(KTXL) — Snow chains are one of the best ways to increase vehicle traction when driving on snow, but they can be challenging to install for those who have never done it or who do not do it frequently.
The American Automotive Association (AAA) first recommends that drivers practice installing their chains at home before heading off on their drive through a snowy area.
Chains only need to be installed on the vehicle’s “drive” wheels. Front-wheel drive vehicles will need chains on their two front tires, rear-wheel drive vehicles will need chains on their two rear tires and 4-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive vehicles will need chains on all four wheels.
Below, the instructions for installing chains on a wheel. Repeat the instructions for each individual driving wheel.
- Lay out the chain on the floor in front of the wheel with the top hooks facing down so that they are facing the right way when the chains are wrapped around the wheel.
- One side of the chain will be continuous throughout the length, while the other side will have a split, where a mechanism to join the two halves will be located. This is where you want the wheel to be on top of before locking the chains in place
- Once you drive over the chains and have the wheel at the halfway mark, place the halves of the chains onto the rest of the wheel on either side of the tire you will then clasp them at the top
- At the top of the tire on the side where the rim is located, you will connect the hook that brings the front half of the chains and the back half (Make sure the sections of chain that run along the tread of the tire is centered)
- Towards the bottom of the tire, you will connect the hook and pull the chains to tighten these
- The chains should be tight around the wheel and any loose length of chain should be placed so that it doesn’t hang; some chains have mechanisms to hold these, and you should follow the instructions so that no chain is swinging around as you drive
For a full installation video from AAA, click here.
A smart tip from AAA is to “Put your installation instructions in a waterproof sleeve or bag and store them with your chains so you can easily read them in wet conditions on the side of the road.”
Chains are not universal and most chain sets will list what size tires they will fit on. AAA recommends that chains are inspected for wear and tear every fall.