Step by Step Guide to Fitting Snow Chains
It is a good idea to have a practice run fitting snow chains so you are comfortable with how to get them on and off again, therefore it is probably best to try this at home before you make your intrepid journey! You may come across a type of chain that has rings on it that connect to the inside of the wheel. This design is to help guide the chain into the correct position.
- Remove the chains from their packaging and make sure they are untangled, they should hang free in a vaguely web shape pattern. The chains go on the two front tyres of a front wheel drive vehicle and on the two rear tyres for a rear wheel drive vehicle. Put the two chains on the ground next to the tyres you are going to be fitting them to.
- Make sure your car has the handbrake on and it is in gear, then put the chain onto the tyre. Start at the top, holding it in place and then make sure the rest of the wheel is covered. You won’t be able to cover the part of the tyre that is touching the ground, but just cover the rest of it to the best of your ability.
- Once the chain is secured onto the tyre, you can repeat the process on the other side. When they are both fitted, get into your vehicle and drive forward a couple of feet, this then exposes the part of the wheel that was touching the ground, so you can now make sure that section has been covered by the chains also. Now is a good time to tighten the chains a little as well.
- Now you are ready for your practice run. After driving a short distance, you need to get out and tighten the chains again as after the short drive the chains will have spread out more evenly across the tyres, thus resulting in some slack. The ride will of course feel a bit strange and bumpy, but of course you have chains on your tyres so that is to be expected!
How to Fit Snow Chains Video
We've looked at LOTS of different videos and guides to fit snow chains, most of which are really useful, some less so, however we've picked our favourite below which we think represents the most common type of snow chain and is very well presented, which we hope helps if you want to watch a video tutorial.
How to Remove Snow Chains
Removing the chains is quite simple, firstly you need to disconnect the inside chains (or rings where applicable). Of course you won’t be able to just pull the chains straight off after doing that as a section of them will be wedged underneath where the tyre meets the ground. Therefore lay out on the ground the part of the chain you can remove and then drive forward a couple of feet so you move off the chain completely. You can now gather up the chains, make sure they are not tangled, clean and dry and put them away in the appropriate packaging.
Snow Chain Fitting Tips
- Have a practice before you NEED them in real conditions
- Wear gloves, ideally with grip (cheap gardening / DIY gloves are ideal)
- Spray a little de-icer over the fittings when removing
- Keep them in a handy / accessible location in the car - you don't want to empty the boot to get to them!
Simple Rules For Safe Driving With Snow Chains
- Do not exceed 30 mph (50kmph).
- Do not drive on snow free roads for extended periods of time.
- Make sure the chains are fitted tightly; you should retighten them after driving a short distance. Chains that work loose can wrap around the axles and cause steering problems.
- Check requirements before adding tensioners. Some snow chains can be damaged if they are used unnecessarily.