Veteran Tahoe travelers know that tire chains, also known as tire cables, are sometimes necessary when crossing the mountains in winter. These are sold by the pair and help car or truck tires get more traction in conditions where snow and/or ice have accumulated on the road. Four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires used to be exempt from chain controls, but no longer. All vehicles must now carry chains to enter a chain control area.
Our Cobra™ cable chains feature tough carbon steel rollers that provide traction and long wear. The low-profile steel rollers allow increased tire-to-road contact, resulting in better stability, plus a considerable reduction in noise and vibration, and they are galvanized for rust prevention. All Cole Hardware locations stock four of the most popular sized cables for cars (Skus 818818–21, $46.99–$49.99) and a popular truck size (Sku 818822, $99.99). Just bring in your specific tire size as set forth by the ISO metric tire code. Virtually all tires have this information molded into the sidewalls, or you can refer to the factory specs for tires if the tires have not been changed on your car since you purchased it.
How to Read Your Tire Size
The tire code consists of a leading letter and a string of numbers. The leading letter “P” correlates to a passenger car; the leading letters “LT” correlate to a light truck. (Please note that European car models may not have a letter.) After the letter (or lack of letter), there is a three-digit number (tire width in millimeters), followed by a slash, with an addition, two or three numbers (the aspect ratio or a percentage of the total width of the tire that the sidewall would cover if placed directly over it). There may also be an additional “B,” “D,” or “R” after the last series of numbers (representing bias belt, diagonal, or radial). Finally, the tire size will terminate with another twodigit number, which is the wheel diameter the tires are designed to fit.
A tire with the code P285/40R15 indicates the following:
* The P means the tire is for a passenger vehicle.
* 285 is the width of the tire in millimeters.
* 40 is the aspect ratio and stands for 40%, or a percentage of the total width of the tire that the sidewall would cover if placed directly over it.
* R means the tire uses a radial fabric construction of the carcass of the tire (radial is the standard tire on most vehicles).
* 15 is the number of inches in the diameter of the wheel the tire is designed to fit.
What If We Don’t Carry Your Size?
No worries! We can special order the chains for you. Just come in with your tire size by Monday, and if we don’t have the size you need, we’ll order them and have them in our store for you by Thursday of that week.
IMPORTANT! If you buy a pair of Cobra cable chains, you must use a pair of tensioners with them. These are essentially six small rubber bungee-type cords, bound by a circular rubber piece in the center, and come two to a bag. (Sku 818823, $12.99) This is an integral part of the Cobra and cannot be omitted.