With the winter season in full swing, driving in snowy climates can be tough sledding, regardless of the type of vehicle being used. Because of this, many auto experts suggest that you purchase some tire chains for your vehicle, as this will help you avoid the possibility of getting stuck in very bad weather.

After all, the cost of a set of chains is far less than the cost of being rescued by a tow truck not to mention the convenience of being able to continue your trip instead of waiting for rescue.

Of course, if you buy chains, you need to know how to put them on. Here’s what you need to know.

How to Properly Put On Tire Chains 

Laying out tire chains
Start by laying out your chains and checking them for damage

Begin by laying your unrolled chains flat on the ground and check to see if any chain links are broken. When laid out, all the open hooks should be facing toward the ground and away from any tire.

Next, figure out where the bow lever and “C” hook are. The C hook gets its name because it is shaped like the letter C.

Now that you’ve checked the chain and know where the bow lever and C hook are, place the chain directly in front of the tire (open hooks down) and slowly drive onto the chain. When driving over the chain, around 1 foot of the chain should be left on the ground and not wrapped around the tire. The C hook part of the chain should be on the inside of the tire while the bow lever stays on the outside.

Mounting tire chains
Drive onto your chains, or if they’re cable-type chains (shown), pull them up and around the tire from back to front.

Once each part of the chain has been lined up correctly, and around 1 foot has been left off of the tire, hook the C hook to the remaining chain link on the inside part of the tire. Do the same with the bow lever on the outside of the tire. Then tighten the chain up by pulling back on the bow lever accordingly once it has gone through the chain link.

Once chains have been put on each tire, it is time to check for the tightness of each chain. A loose chain can cause a dangerous situation once the vehicle hits the open road.

Checking For Chain Tightness

Check chain tightness
Once your chains are installed, check to make sure they’re tight. If they’re loose, they can damage your vehicle.

Chains should be installed as tight as they can possibly be. How can a driver know that their chains are tight enough? Try to put your hand in the space between the tire and the chain. If this is possible, the chain must be tightened.

After all chains have been properly installed, take a quick drive around the block, stop, and re-check the tightness of the chains. Adjust tightness as needed.

Finally, while it’s a good idea to practice chaining up when the weather is good, it’s important to avoid driving with snow chains on dry surfaces for long periods of time. Chains are meant for icy or slippery surfaces – driving on regular old roads with chains will cause damage.

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