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The Complete Guide to Snow Chains and How to Drive in the Snow

May 06, 2022 7 min read

Free Australian Shipping on orders over $50 🙌

The Complete Guide to Snow Chains and How to Drive in the Snow

We are fortunate in Australia to have well-kept, enclosed mountain roads but this doesn’t necessarily mean we are free of black ice and hazardous driving conditions! If you’re heading to the snow or planning your next snow trip, then this handy guide on snow chains will help ensure you get there and back safely.

Whilst planning your snow trip you may find different resorts or websites will give you different advice and its always best to stay safe and be prepared with snow chains in your car.

How to Drive with Snow Chains

What are Snow Chains and Why do You Need Them?

Snow chains are a set of metal links that are fitted to the tyres of your vehicle. They help to provide traction in snow and ice, which is essential for driving in wintery conditions.

There are many reasons why you need snow chains, but the most important one is safety. Snow chains provide better traction than conventional tyres and they can give you more control over your vehicle when driving on slippery surfaces.

Snow chains are also good for the environment because they reduce friction on the road surface, so there is less chance of pollution from braking or accelerating.

How to Drive in the Snow

How to Choose the Best Snow Chains for Your Car

Tyre chains are an excellent way to improve your vehicle's traction on snow and ice. They are available for almost every vehicle, including cars, trucks, SUVs, and 4x4s. However, how do you know what size tyre chains to purchase? Which one is better for ice, snow, or mud? We're here to help you choose the right snow chains for your application and vehicle, whether you'll be driving around town or up slick mountain roads.

How to select Snow Chains:

Step 1: Determine whether your vehicle has any tyre chain restrictions (check your manual often found under the winter driving or tyres section).

Step 2: Determine your tyre size.

Step 3: Determine which tyre chains are best suited to your vehicle by checking Konig's Fit Guide.

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Step 1: Determine whether your vehicle has any tyre chain restrictions.

Before proceeding, consult your vehicle's owner's manual for any restrictions on tyre chain usage. Not all vehicles have enough space between the back of the tyre and the suspension for chains. If your vehicle is one of these, it may sustain serious damage if fitted with chains. Certain other vehicles necessitate the use of specific tyre chains in order to maintain a safe distance between the tyres and wheel wells (as well as suspension, splash pans, etc). Some vehicle can only have chains fitted to the front or rear tires, If your vehicle requires specific tyre chains, your owner's manual will tell you.

Step 2: Determine your tyre size.

It is critical to choose properly fitting chains for safe driving. Fortunately, determining your tyre size is simple: simply look at the sidewall of your tyre. It will have the following dimensions: 185/60/15 or 185/60R15. The first number is the width of your tyre in millimetres. The second is the height of the sidewall measured from wheel rim to top of the tread, expressed as a percentage of tire width. The third parameter is the diameter of the wheel in inches. However, all you really need to know is the tyre number so you can match it up with the correct tyre chains. We suggest using this helpful online tool (https://www.konigchain.com/au-en/configurator/configurator-consumer) to help find the right size snow chains for the make and model of your car. To begin, select your vehicle model or shop by tyre size

Step 3: Determine the best tyre chains for your application.

After you've narrowed down your size options, it's time to select the chain that best meets your requirements. In Australia we can often be required to fit chains by the resorts before we reach the the snow, because of this the thickest chain (9mm, 10mm, 12mm, 16mm) that is compatible with your vehicle is usually the best.

Step 4: Determine how often you will use tyre chains.

If you're going to be installing and removing tyre chains on a regular basis, easy installation should be near the top of your list when it comes to selecting chains. Having tyre chains in your trunk is useless if you can't use them when you need them. Manual tensioning or 2 Stop chains can be slower to fit than newer auto tensioning chains. On the other hand, perhaps you hope to never use your chains and only keep them in your trunk for emergencies or because your local laws require them. In this case, you may opt for budget chains that lack easy-install features. Tyre chains are classified into three types: automatic tensioning, assisted tensioning, and manual tensioning. What's the distinction? It all comes down to how the chains are tightened on the tyres, and this has a big impact on how easy they are to install.

How to Fit and Install KONIG CG-9, CL-10 or XG-12 Pro Snow Chains on Your Car

Putting snow chains on your vehicle isn't easy, but once you've done it once, the mystery will be gone, and you'll be able to bore everyone down the pub with your new-found skill. Below is a guide to fit our 3 most popular snow chains.

Remember to purchase chains that are appropriate for your tyres; never try to use snow chains that are either too large or too small, as installing the wrong chains can lead to dangerous driving and vehicle damage.

Tyre Snow Chains Australia

Top Tip! Get a pair of gardening or old snow gloves and put them in the box with your chains.

Step 1: Place the separated chains near the tyres: Usually for front-wheel-drive vehicles, the chains should be placed on the front two tyres, and for rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the chains should be placed on the rear two wheels. For 4x4 or all wheel-drive vehicles the chains are usually fitted to the front tires. Please check your vehicle manual, in rare cases it will specify to fit them differently to what is indicated above.

Start by sliding the yellow end of the blue plastic covered cable around the back of the tire and bringing it back round close to meeting the other end infront of the tire.

Step 2: Lift the two ends up and lock them together as you drape the now connected chain over the top of the tyre.

Step 3: Connect the two red links that should now be hanging across the front of the rim together.

Step 4: Shift the blue plastic covered cable to the back of the tire so that it is centered behind the tire and wont be driven over, once you've done this you shold also find the straight sections of chain are now centered on your tire.

Step 5: Pull the grey plastic ratchet cable throught the red metal ratchet and connect to the red elastic hook.

These are self tensioning chains but it is still recommended to drive forwards a couple of meters and quickly check they are nice and tight. Also, if you hear them making contact with your vehicle at any point, come to a complete stop and re-adjust them.

König XG-12 Pro | CL-10 | CG-9 | XG CROSS

König CD-9 | CB-12 | XD-16 PRO | XB-16


How to Drive with Snow Chains on Your Tyres

Listen for a loud slapping or metal on metal sound while driving with snow chains. STOP as soon as you hear any indication that a chain may be broken or hitting your car. Chains that are loose or broken can wrap around a strut or shock component, causing significant damage to your vehicle.

Here are some tips for driving with winter chains on your vehicle to help prevent damage.

  • Do not exceed 30-50km per hour or you risk damaging the chains or your vehicle.
  • Remove the snow chains at the first safe location.
  • Maintain safe distances between yourself and other cars; it takes twice as long to stop in the snow and rain.
  • Use fog lights instead of high beams or head lights
  • Avoid large puddles if possible
  • Avoid wheel locking or spinning by accelerating or braking suddenly.
  • Avoid driving on dry roads for extended periods as the vehicle can slide and the chains will rapidly wear.

Before You Go to the Snow

Ready to go to the snow? Hold up. Do the following two things before you leave.

Driving conditions are hazardous when chains are required. Snow may be falling, passing vehicles splattering slush, slick roads, and it may be dark outside. Don't put on your chains for the first time when you’re at the snow.

BEFORE you travel, practise installing your new chains. Make use of a dry garage or driveway to ensure that your winter tyre chains are the correct size and that you are comfortable putting them on. If you need additional guidance, you can view youtube clips such as this to help.

Prepare a simple winter road trip safety kit with warm gloves, a torch, garbage bag, waterproof layers, and other items to improve the safety and comfort of your winter driving. Always keep this emergency kit and tyre chains in your vehicle during the winter.

Guide to Tyre Snow Chains in Australia

Taking Off Snow Chains From Your Tyres

Pull over in a safe spot and unhook the chains. Begin by removing the bungee and chain from the tensioner by unhooking them from the guide. Unhook the hook the cable connections. Once all of your chains are off and resting flat on the ground, slowly pull backwards or forwards a few steps to safely pick them up.

Packing and Storing Snow Chains

Lay your chains out in the garage to dry at the end of your journey. They can rust if you pack them wet. Check them for wear as well, especially if you've driven them on asphalt for any length of time. Look for flat spots and replace any chains that you find. Check that everything is straight and that the chains are not looped over one another while holding them.

It is recommended to wash snow chains as soon as possible in warm soapy water, preferably with a firm brush, to remove any salt residue and. Make sure the chains are oiled or spray them with WD40 and hang them again to dry, until you are ready to use them next time.


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