Collision Repair Center Tips: Chains or No Chains This Winter?

Posted on: November 6th, 2014 by Accurate Auto Body Denver No Comments

457411445 In Colorado, we’ve all traversed the mountains before and seen a sign warning us to “stop and put chains on.” Unfortunately, not many people truly understand when to use chains. At Accurate Auto Body, a collision repair center in Colorado, we strive to keep our clients informed about their vehicles and their required maintenance. So what are chains and when should we be using them?

Snow chains, otherwise known as tire chains, are used to maximize traction in hazardous conditions. When driving in thick snow, or particularly icy conditions, they can be the best defense against slipping or losing control of your vehicle. There is no one-size fits all with chains, and so you need to buy the appropriate chains for your car. It’s also important to note that chains can be detrimental to your car’s fuel efficiency and should only be placed on your tires when necessary.

So when do we put them on?

More often than not, the State Patrol will place signs about requiring chains for certain vehicles during poor conditions. Generally speaking, semi-trailer trucks and commercial vehicles will be the only vehicles required to put on chains even in the mildest of conditions. This is because these vehicles can present a great risk to others on the road and the utmost safety precautions are necessary. But in truly abysmal circumstances, you may be told to put on chains for your private vehicle. If your car has four-by-four capability, then sometimes you can bypass this requirement. However; more often than not, a strict requirement for all vehicles will be issued. If there are no patrol signs reporting the need for chains, then you’ll have to go with your intuition. If you can tell your car is really struggling in the snow, it may be necessary to put on the chains.

Many people freak out when they are told to put their chains on, but in reality it’s not so complicated. Many highways will have chain stations on the road before hitting a steep part of the road. Other times, you can just drive off to the shoulder and install them there. Once you’re in a safe place (parked with your emergency brake on and away from oncoming traffic), take your chains out and lay them flat on the ground. Try to work out any kinks in them and install the chains on every tire. Get the chain on most of the tire, then drive forward to expose the last portion of the tire. Once the chains are all over the tires, connect them together and tighten them as much as you can. If it isn’t tight all over the tire, you need to start over. Furthermore, after your first half-mile, you may want to stop and retighten them to secure the tightest bond. After that, you should be good to go for your drive. Of course, an alternative to using chains can be having all-purpose or snow tires that can do just as well in adverse conditions.

How To Use This Information

Having a set of chains for your tires in emergencies is important, and knowing how to install them will save you a headache on that one snowy day in the mountains. If you had a hard time following our instructions, then be sure to ask our mechanics in person the next time you visit one of our collision repair centers. We will be happy to give you a demonstration so that you aren’t left out in the cold the next time you drive. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 303-344-2212, or visit our website here.

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