Depending on where you live, you may never need to use snow chains. However, even people who live in warm climates sometimes experience a freak snowstorm, and that combined with the fact that you could possibly travel to a colder area makes it a good idea to learn how to put them on. Many people never take the time to learn how to correctly install tire chains and later find themselves frustrated and embarrassed by the side of the road.
1. Get Your Car Ready
You will need at least 10 feet of clearance space at both the front and rear of your vehicle to allow room to put on the chains. If there is snow on the ground, clear it from around the tires before beginning. For safety purposes, you will also want to make sure that the parking break is engaged whenever you’re on the ground around the car. Wheel blocks can also be used as an added safety measure.
2. Lay Out Your Chains
The chains need to be put on the wheels that work the hardest, so if you have a front-wheel drive car, they will be going on the front. Begin by laying the chains on the ground with the first rung pressed against the spot where the wheel meets the ground. For front-wheel chains, you will place them in front of the car so that you can drive forward onto them. For real-wheel chains, you will place them behind the car so you can back up onto them. Either way, you want the studded side of the chains facing the ground. This is what creates the traction that will help keep your car the road.
3. Drive Your Vehicle Onto The Chains
Check to make sure that everything is in place and then carefully position your car on top of the chains by either rolling forward or backward. You will only need to move about two feet. If you have a friend or family member with you, have them direct you into the perfect position. If you’re alone, you may have to try a few times before you get it right. Once you get used to the process, it will be easy for you to feel when you’re in the correct position.
4. Lock Your Chains in Place
Once you’re in the correct position, pull the overlapping part of the chains across the tops of your tires. There should be fasteners that hold the chains into position. Allow the chains to have a couple inches of slack and then lock them into place using the hubcap on your wheel.
Now that your chains are in place, you should take them on a test drive. When driving on chains for the first time, go slowly and listen for any strange noises that may indicate that they are coming loose. Never drive faster than 40 miles per hour and always avoid driving in bad weather when possible. Chains can’t offer a complete guarantee that you won’t lose control and have an accident on the road, and you should only ever drive on them long enough to get yourself to a safe location.
To remove your snow chains, follow these steps in reverse. You should always remove your chains as soon as the weather improves as driving on dry pavement with them on could potentially destroy your wheels.