear wheels?
Increasing numbers of new four-wheel drive vehicels cannot fit snow chains to the front wheels. Changes in suspension design and the introduction of new technology have reduced the clearance around the front wheels making it unsafe to fit snow chains. If unsure, check your owners’ manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.
If you have the clearance to fit snow chains to all four wheels, you will get the best traction possible with snow chains fitted to all four wheels. Fitting snow chains to all four wheels will retain the four-wheel drive characteristics of your vehicle and provide superior performance.
 
Snowsweat snow chains recommends fitting snow chains to all four tyres on a 4WD in deep snow. Tests show performance in traction and climbing ability almost doubles when chains are fitted to all four wheels rather than two wheels.  

Warning: Snowsweat snow chains must be fitted on either both front wheels or both rear wheels.NEVER fit snow chains only on one side of the vehicle or diagonally opposed. 
 

I have low profile tyres, will snow chains damage my rims?
Low profile tyres have a smaller than average tyre sidewall. Tyres with a very small sidewall of 30-40mm are not ideal for fitting snow chains. It is the customers responsibility and decision to fit snow chains to tyres with low sidewall height. Reducing the sidewall height of the tyre provides less area for the snow chains to fasten onto. With a reduction in sidewall height, it becomes even more important to fit the snow chains properly around the tyre. The snow chains need to be centred on the tyre, securely fastened and fitted tightly so they won't move. If these things are followed correctly then you will minimise potential damage to your rims.

Should I use snow tyres or snow chains?                                         
Tests have shown that fitting snow chains provides the best traction and climbing ability. Snow tyres are not used in New Zealand due to our climate and temperatures.

There are some roads in New Zealand, like the Milford Road and the Lindis Pass, where you can be fined for travelling without snow chains in your vehicle during winter months.

Do snow chains damage the environment?
As long as you follow best driving practices, a snow chain equipped vehicle will cause less track damage than one without chains. Think of the deep ruts that vehicles make when churning through soft ground. Snow chains give you the traction to keep your vehicle on the surface.

Why do you recommend such a low speed for driving?
Fitting snow chains to your vehicle adds extra weight to each wheel, this affects the steering weight and also the vehicle’s handling and responsiveness. 
Due to the forces of physics at work, snow chains must be fitted tightly around the tyre and the speed must be reduced. Inertia and centrifugal force are at work on the snow chains as the wheels rotate, applying these forces in an outward motion. Increasing the travelling speed increases these forces. When travelling long distances, make sure you check snow chains regularly and re-tension as required.

Lowering the speed reduces the risks and protects the roads, you and your vehicle.

Where can I safely fit my snow chains?
The safest place to fit snow chains is in a chain fitting bay. In New Zealand we have designated areas on treacherous alpine roads where you can safely pull over to fit or remove snow chains.

Tip: We highly recommend fittting your Snowsweat snow chains at home first so you get the hang of it. You don’t want to be stuck outside in a howling blizzard trying to get to grips with fitting snow chains.

What are the limitations of my snow chains?
Snow chains work very well if they are used correctly. They need to be the correct size for your tyre and they need to be fitted tightly. Drive intelligently, take your time and adjust your speed to the conditions and you will get optimum performance out of your snow chains.