How to Install Car Tire Chains

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Tire chains provide traction in the most demanding weather conditions. Making sure you know how to properly install tire chains is key to getting the most out of them and not damaging the chains, tires, or vehicle. This “how-to” guide will have your tire chains on quickly.

Properly Installing Grip Car Tire Chains

  1. Often times a passenger vehicle tire chain will have color-coordinated cabling.

  2. Gather the chain and thread it around the tire.

  3. It is important to install chains on the front if front-wheel-drive, on the rear if rear-wheel-drive, and on all four tires if four-wheel-drive.

  4. Once you have the cable around the tire, bring it to the top of the tire and then connect the cable at the top.

  5. Let the cable rest at the top of the tire while you fit the rest of the chain on the tire.

  6. Work the chains to the center of the tire.

  7. Connect the chain fastener at the top of the wheel.

  8. Take the tensioner chain at the bottom of the tire and thread it through the tensioner pulley and pull snug.

  9. Feed the tensioner chain through the loops.

  10. Then hook the tensioner chain to a chain on the other side of the tire.

  11. To make sure the chain is fitted properly, drive 1/8 to 1/4 of a mile at less than 35 mph. Then check to make sure the chain is not too loose on the tire.

  12. If the chain is not tight and square on the tire, repeat the process of pulling the tensioner pulley snug and re-hook.

  13. You are now ready for snow and ice!

Know Before You Go

  • Be sure to practice driving your vehicle on a soft surface before actually using your tire chains. The vehicle will handle differently, and you don’t want to be surprised.
  • Also keep an eye on the weather before making wintery trips so you know if/when you may need your tire chains.
  • Do not drive more than 35 mph with tire chains installed.
  • Remove chains as soon as you are on bare road.
  • Do not use your chains for other purposes, such as towing or lifting.
  • Avoid hitting curbs or speed bumps with chains installed.
  • The wrong size of tire chains will damage your tires.
  • Many low-profile cars do not have the clearance for chains.
  • Check with your local officials to make sure that chains are allowed in your area, some municipalities require the use of snow tires instead of chains. Please refer to our article regarding state tire chain laws.

If you need more assistance, visit our Help Center and get expert advice on tire chains. Safe travels!

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