Snow Chains: Choose The Right Ones To Save

Snow chains are offered in different models, which have variable prices based on quality but also the size. Which is the right one for your tires?

If you have decided to buy snow chains in order not to run into hefty fines when there is an obligation to have them on board, it is to be considered that not all are the same and that the price varies from one model to another and not a little.

What makes the difference is, as often happens with all products, the quality of the pair of snow chains that are sold. Secondly, the size of the product also determines the price: a snow chain suitable for an economy car will undoubtedly be less expensive than one that will be mounted on a sedan. This is due to the size of the tire, which, as is evident, differs from the two-car models taken into consideration.

The first step

First of all, when you decide to buy snow chains, you need to check the size of the tires that are mounted on your vehicle in the vehicle registration document.

Once this data is detected, you can start to evaluate which snow chains to buy. And here a world of offers and models opens up: let’s say right away that a feature that cannot be missed, when you put your eyes on a model you like, is its homologation.

This, in fact, in practice certifies the possibility that they are installed on cars circulating on Italian territory. The two abbreviations, which must be checked for the technical specifications of each snow chain that will be purchased, are precisely CUNA NC 178-01 or ON V 5117.

If these two acronyms are not present, then it means that the snow chains that are being purchased cannot be used in Italy, let alone in the rest of the countries belonging to the European Union.

This problem can happen when buying snow chains online, perhaps on different sites that are not part of the EU. The paradox is that there is no upstream control to prevent users from buying a product that cannot be used in Italy, and everything is left to the buyer himself, who can also be unaware of these limitations, discovering them (now too much later) only in case he is stopped by the police. 

Where to buy

The problem should not exist if you buy in Italy from an auto accessories store, even if it is a good idea always to check, or at least ask the sales staff if the chains are approved according to the two acronyms mentioned above.

In practice, fitting snow chains that are not approved for use in Italy is equivalent to not having them. Therefore, if you have stopped by the police, the inevitable administrative sanction will be triggered.

It is 84 euros if you are pinched to circulate suburban roads and 41 euros if this happens on urban streets. At a price level we can generally consider that, for the models with 9 mm meshes (those to be installed on small cars and sedans), the expense to be incurred is around 50/70 euros. It goes up to 90 euros and more for all vehicles that need chains with 16 mm links, or SUVs and off-road vehicles.

There are also approved snow chains that are of the latest generation and which have the main feature of being very simple to install. To solve this problem, many manufacturers have indulged in finding very different solutions.

These snow chains, however, are also the most expensive, with prices that can easily exceed even 200 euros per couple, based, as always, on the size of the tire that mounts your car.

Given the price certainly not very cheap, they are therefore ideal for those who need to mount them, because they often face mountain roads. In this case, even the standard thermal tires could not be sufficient to move safely when the snow on the road surface is abundant.

If, on the other hand, you want a pair of snow chains to keep on board, first of all in order not to incur fines, and secondly to be used only in case of a rare snowfall, the advice is to buy an economic model.

Even these types, albeit paid very little, must be able to be mounted on their tires (therefore the chains must be of the right size) and must be approved according to the EU regulations in force.

In summary, the best snow chains are the ones that best match your needs. It is not always the price that determines the quality of a product, and in this specific case, it can often be a limit, mainly if assessed based on the use made of the purchased object.

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