Winter Driving with Your Subaru: Do You Need Tire Chains?

If you’re a Subaru owner or considering purchasing a Subaru, chances are you value safety and reliability in your vehicle. Living in an area that experiences winter weather conditions can pose a challenge for drivers, but with the right equipment, you can navigate the snow and ice with confidence. One question that often arises during these conditions is whether tire chains are necessary on a Subaru. In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about tire chains for your Subaru in winter weather conditions.

Why Tire Chains May be Needed

While Subaru’s all-wheel-drive capability can provide a significant advantage in winter weather conditions, there are instances where tire chains can be necessary. Hilly or mountainous terrain, for example, can make it challenging to maintain traction, even with all-wheel-drive. Tire chains can help provide the additional traction needed to navigate these challenging conditions safely.

Subaru’s All-Wheel-Drive Capability

Subaru vehicles are known for their all-wheel-drive capability, which can provide significant advantages in winter driving conditions. Unlike front- or rear-wheel-drive vehicles, all-wheel-drive vehicles distribute power to all four wheels, improving traction and control. When combined with proper winter tires, all-wheel-drive can provide a safe and reliable driving experience in even the most challenging winter weather conditions.

Types of Tire Chains

There are three main types of tire chains to consider for your Subaru: cable chains, ladder-style chains, and diamond-style chains. Cable chains are the most common and are often the easiest to install. Ladder-style chains provide more traction and are best for larger vehicles. Diamond-style chains offer the most traction and are ideal for more severe winter weather conditions. Consider your driving needs and the type of winter weather conditions you commonly encounter when selecting the proper type of tire chain for your Subaru.

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Regulations in Different States and Countries Regarding the Use of Tire Chains

It’s essential to be familiar with the regulations in your area regarding the use of tire chains. In some states and countries, they may be required on certain roads or during specific weather conditions. Some areas may also have restrictions on the type of tire chain allowed to be used. Be sure to do your research and be familiar with the regulations in your area before purchasing and using tire chains.

How to Install and Maintain Tire Chains

Proper installation and maintenance of tire chains are crucial to ensuring they function correctly and provide the necessary traction on your Subaru. Before installing, carefully read all instructions and make sure you have the proper tools required. It’s also essential to inspect your tire chains regularly for damage or wear and tear and replace them if necessary. Finally, be sure to remove your tire chains once you’re no longer driving in winter weather conditions to prevent unnecessary wear or damage to your tires.


Q. Can I use tire chains on any Subaru model?

A. While all Subaru models have all-wheel-drive capabilities, it’s important to check the owner’s manual or with a Subaru dealership before purchasing and using tire chains to ensure they’re compatible with your specific vehicle.

Q. Do I need to use tire chains on all four tires?

A. Yes, it’s essential to use tire chains on all four tires of your Subaru to maintain proper traction and control.

Q. Are there any areas where tire chains are not allowed on Subaru vehicles?

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A. Yes, some areas may restrict the use of tire chains on Subaru vehicles due to the potential for damage to the vehicle’s all-wheel-drive system. Be sure to check the regulations in your area before purchasing and using tire chains on your Subaru.


In conclusion, while Subaru’s all-wheel-drive capability can provide a significant advantage in winter weather conditions, tire chains may be necessary in certain situations. Understanding the regulations in your area, selecting the proper type of tire chain for your Subaru, and properly installing and maintaining them can help ensure a safe and reliable winter driving experience. Keep these factors in mind and ensure you have the necessary equipment and knowledge to navigate winter weather conditions safely and confidently in your Subaru.

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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