Limited Clearance Issues

/Limited Clearance Issues
Limited Clearance Issues

Recognize any of the vehicles shown below?

Most vehicles manufactured since the late 1980’s will have special clearance requirements. This includes cars, pick-ups and SUVs. Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the tire positioning on your vehicle. Most clearance issues are hidden from view as they are behind the tire near brakes, suspension parts, strut housings, splash guards and fuel and brake lines.

  • Acura

  • Audi

  • BMW

  • Buick

  • Chevrolet

  • Chrysler

  • Cadillac

  • Ford

  • GMC

  • Dodge

  • Hyundai

  • Infinity

  • Honda

  • Jaguar

  • Jeep

  • Kia

  • Lexus

  • Lincoln

  • Mazda

  • Mitsubishi

  • Mercuri

  • Nissan

  • Pontiac

  • SAAB

  • Saturn

  • Subaru

  • Toyota

  • Volkswagen

  • Volvo

Check your owner’s manual: Most vehicle manufacturers make a statement regarding clearance issues related to their vehicles. This information is located in the owner’s manual under chains, traction devices, tires or a similar heading. It is important to select a traction product that is compatible with the minimum class assigned to your vehicle. If you can’t locate the clearance requirements of your vehicle, contact the manufacturer.

Vehicle manufacturers sometimes refer to the type of traction product to be used. This reference is based on the original tire and wheel size shown in your owner’s manual. Using a different size tire may affect the chain’s ability to operate properly.

Traction products not only have to fit the tire, but they must also fit within the space provided around the tires.

Some owner’s manuals state that certain tire sizes do not provide enough clearance to accomodate winter traction products. Frequently, car manufacturers make these statements because a vehicle has less clearance available than Class “S requires. The fact is, many of these vehicles can use one of our winter traction products. Trying to measure the nearest obstruction under your vehicle could prove tricky. To insure that you have adequate clearance to operate any traction device they must be pre-fitted and driven a short distance. Start slowly, if you hear any contact (a ticking sound), stop and remove the chains immediately. Regardless of the type of traction product you use, do not exceed 30 mph.

S.A.E. Clearance requirements and traction product comparison

S.A.E.J1232-1980 Definition

The minimum clearances specified must be maintained around fenders, braces, suspension parts, strut housings, splash pans and fule/brake lines. Tire size must be known to select a traction product of correct fit. For passenger car, pick-up and SUV owners it is important to check the owner’s manual. The restricted wheel well clearances in most of today’s vehicles will require Class “S” products. Consumers must refer to their owner’s manual for information pertaining to their vehicle.

Class S Chart
Clearance Definitions

Class “S” is the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) definition for the least amount of space that should be provided around the drive tires of any vehicle to accommodate the use of a winter traction product. These different classes incorporate two different measurements; from the tread face of the tire to the nearest obstruction, and from the inside sidewall of the tire to the nearest obstruction.

S.A.E. Class S

Cable chains or link chains for vehicles with restricted clearances.

S.A.E. Class U

Regular tire chains for vehicles with non-restricted wheel well clearances.

Products that MEET Class S requirements
Products that EXCEED Class S requirements
Quik Grip link chain profile
Type P & RP

Treadface: 1.97” / 50mm (X)
Sidewall: 0.91″ / 23mm (Y)

Class “S” Link Type PL, Z-Chain, Super Z LT, Super Z8 and all the product listed below

Treadface: 1.46′ / 37mm (X)
Sidewall: 0.59″ / 15mm (Y)

Radial Chain, Z Passenger Chain Profile

Treadface: 1.00′ / 25mm (X)
Sidewall: 0.43″ / 11mm (Y)

Super Z6, SuperSox

Treadface: 1.20” / 31mm (X)
Sidewall: 0.25″ / 6.3mm (Y)

Class S Chart