Chains versus Cables
Driving in snowy conditions can be a dangerous endeavor if you’re not prepared. The snow can inhibit many drivers’ visions. Or even worse, it can negatively affect what control you may have driving your vehicle on the icy roads.
Fortunately, drivers have a couple of options to provide more traction for their cars during the winter season. Snow chains and snow cables, which are both fitted on tires, are meant to do just that.
Tire chains, also known as snow chains, are tools fitted onto the tires of vehicles to give it much improved traction.
Chains are often advertised in pairs. Because tires come in all different sizes and have different tread widths, they occasionally have to be purchased to match your vehicle’s particular measurements.
Also, because snow chains need to be installed directly onto your tires, they definitely affect your driving speed and fuel efficiency.
This means that although your handling and traction, such as braking and turning, are significantly improved on snowy and icy surfaces, your car can only go about 30 mph.
There are many regions in the world that require chains to be used in snowy weather conditions.
However, there are also many areas that prohibit the use of chains because they can destroy, or deteriorate, road surfaces.
The PrettyQueen set of tire chains definitely did not disappoint.
Initially, I thought these tire chains looked rather odd.
Visually, they’re much different from the traditional tire chains and tire cables I’ve seen in the past. They’re colored in mostly yellow and are designed to strap on to your tires, providing the added safety.
Each yellow tire chain is affixed with three 0.6-inch spiral steel bowls.
These spiral steel bowls act as the main source of traction. With five straps per tire, there are 15 spiral steel bowls in total working cohesively to provide more stability and safety to your vehicle.
Installation was rather quick and painless, for the most part.
PrettyQueen’s overall concept of the tire chains make it quick and easy for drivers to install. The roads often get slippery and icy in cold, snowy weather, so a quick installation can be very beneficial.
The instructions were very straightforward and easy to understand.
I simply, fastened the straps and fixed buckles one at a time until all five are tightly secured onto my tires. After I finished with the first tire, then I move on the second tire and basically do the same thing.
The best part is that you don’t have to move your vehicle to apply these chains.
The tire chains worked as advertised. They definitely reduced the speed of my car, since the chains physically strapped onto my tires.
However, speed probably shouldn’t be an issue since snowy terrain calls for slower and safer speeds.
For the most part, the tire chains stayed strapped on, and I had a solid and secure drive in snowy terrain to get to my destination.
Although it didn’t happen frequently, this issue could be a bigger problem in other situations. And because the straps loosened, they would constantly slap the tires as I drive.
- Brand: PrettyQueen
- Weight: 4.17 pounds
- Dimensions: 16.5 x 13.3 x 13.6 inches
- Model: Universal model fitted (7.2 – 11.6 inches)
- Package: Includes 10 pieces, packing bag, gloves
The Security Chain Company’s (SCC) tire cables did a fantastic job securing my ride in the snow.
Initially, the overall design of SCC’s tire cables looks aggressive. However, this is definitely a good thing as it is no easy job driving on snowy, icy terrain.
The tire cables are designed like a net.
They are meant to cover your whole tire and then fastened with rubber tighteners.
These rubber tighteners are meant to help secure the cables in place so you won’t need to retighten them after installation.
These cable lines zig-zag along the perimeter of the tire from six different points, and act as the main grip function on the icy/snowy road.
The installation process on with SCC’s tire cables were a breeze. The instructions even come with pictures for easy-to-follow directions.
Just wrap the cable around your tire and then install the rubber tensioners to secure the cable in place.
I didn’t even read the instructions on how to remove them correctly, but I uninstalled just as easily as I installed them.
The cables took 10 minutes to put on and also about 10 minutes to take off. SCC makes installation quick and painless. This bodes well particularly among drivers who live in snowy areas.
The time you can save from installing your tire cables/chains can be spent warming yourself up inside with the car heater.
However, the plastic gloves mostly likely need to be upgraded since you’ll be mostly working with the cables in snow.
Once the tire chains are installed, it works wonders.
Although they’re cables and not chains, I can still visibly see the indentions the cables leave in the snow for traction.
SCC’s chains grip the road well and made me feel very safe while driving in the snowy terrain.
I did not feel the car slip once, nor did I ever feel out of control. It was as almost if my vehicle was outperforming the other vehicles (with 4WD) with the help of these tire cables.
After a long drive with SCC’s tire cables, I find that the best maintenance to do is to spray some WD-40 on them to extend their life.
- Brand: Security Chain Company
- Weight: 1 pound
- Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 18 inches
- Designed for vehicles with very limited operating ground clearance around the tires
- Easy installation without need to move vehicle
- Rubber tensioner technology make it so you won’t have to stop and retighten your cables
- Better function with anti-lock brakes, traction control, all-wheel drive, and other electronically monitored control systems
Conclusion: Tire Cables vs Chains
Overall, I have to go with Security Chain Company’s tire cables.
But after much use, I don’t have to worry about it at all. Plus, SCC sells extra rubber tensioners at an affordable rate online.
All I had to do was install it, which took about 10 minutes, and I was back in my vehicle’s heater-fueled comforts. Additionally, the chain’s impact on the drive’s comfort was minimal. It did its job without making mine harder.
PrettyQueen’s tire chains were arguably much easier to install. However, a couple of the individual straps had the tendency to come loose.
The impact that PrettyQueen’s tire chains had in my drive’s comfort was also more displeasing than SCC’s. PrettyQueen’s tire chains are a little bulkier.
So, I could feel the bumps in the road a little more than I expected.
If I were planning a trip to somewhere with snowy terrain, I’d go with Security Chain Company’s tire cables over PrettyQueen’s tire chains.
SCC’s cables, although more expensive, hold tighter and provide with the extra comfort that I need while tacking the dangerous conditions of the road.
Do tire chains help in snow?
Tire chains absolutely do help in snow. The chains teeth grip into the snowy terrain and provide more traction for your vehicle.
The added traction, in turns, helps you maneuver and drive your vehicle safely in icy/snowy roads.
Do you need to put snow chains on all four tires?
Some trucks and extreme conditions may call for you to put snow chains on all four tires.
However, the important thing is that you get a pair of them on the right tires of your vehicle.
If they are rear-wheel drive, then you’d install them on the rear tires. If your vehicle is front-wheel drive, then you’d install them on your front tires.
Are snow chains bad for your car?
Snow chains are not bad for your car if you’re using them appropriate.
They need to only be used if there is a layer of ice or snow on the road. Using them without snow can do a lot of damage to your car.
Also, it highly forewarned that you don’t drive your car over 30mph.
As doing so can cause mass amounts of damage to your car.
What is better, snow tires or chains?
Overall, snow tires are probably the better way to go.
They provide added traction from new tread technology without causing your vehicle’s handling to suffer like chains. Snow tires also perform well on dry roads, so you don’t have to install and uninstall them every time.
However, many areas require certain types of cars to have tire chains installed while passing through.
Do you need snow chains for AWD?
Yes, you may still need snow chains for certain icy/snowy areas in order to safely maneuver your way through.
Although AWD adds a lot of power and control to your vehicles handling abilities, tire chains still provide the extra traction you’d need to drive through mountainous, snowy roads.
Do chains help on black ice?
Yes, chains should help on black ice. The chains’ teeth should sink into the ice and maintain traction.
However, it’s good to note that black ice is difficult to see.
Do tire cables work on ice?
Yes, they work about as well as studded snow tires work on ice.
The cable’s teeth grip the ice and adds traction and support.