Why do I need chains?
What sort of chains do I need?
In icy conditions, diamond pattern chains are the safest. They are designed so that there is always some chain contacting the road. Diamond pattern chains are recommended if the road is icy, or snow and ice are likely during your stay. Diamond pattern chains are mandatory at Mt Hotham.
Ladder chains have "rungs" across the tyre surface. In between the "rungs" the tyre contacts the road with no chain in between. Ladder chains are a little cheaper and are often preferred when the chance of actually fitting them is quite low.
You need to know your tyre size when hiring chains. This is written on the side-wall of your tyre, eg 205/70R15.
How do I know when to put chains on?
There are a number of chain fitting bays where you can pull right off the road to put chains on. If you need to put chains on and there is no bay in the immediate vicinity, drive carefully till you can stop where you can be seen, and passed, by other traffic.
You should also put on chains if you come to a long line of people putting on chains or if police or mountain staff direct you to.
Sometimes the Fit Chains sign also says Engaged 4WD Excepted. If you have a 4WD and you are confident driving in snow and ice, then you can choose not to put them on but you must be in 4WD or all-wheel drive mode.
Be aware that smaller 4WDs are not as heavy as big ones and may be more inclined to slip. If the road is covered in hard packed snow and ice it is still a good idea to fit chains to small 4WDs and all-wheel drives.
When do I take chains off?
If in doubt, ask a parking attendant whether they are still needed.
If you need chains to come down, leave them on until the road is mostly clear. Driving on a clear road with chains on can damage tyres, chains and the road.
How do I put diamond pattern chains on?
How do I put ladder chains on?