chaines neige camping-car

RV tire chains for winter camping

When temperatures drop during the winter, high altitude destinations can become layered with ice and snow. On roads such as these, RV tire chains become an invaluable part of the road trip toolkit. Here is some useful information about what snow chains are, when they should be used, and how to attach them.

A road trip can take you to all kinds of exciting destinations. During winter, temperatures in high altitude areas can easily drop below zero degrees and driving conditions can become hazardous without the right preparation.

Motorhomes are big and heavy, it’s therefore vital to be prepared for icy or snowy road conditions. The heavier the RV, the more traction is required to stop the tires from slipping and get the vehicle moving. RV tire chains are a common tool carried by drivers to add additional grip to their vehicle’s tires.

Before embarking on a road trip, it’s worth understanding what RV tire chains are, when they’re needed, and how to attach them.

Why use RV tire chains in winter?

Tire chains—also known as snow chains—are fitted to the exterior of the tires to add further grip to the vehicle in snowy, icy or slippery driving conditions. Without the additional grip provided by the RV tire chains, the wheels would simply spin and the vehicle would become stuck.

RV’s are heavier than standard cars and this additional weight can make it difficult for standard tires to find traction in slippery conditions. The horizontal links on the RV tire chains bite into the surface, allowing the wheels to gain traction.

RV tire chains

When should RV tire chains be used?

If RV tire chains improve the grip of a vehicle, why don’t drivers simply leave them on throughout the winter? RV tire chains should only be fitted to the tires when the road surface is covered by snow, mud, or ice and removed immediately once the conditions improve.

RV tire chains are designed to bite into softer surfaces and without this, the chains will cause permanent damage to the vehicle’s tires and the road surface. Furthermore, the use of snow chains significantly reduces a vehicle’s fuel efficiency and inhibits the top speed, so it’s wise to remove the RV tire chains as soon as it’s safe to do so. 

In some areas, signs will appear at the side of the road informing the driver that snow chains should be carried on that route. Signs such as these are typically found at high altitudes where temperatures are low and snowfall is common. Some local authorities have made it mandatory to carry snow chains at certain times of the year, so drivers should always check the policies of the country they’re travelling to.

When to use RV tire chains

How to attach RV tire chains?

RV tire chains are designed to be attached over the exterior of the tires without having to remove the wheels, although fitting them to the vehicle’s tires can be a hassle without the right know-how. Therefore, if you’re planning on travelling to wintery destinations, it’s always worth installing the RV tire chains at home, before trying to do it for the first time atop a mountain amid an icy blizzard.

When looking for RV tire chains, it’s essential to buy ones that are the appropriate size for the tires on the vehicle. To find the right size RV tire chains, take note of the tire’s diameter and tread width and make sure these measurements correspond with those listed on the snow chain specifications.

Attach RV tire chains

To attach the RV tire chains to the vehicle, first lay out the chains, remove any twisted or kinked links and make sure side chains and cross chains are all straight. Then, carefully pick up the chain and lay it over the tire, ensuring it’s evenly centered. RV tire chains should only be attached to the drive wheels of the vehicle. Make sure to read the user manual of the motorhome to make sure you know which wheels are the drive wheels.

Once happy with the placement of the chain over the tire, hop in the RV and drive slowly forward about a meter. Now, the loose ends of the chain can be linked together. Make sure to fasten the inner chain first. After linking the chain, make sure it is attached over the tire as tightly as possible. Some RV tire chains come with tighteners that can be used to further increase the chain’s tension around the tire. It’s important to make sure the chain fits snugly around the sides of the tire to ensure optimal performance.

Remember, these are only basic guidelines for installing RV tire chains. Always make sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before attaching snow chains to the vehicle.

You’re ready to go on a winter camping adventure! 

Traveling by road offers unparalleled freedom to discover the unbeaten tracks and little-known destinations while keeping prices low. So, whether you want to rent an RV to go explore the most beautiful winter destinations, or if you own one and want to rent it out, and give your renters the best winter experience, RV tire chains are essential. For more information about the right preparation for winter camping, make sure to check out our RV winter camping tips. 

About the Autor

Soufiane Ouhmad

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