Minimum Chain Requirements

When you drive in winter conditions, you may see signs telling you to carry chains or traction tires and when you are required to use them. In some areas, lighted message signs also will advise you about chaining up. To view the signs or learn more about Oregon's chain law and the vehicles that may be exempt from it go to Oregon's Chain Law.

When signs tell you that chains are required on all or certain types of vehicles, chains must be placed as generally described below. Specific information on chain requirements is listed in Oregon Administrative Rule Chapter 734, Division 17. To view the administrative rule go to: http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_700/oar_734/734_017.html.

In typical winter conditions, vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or less and not towing or being towed are allowed to use traction tires in place of chains. For traction tire information go to Traction Tires.

In very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used. This is known as a conditional road closure. A conditional road closure may occur on any of Oregon's highways and are frequent in the winter on Interstate 5 through the Siskiyou Pass south of Ashland.

The following provides examples of chain placement based on vehicle and trailer configurations. It is not the intent of the following examples to portray or suggest mixing of different types or designs of tires on a single axle. For these examples, please use the following legend.

Legend

 

Unchained wheel icon

Tire without chain.

Chained wheel icon

Tire with chain.*

Icon indicating that either axle can be used.

Chains may be placed on either axle.

Icon indicating that either axle can be used.

Chains may be placed on either side.

Note: When one tire of a dual-wheel axle is required to have a chain, the chain may be placed on either the inside or outside tire.

Light Duty Vehicles

Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) rating of 10,000 pounds or less such as a passenger car or light truck.

Light duty vehicles must use chains on one tire on each side of the primary drive axle. When towing, chains must also be on one tire on each side of one axle of a trailer that is equipped with a brake. Traction tires may be used in place of chains when the vehicle is not towing or being towed.

Graphic of chains on rear-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles Graphic of chains on rear-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.Graphic of chains on auto trailers.Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Medium Duty Vehicles

Vehicles with a GVW rating of more than 10,000 pounds but less than 26,001 pounds such as buses, RVs, and cargo vehicles. Single-drive axle medium duty vehicles must have chains on one tire on each side of the drive axle.

Graphic showing chains position on single-drive axle buses and trucks.

Tandem-drive axle medium duty vehicles must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle.

Graphic showing chain positions on tandem-drive axle buses.

A medium duty vehicle with one single-wheel axle and one dual-wheel axle must have chains on one tire on each side of the dual-wheel axle.

Graphic showing chain positions on tandem-drive axle buses.

When towing, chains must also be on one tire on each side of one axle of a trailer that is equipped with a brake.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.Graphic of chains on auto trailers. Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Solo Commercial Vehicles

Vehicles with a GVW rating of 26,001 pounds or more that are not towing. Single-drive axle solo commercial vehicles must have chains on one tire on each side of the drive axle.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle solo commercial vehicles must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles are powered by the drive line, on one tire on each side of each drive axle.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Commercial Vehicles with Trailers

Vehicles with a GVW rating of 26,001 pounds or more that are towing one or more trailers. Single-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the drive axle and one tire on the front axle and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Single-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a semi-trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the drive axle and two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the semi-trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Single-drive axle commercial vehicles towing both a semi-trailer and a trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the drive axle, two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the semi-trailer, and one tire on the front axle and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle. Chains must also be placed on one tire of the front axle, and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a semi-trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle. Chains must also be placed on two tires, one on each side, of any axle on the semi-trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle commercial vehicles towing both a semi-trailer and a trailer must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle. Chains must also be placed on two tires, one on each side of any axle on the semi-trailer and one tire on the front axle and one tire on one of the rear axles of the trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Tandem-drive axle commercial vehicles towing a semi-trailer and a semi-trailer that are connected by kingpin-to-fifth wheel assembles, commonly referred to as a "B-Train" or connected by kingpin-to-fifth wheel “C-dolly” assemblies, commonly referred to as a “C-Train”, must have chains on two tires on each side of the primary drive axle; or if both axles of the vehicle are powered by the drive line, one tire on each side of each drive axle. Chains must also be placed on two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the semi-trailer at the B-Train or C-Train connection and on two tires, one on each side, of any axle of the rear semi-trailer.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

Graphic of chains on auto trailers.

For questions regarding chain-up requirements for commercial vehicles, contact your local ODOT Port of Entry.