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Located in the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Mountain Resort is a year-round destination for high energy outdoor experiences. Revered for its skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and home to Southern California's only lift-served hiking and mountain biking during the summer months.

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scenic view of big bear lake with trees and mountains surrounding

Snow Chains

Posted On: Nov 27, 2019

snow chains on wheel

Snow chains, also known as tire chains or cables, are required for safety when snow or ice conditions cause slippery highways. Check the road conditions before you head out to see if snow chains are required. There are 3 ways up and 3 ways home from BBMR which means snow chains may be required on one highway and not the other, so you should always carry chains in your vehicle during the winter months, even if your car has snow tires. Tire traction devices are defined in the California Vehicle Code (VC) Section 605. View official chain requirements provided by dot.ca.gov.

Snow chains can be purchased at most auto parts stores, with two options widely available - chains or cables. Tire chains may offer better traction and last longer, whereas cables are usually lighter and a good for occasional use. Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing your snow chains.

1. Choose the right size chains for your tires. Buying and using the wrong size chains could undermine performance or even damage your tires and vehicle.

2. Practice installing them at home. This will make it easier and less stressful to put them on when it matters and give you a chance to get the knack of tightening them down.

3. Stop and fix a cross-chain if it fails. Similar to using the wrong size, driving on broken chains can also cause loss traction and damage to your vehicle.

4. Don’t go over 30 mph. When you have chains on your vehicle, accelerate slowly and evenly and try to keep your speed low. Most importantly, don’t spin your tires.

5. Be mindful of your driving habits. The way you drive can affect your chains, so be (extra) careful about locking the wheels when you brake, hitting curbs, or driving on bare pavement that’s not covered by snow or ice as these can all wear down your chains prematurely and damage your tires.

6. Only use chains when necessary. If you have snow tires, chains might be unnecessary. Snow tires are designed with a deeper tread and rubber better adapted to cold weather – some even have studs.

Tire chains are typically not required on all 4 wheels. Front-wheel-drive vehicles must put snow chains on their front tires, and rear-wheel-drive vehicles must put them on their rear axle. However, if you have a 4-wheel drive (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, you’ll likely have to buy 2 sets of tire cables or chains (instead of just a set for the drive wheels in a 2-wheel drive car).

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