Quick Guide to Snow Chains for Semi Trucks

snow chain for semi trucks on a wheel in deep snow in winter roadSemi truck drivers may find putting chains on their trucks a hassle. Other drivers may never need to chain their tires. However, every truck driver should know how to put them on and how they work. You never know when snow, sleet, or ice can make a road impassable. 

Why Use Chains?

Using snow chains for semi trucks reduces the risk of driving on snow or ice. When the road surface becomes covered in layers of snow and ice, conventional truck tires cannot cut through to gain traction. But with snow chains, semi trucks can minimize the risk of traveling on snow-covered roads. Some states require snow chains for semi trucks during harsh winters. Knowing how to install and use them can save drivers from being cited. Snow chains reduce the chance of a semi truck becoming stuck and losing valuable transport time.

How to Put Snow Chains on a Semi Truck’s Tires

All 18 wheels of a semi do not need chains, and knowing which tries to chain on a semi truck can simplify the job. Only the drive wheels need chains because they are the wheels that need the most traction. Use the following steps to place semi truck tire chains on a vehicle:

  1. Place the chains in front of each wheel.
  2. Be sure the adjustment cams are facing out.
  3. Roll the wheels forward onto the chains.
  4. Hook the chain between the duals.
  5. Use the adjustment wrench to tighten the cams.
  6. Test drive the truck.
  7. Check that the chains are secure.

Some drivers prefer to drape the chains over the tires rather than roll the wheels forward.

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How Do Automatic Snow Chains for Semi Trucks Work?

Automatic chains are also installed on the drive tires. The chains are comprised of between one and three chains made of steel, polyurethane, rubber, and fabric to make them durable under most conditions. A switch is installed on the dashboard to activate the chains.

After the driver activates the switch, the automatic chains should deploy in less than two seconds. The chains lower next to each wheel via an arm that throws the chains under the tires. The chains reduce the tire’s contact with the road surface and provide traction until turned off. As long as they make contact between the road surface and the tire, the tires are effective.

Trucks should not exceed 35 miles per hour with automatic chains. Automatic chains will work in reverse, but the spinning motion will be in the opposite direction. Trucks should not exceed five mph in reverse, or the chains could break.

If the automatic chains break, they will be thrown from the tire. Depending on speed and road conditions, they can damage the truck or nearby vehicles. Exceeding the recommended speed is the most common cause of chains breaking.

What Are Snow Socks?

Snow socks are made of fibrous fabric that penetrates the thin layer of water, ice, or snow. The socks create traction on the surface layer. They use elastomers to hold the socks in place; however, sizing is critical for an effective fit. Snow socks are not an acceptable alternative to chains in most states.

Tips for Driving in Snow

No matter the traction device, truck drivers should remember the following:

  • Driving Speed: The recommended speed when driving in snow is 30 to 35 mph.
  • Added Weight: Adjust your driving for the added weight of snow chains. 
  • Mandatory Chains: Snow socks are not an acceptable alternative to snow chains for semi trucks in most states.

The right traction device depends on the trucker and the road conditions. If routes take drivers through mountain ranges, traction devices will be a must. 

Veltri and Veltri Logistics

Veltri’s trucking services have served the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states for almost 50 years. From its founding, the family-owned business has focused on customer service and employee retention. We also believe in community involvement, participating in programs such as a mechanic co-op program.

Any trucking business can get items from point A to point B. What separates Veltri is how. Veltri Logistics has experts who work with customers to deliver the right solution for their shipping needs. They ensure clear communications that keep clients informed. There’s no time wasted wondering where a shipment is or when it will be delivered.

Contact Veltri Inc. to discover how our services can help your business thrive with reliable, on-time delivery.

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