If you live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, you’re allowed to put chains on your tires when the weather gets hazardous. But actually getting the chains on the tires is another matter, as is maintaining them. Instead of skipping the tire chains and risking your safety and your ability to drive in bad Colorado Springs weather, learn how to get tire chains on safely to remove some of the risk from your winter driving.
Size up Your Tires
You need chains that are the right size for your tires, so do your research before you purchase any. You may hear advice that says just to put chains on your drive tires. However, it’s safer to have chains on all four tires, since that keeps your ride even and prevents two of your wheels from slipping. Tire chains come in two types: the type you lay out in front of your wheels and drive onto and the type you can loop around your wheels. The loop type is more expensive, but it will be easier to install in the snow, so consider carefully before you buy.
Inspect Your Chains
If your chains aren’t new, take them out and look at them before you use them. Check the links for wear and make sure none are broken or are about to break. If any chains are twisted, untwist them. Look for rust, too. Surface rust is OK, but if it’s eating away at the metal, that’s not safe.
Practice Installing Them Before the Weather Gets Bad
Try putting your tire chains on before you’re facing the biggest blizzard Colorado Springs has seen in a decade. You don’t have to drive around with them on, but you do want to know that you can actually get them onto your tires before you absolutely need them. Practicing will give you an idea of how the process works and where you might get tripped up.
Tighten Them Twice
When you need them, put the chains on, then drive for about 15 feet (or you can back up; either way works). After you’ve done that, tighten the chains again. The initial installation may not have them as tight as they need to be, and driving with loose chains is bad for your tires, your vehicle, and the chains themselves.
Do Not Drive Fast, Ever
Tire chain manufacturers advise that you not drive any faster than 30 mph while the chains are on your tires. This is for a good reason, and it is not a rule that’s bendable or breakable. If you go faster than 30, you can break the tire chains, which is a recipe for disaster, since the broken chains can do significant damage to your car just in the time it takes you to realize they’ve broken and to stop to remove them.
The best way to put on tire chains in hazardous weather is to be as prepared as you can be before the weather hits. That means practicing, inspecting your chains at the start of winter, and watching the weather forecast.