A Guide to Instruct You When to Use Wheel Chocks

Mining industries are notorious for accidents that are, most of the time, completely avoidable. One such is accidents related to vehicles, which claim multiple lives every year. An easy and affordable solution – wheel chocks. 

A simple addition to these workplaces is that they help make the environment safer for everyone and can reduce and prevent deaths that occur yearly. But this simple solution is still not on everyone’s radar, although it very much should be!

However, before purchasing a wheel chock, there are a few elements to consider – one needs to understand their needs, their vehicles, etc., to be able to find the effective wheel chock for their situation. 

Below we have briefly introduced the wheel chock, all its functions, and most importantly, when it absolutely needs to be used! 

What Are Wheel Chocks? 

Wheel chocks are simple wedges used to stop vehicles from moving on their own when parked, especially on slopes or hills. These chocks or wedges are placed against a vehicle’s tires so that they do not move on their own. 

Bottom line: this is a simple yet effective solution that helps to make workplaces safer without costing an arm and a leg. 

These are typically created from rubber, wood, or polyurethane. In the market, they are also sometimes called tire chocks, wheel stops, wheel blocks, or trailer chocks. 

However, while this seems like a straightforward solution to most, it is far from it. It is not the wheel chock itself but the situations which make it somewhat tough. As this is a safety device, wheel chocks must be tested under given conditions to see if they can perform well and stop vehicles from moving. 

That being said, testing a vehicle in one environment will not guarantee that it works in a different setting, even with the same vehicle. This is why it is crucial to consider multiple factors and not one when buying a wheel chock. 

Lastly, wheel chocks are safety materials that need to be checked frequently for damages, cracks, chips, etc., since they are under constant pressure when put to work. Not checking may result in using a cracked wheel chock, which can break and cause accidents. 

When to Use Wheel Chocks

What Are the Ideal Scenarios Of Using Wheel Chocks? 

Reading online about the necessity of wheel chocks is pretty enlightening until you buy them yourself when you end up wondering – when to use wheel chocks? Or will you really be using them? 

There is a common misconception that wheel chocks are required only for professionals or construction sites. While these are definitely important, wheel chocks are also needed on a day-to-day basis for most of us. 

In the following segment, we present to you a set of possible situations you may run into if you own a vehicle and why and how you may need wheel chocks in those situations. 

Worker Safety 

Well, this is one of the places where wheel chocks are an absolute must – any construction site where vehicles are involved (which is all). 

Constructions sites are a recipe for disaster without safety measures. Lots of workers all around, muddy terrain, slopes, and large vehicles that can slide and fall. Adding wheel chocks to the tires can help prevent these accidents and disasters, protecting both the people and the infrastructure around them.

Car Maintenance 

Everyone needs to do car maintenance – at their own garage – by hiring a professional or taking it to one. Either way, it is not something one can escape. And this is where we need wheel chocks. 

This is one of the more ‘less dangerous’ activities requiring wheel chocks compared to the others, but it is still needed. When lying under the car to work under it, we do not want our car to slide or move. 

Similarly, sometimes we also have to lift one of the sides to work better, which poses the risk of the car moving or sliding. 

What do we do to prevent this – you guessed it – wheel chocks! It makes the situation safer and easier. We can raise a side and slide ourselves under the car without worry. 

Now, why not simply use the brakes? Good question. Here’s why. If we are working on the brakes for maintenance, the risk of the brakes not working goes up. 

Not to mention, putting the car in a tilted position as it rests on less than 4 wheels also puts it in an unbalanced position, which a brake alone cannot always hold up. So the wheel chock comes to the rescue and is a very neat solution for these cases. 

Icy Roads

During the colder months, we have to take care of everything around us, and that includes our cars too. While parked outdoors, there is a risk of cars sliding away with ice melting and reforming. 

If this happens at night or when the car is not being tended to, it can move pretty far, causing possible damage. On icy roads, the tires do not even have to roll all the time; sometimes, they just slide. 

Placing wheel chocks against the wheels helps to prevent this. It is fairly simple, really. The wheel chock is thick, has height, and in some texture, too, for better grip. 

When against the tires, it helps them to stay in their positions. Even if the tires want to slide, moving over the height of the chocks is unlikely, especially if there is a set against all the tires. 

Steep Drives 

Going on a long drive, a road trip, or simply to a place where you may have steep slopes mean that there is a small but present risk of the car sliding down when parked. It has certainly happened to many and is something that could happen to you too. 

Keeping wheel chocks in these situations can help prevent this anxiety of whether or not the car is secure. Of course, if the roads are extremely sloped, more measures may be needed. But having the wheel chocks is certainly safer than not having them. 

Brake Issues 

This is one of the most important ones. For everyone with brake issues, having wheel chocks are certainly safer. Whenever you feel like your brakes are not reliable enough after parking, placing the wheel chocks in their places will add to the safety. 

A Backup Safety Measure 

Since we never know when we might need them, keeping a pair or two-wheel chocks in the trunk is a good idea. It helps us to prepare for unwanted situations at the worst of times without having to invest much. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Wheel chocks are complicated. Even with all the explanations, people will have a myriad of questions regarding their usage. That’s where this section of the article will come in handy. It’ll answer all your questions.

Are Wheel Chocks Needed? 

Wheel chocks are not needed in every situation. Still, they should be used in certain cases to increase worker and vehicle safety. It is a preventive measure that is suggested, especially when working with large vehicles in sloped spaces. 

Do Wheel Chocks Come in Pairs?

Wheel chocks typically come in pairs, then placed on opposite sides of the vehicles. This ensures that the vehicle stays put in its place and does not move either way. However, single pieces can also be purchased in certain areas and stores, although it is recommended to use two for maximum protection. 

Are Wheel Chock Ropes Necessary?

Wheel chock ropes help to add further formation when using two wheel chocks on both ends of the same wheel. It allows the chocks to stay in place strongly and provides more support with it than without it. 

Can Wheel Chock Ropes Be Changed?

Yes, wheel chock ropes can be changed to make them shorter or longer. All we have to do is cut the knot at the end and either shorten it or replace it with a longer one. But we do have to create a new knot for the new-sized rope. 

Can Wheel Chocks Be Used For Parking Spots?

Wheel chocks have been designed to keep stationary vehicles stationary, and it does so by ensuring the tires do not slide. They are not designed to stop any sort of moving vehicles. 

How Heavy Should Wheel Chocks Be?

Although there is no set measurement, wheel chocks should be at least 25% of the weight of the wheel it is for. 

Are Wheel Chocks Heavy Enough To Stop Cars?

Wheel chocks are designed to sit in front of tires and stop them from rolling. However, if the vehicle is mobile, wheel chocks will not work. 

How Many Wheel Chocks Should We Buy?

While one can purchase chocks for a single wheel, the ideal number is to use two-wheel chocks for maximum support. Depending on the terrain, some may need even more. This includes muddy or wet terrain where the chance of a vehicle slipping is higher. 

Where Do I Place Wheel Chocks?

Wheel chocks always go in the downward direction because that is where the vehicle will go if it slips. This is to say that if a vehicle is parked uphill, the wheel chocks need to go behind the rear wheel to ensure it does not fall backward. 

Similarly, if a vehicle is parked downhill, the wheel chocks have to go in front of the front wheel, so it does not move forward. 

What Are Wheel Chocks Made Of?

Different wheel chocks are made from different materials, depending on their use. But normally, they come in plastic, rubber, wood, or polyurethane. 

Final Words 

All vehicles tend to roll away when not on a plain slope. And as comical as it may sound and look, it can cause some very bad damage to people and property alike. This is where we need wheel chocks. 

Its use can come down to multiple situations. Still, it is important to remember that these requirements change with every different surrounding, weather, and terrain. 

Getting just about any wheel chock will not get the job done. And while this seems like a complicated job, it is necessary for the larger good – preventing accidents and, in some cases, deaths too.

Eddie Burton - Senior Author
Senior Author: Eddie Burton

Eddie Burton is a passionate car enthusiast and a seasoned mechanic with over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He has worked with a variety of vehicles, from classic muscle cars to modern luxury cars, and has extensive knowledge of all types of auto parts and accessories.

Eddie’s love for cars began at a young age when he would spend hours tinkering with his first car, a 1967 Mustang. Since then, he has pursued his passion for cars by working in various garages and workshops, honing his skills and expertise in everything related to automobiles.

As a contributor to our website, Eddie shares his in-depth knowledge and experience with our readers, providing valuable tips and advice on auto parts, repairs, and maintenance. He’s committed to helping car owners get the most out of their vehicles by providing honest and practical reviews of auto parts, accessories, and tools.

With Eddie’s vast experience and expertise, you can trust his recommendations and insights on everything related to cars. Whether you’re a seasoned car owner or a newbie in the world of automobiles, Eddie’s articles and reviews will help you make informed decisions and keep your vehicle running smoothly for years to come.

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