Hotham Snow Chain Fitting Guide: What They Don’t Tell You


Hotham Snow Chain Fitting Guide: What They Don’t Tell You

Driving in snowy conditions requires careful preparation and one essential item to consider is snow chains. While snow chains can provide the traction needed for safe winter driving, there are a few important factors that often go unnoticed. In this guide, we’ll uncover some lesser-known aspects of snow chains and provide you with valuable tips to ensure a hassle-free and safe journey.

Not All Vehicles Can Fit Chains:

It’s crucial to be aware that not all vehicles are suitable for snow chains. Some vehicles, especially those with limited clearance or low-profile tyres, may not have adequate space to accommodate chains. Before hitting the snowy roads, check your vehicle’s user manual to determine whether chains can be safely fitted. If your vehicle’s manual advises against using chains, it’s important to consider this recommendation to avoid potential damage.

Clearance Trouble with Modern Cars:

Modern cars, known for their sleek design and lower ride height, often face clearance challenges when fitting snow chains. The combination of low clearance and wider tires can make it difficult to install chains without causing damage. Be cautious when considering snow chains for these vehicles, as improper installation can lead to costly repairs. It’s advisable to confirm your vehicle can fit chains before leaving home.

Insurance and User Manual Warnings:

Using snow chains contrary to the guidance provided in your vehicle’s user manual can potentially void your insurance coverage in case of an accident. Insurance companies often abide by the manufacturer’s recommendations, and if the manual advises against using chains, you may risk losing coverage. Always prioritise safety and consult your user manual to ensure compliance with manufacturer guidelines.

Types of Chains:

Snow chains come in various styles. You may have heard about Diamond Pattern or Ladder Chains. In Victorian Ski Resorts, Ladder chains are actually illegal to use. You should always seek out Diamond Pattern chains that offer traction across the tyre and around the tyre. We recommend avoiding cheap chains from retailers like Audi Supermarkets. They use lesser grade steel and will often break under wheel spin, leaving you stranded on the road in a blizzard.

Konig T2 magic size 266 snow chains for larger 4WD's - Paul's Ski Shop


What You Should Do to Prepare:

Check Your User Manual:

Start by reviewing your vehicle’s user manual. Look for specific instructions regarding snow chain usage. Your manual will also advise which tyres to fit snow chains to, either front wheels or rear. This will depend on your drive chain and clearance.

Choose an Appropriate Vehicle for Winter Driving:

If you know you’ll be driving in snowy conditions, consider selecting a vehicle that is well-suited for winter conditions. Some vehicles, such as 4x4s or those equipped with all-wheel drive, offer enhanced traction and stability on slippery roads. Prioritise safety and choose a vehicle that provides the necessary capabilities for your journey.

Seek Expert Advice in Harrietville (those closest to the conditions):

When in doubt about snow chains and their compatibility with your vehicle, don’t hesitate to reach out to experts for guidance. Hoys Skis in Harrietville is a trusted, family business that can provide specialised advice based on their extensive knowledge and experience. They can help you determine the best course of action to ensure safe winter driving.

Verify Clearance and Monitor for Noise:

Before hitting the road, visually inspect your vehicle’s clearance to ensure there is enough space for the snow chains. Look for at least two fingers’ width (one on top of the other) of clearance behind the back side of the tyre. Additionally, listen for any unusual knocking sounds while driving with snow chains, as this may indicate incorrect installation or not enough tension. Stop and adjust the chains if necessary. 

Snow Chain Hire - Hoys Skis

Fit the Chains Correctly and Check Tension:

Follow the road signs usually written “Fit Chains Here” or “No Vehicles Beyond this point Unless Wheel Chains Fitted”. These signs are in designated chain fitting bays and offer the safest spot to pull over and fit chains. Hoys Free Roadside Chain Fitting Service (Free when chains hired through Hoys Skis) will be positioned at this point during their operating hours. Chain fitting locations will change during the day as conditions change. You can get up to date information from Hoys Facebook posts.. When installing snow chains, ensure they are fitted tightly and securely. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and tension. Check the tension throughout your journey to ensure the chains remain snug and in optimal condition.

Snow Chain Hire - Hoys Skis

Choose Harrietville Cabins for your affordable and comfortable stay!

Harrietville Cabins has been providing sound advice and comfy cabins for over 20 years. Get in touch for more information on how our Cabins can make your Mt Hotham holiday seamless and affordable! Check out the list of common questions we’ve answered about your next Mt Hotham Holiday.

Harrietville Cabins among gum trees