Winter Driving Tip: Installing Tire Chains

January 3rd, 2015 by

How to Install Tire Chains  Tire Chains

Before you can install tire chains, you have to own some. It’s always best to purchase tire chains long before you need them. First because you will find the best deals on chains during good weather or low demand months. Generic branded tire traction devices run from $40 to $60. During peak demand months retailers have a tendency to raise prices and, in some cases, could end up costing you double the low peak months. However, many of the “generic” brands carry no warranty. That being said, paying a little more for a name brand device during off-peak times may be money better spent than a higher price during peak demand. Secondly, purchasing your chains during better weather will give you a chance to practice installing on your tires without the stress of “practicing” on the side of a highway during a snowstorm.

Installing chains may seem a bit daunting at first but once you understand the process, and have had a little practice, you may find yourself reaching for your chains during other times of the year. “On-tire” traction devices can be very helpful if you get bogged down in mud or sand as well. Having quick, year round, access makes tire chains one of the most affordable and non-permanent emergency solutions you can carry in the truck of your vehicle.

Most tire chains fall into two broad categories: the type you install by driving onto them and the more recent models that you wrap around the tire. The “drive-on” type is usually more durable and less expensive but is more difficult to install. This type is also very difficult to install if your vehicle is already stuck in the snow. This category also includes most “tire cables” as well. The more modern chains (express or quick chain) loops around the tire using a hoop style system.  If you have any question about which tire chain would be right for you and your vehicle, contact your friends at the Ressler Motors Service or Parts departments and they will be happy to assist you in find the right tire chains for your application.

It is important to note that most manufacturers recommend a 30mph limit when driving with chains on. This is extremely important! You have probably seen chains along the side of the road thrown there after failing from speeding cars or trucks. However, often times the result is more severe than the chain merely being tossed away by a rotating tire. Broken chains can sometimes wrap around the axle or whipped around causing sever damage to anything in its path.

Installing Tire Chains:Check the sidewall for the tire size to match with chains

* Install tire chains on the drive wheels (the wheels that power the car). You need to know if your vehicle is front, rear or all-wheel drive before installing chains.

* Make sure you purchase the correct size tire chains to fit your tires. Check the sidewall of your tire for the tire size


Installation Process (for “Drive-on” type):

1. Lay the chains on the ground with the metal hooks facing down.
2. Drive your vehicle to the middle (halfway) of the chains
3. Starting with the two inside connectors pull the chains over the tire
4. Connect the inside connectors first.
5. Begin working the chains around the tire removing as much slack as possible before connecting the outside connectors making it as tight as possible before connecting.
6. Keep the chains tight as possible by using a bungee cord to maintain tension on the outside of the wheel.
7. Check the chains for tightness every few miles.