Whether we want to admit it or not, winter is coming. Sooner than later, the wind will turn cold, and snow will start falling on our roof. Eventually, roads will get turn white as they get covered with snow. This means that it will also get harder for people to travel because surfaces will get slippery. For those who own a car, you probably already know that no matter how big or small your tires are, without proper traction, it would be hard to drive. Fortunately, snow tires and chains are available to boost your tires with the traction that they need. The question is, which one is better between snow chains vs snow tires?
Snow chains vs snow tires are not new. There have been a lot of ongoing debates regarding this topic. Let’s try to summarize the advantages and disadvantages of each so you can decide on which one to purchase. Before that, let us get to know them first.
Power of Snow Tires
As the name implies, snow tires are used for snowy roads. It has two types. The first type is studded tires, which are metallic and lightweight. They are attached to the tread of your tires and function mainly to provide additional gripping power on roads that have deep and packed snow. The second type is those that have no studs. Instead of using metallic studs, these tires are made from rubber that also enhance the traction of your car.
These tires are convenient because they can be easily installed and removed once you do not need them anymore. However, the downside is that you would have to allot a huge space in your garage to store the tires. Also, if you are not adept at installing tires, you would have to even pay for someone to do the task for you.
You also need to be careful when using these tires, especially during spring or in other seasons, because they can damage dry pavements. Some cities have rules and regulations regarding the use of snow tires, so make sure to check if your place of residence has one.
Do Snow Chains Work?
Snow chains are like accessories to your tires. Imagine them as metal cages that are wrapped around your tires. They are attached to your driving wheels (usually the tires in front) for superior traction. An advantage of snow chains over snow tires is that the former provides more excellent traction. If you plan on traveling and driving through snowy mountains, you will need these snow chains for your safety.
It is very easy to use these snow chains because they can be adjusted accordingly based on your needs. For example, if the time comes that there will be lesser snow and the chains get on the way already, you can remove them one by one. Remember that snow chains should not be used on dry roads because they can cause surface scratches.
How Effective are Snow Chains?
Snow chains are proven to keep you safe from injury as you navigate your way through snowy roads. These cages were designed to protrude from your tires so that they can get a good grip on the deep snow. They can penetrate through snow-packed streets, so it would feel like you are just usually driving your car in the city or countryside.
Since they will give you the control that you need, your driving speed would also be limited to an average of 30 mph. Too much acceleration and unnecessary breaks can cause your chains to get easily worn out. You also need to check the laws in your city regarding speed limits when using chains.
Video Credit – William Johnson
Differences Between Snow Chains Vs Snow Tires
Both products were meant to provide traction to your car as you drive along snowy roads. Regardless of whether it is studded or not, snow tires can give you traction in icy conditions. Studded ones are better than non-studded tires because the studs provide additional gripping power as they come into contact with the snow surface. However, based on the observation of consumers and experts, snow chains provide more excellent traction because of their structure and the materials used. How effective are snow chains? Well, they can be used for snow-packed roads and depths that tires may not be able to handle.
Snow tires are more expensive than snow chains. Aside from the cost of the product itself, you would also have to pay for its installation before the start of the cold season and its removal afterward. You will probably spend $150 to $190 for this. If you have a tight budget, snow chains are right for you since they are cheaper (more or less $50 to $100).
Snow tires, precisely the stud-less type, easily get worn out. If you live in a city where it takes months for the snow to dissolve, this might not be ideal. They also wear out faster when used in dry conditions. Studded snow tires are more reliable, so if you will be driving through heavy-duty conditions, this is another choice. Chains can also be very durable, especially when they are plated with heavy material. Since they were made to protect tires from damages, you can expect that they will be made of materials that are less prone to all forms of damage.
This aspect is where snow tires have an advantage over chains. Non-studded tires may be used in dry pavements. However, studded tires are not. In some cities, they even consider it illegal to use these tires because they can cause damage to dry surfaces. For some, they can use it but only temporarily. Snow chains should not be used in dry pavements unless you want to feel uncomfortable and rattled as you are driving through the road. They can also damage the surface, so use them when it is only necessary.
As you can see, you have a lot of options to choose from when you want to prepare for the coming winter. Snow chains vs snow tires is a complicated matter to discuss since each has its pros and cons. However, considering the factors that matter the most (price and traction), snow chains would be a better choice.