Installing Snow Chains Correctly
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated May 28, 2010)
In the states where it is illegal to use metal studded snow tires, then you need to use the next best thing – snow chains. Some people say that tire chains are better than snow tires. One of the major benefits that come from using chains instead of winter tires include lower initial cost—roughly $55.00 to $130.00 as opposed to upwards of $194.00 per tire. Snow chains can also be removed (and installed) fairly easily when they are no longer needed.
- Chains (style and material of your choice)
- Adjustable wrench
- Type. There are three basic styles of metal chains, as well as different types of materials that they could be made from. Do a little bit of homework and decide which style you want (each style has its benefits). I usually use the metallic cable style of chains, since they are easier to put on, as well as a little lower in cost than the other metallic types of chains.
- Fit. You can purchase chains that are made for specific tire sizes. Personally, I would suggest getting fitted chains since it reduces the time required to get everything to fit exactly right. If this is not the type you get, then before actually installing the chains you are going to want to "pre-fit" them. Take a tire that is either the same size as yours and fit chains to it. You can also remove one of your tires and doing the same thing. You want to use chains that are going to be as tight as possible on the tire. This will provide a smother (not to mention quieter) ride. It will also help reduce damage to the chains and lengthen their service life.
- Fasten. Begin by laying the chains out in front of or directly behind the tires. Have another person help by guiding you (as you are driving the car) onto the middle of the chains. Raise the chains over and around the tires and fasten the hooks together. You should be able to see some fastening nuts. Tighten them with your fingers (if possible) and then use either an adjustable wrench or pliers to help tighten them even more.
- Speed. While driving you'll want to make sure that you do not go too fast. You are only going to want to go about 40 miles per hour, otherwise you could damage the chains or the tires.