Your Tire Chain Questions, Answered

November 21, 2019

When can I use tire chains in my state?

In many states, the general rule is that tire chains may be used for safety when snow and/or icy conditions are present, but are not required. However, some states have more stringent regulations for when tire chains can, or must, be used. 

  • California has complex requirements for tire chain use, especially for commercial vehicles and tractor-trailers. In the northern and mountainous regions, there are three levels of tire chain requirements that can be imposed based on the severity of weather conditions. For more information, you can read all about California’s tire chain laws at the Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) website
  • It’s no surprise that winter driving in Colorado can be a challenge. State regulations vary for commercial and passenger vehicles. 
  • In some regions of Oregon, tire chains may be required during inclement weather. Along major highways, there are specific “chain-up” areas where drivers can equip their vehicles. For more about Oregon’s tire chain laws, visit the ODOT website.
  • During the winter months, commercial vehicles are required to carry tire chains in the state of Washington. Read more about winter driving in Washington at the WSDOT website.

These are just a few examples of states with strict tire chain laws. Before embarking on winter road travel, check out our Tire Chain Laws and Regulations By State PDF to be sure you’re in compliance throughout your journey.


Can I use tire cables instead of chains?

While tire cables are lighter and can work for occasional use, tire chains are a superior choice. They offer better traction, longer life, and better corrosion resistance. In inclement weather, taking the extra time and effort to put on tire chains can mean the difference between getting stuck and arriving at your destination safely. 

In addition, it’s important to follow state laws that require tire chains during snowy and icy conditions—not only for your safety, but also to avoid hefty fines.


How fast can I drive with tire chains?

Driving speeds should be a maximum of 30 mph.  At faster speeds the product life of any tire chain product is significantly reduced.  While travelling with tire chains installed it is important to periodically check your chains for tightness and re-tighten if necessary.  Prolonged driving on bare pavement will substantially reduce product life.


What is a cam-type tire chain? 

Cam style refers to chains that have a tightening mechanism built in to multiple points of the side chain.  Once the cam chain is installed on a tire the cams are tightened with a special tool and slack in the chain is removed.  Cams provide a quick and easy way to tighten chains and eliminate the need for an extra rubber or spring adjuster.


How do I install my tire chains?

On the side of the road, during a blizzard, after skidding out is not the ideal place to learn how to install your tire chains for the first time! Proper installation varies from chain type to chain type. Check out our instructional videos to find tutorials on installing your Laclede tire chains.


Where can I buy Laclede tire chains?

We offer many types of traction products at Laclede. This article is a helpful resource for deciding which is right for you. While Laclede does not sell tire chains directly, you can call us at 800-547-4702 and our customer service staff will help you find the tire chains that meet your needs.