How to Put on Tire Chains

Installing tire chains can be a real daunting experience for many motorists. Here are some simple directions to make the job much easier.


Step 1:

It should be determined first whether the car is rear-wheel drive or the front-wheel drive. Tire chains have to be always installed on the driving wheels.

Tire Chains

Step 2:

The owner manual can be consulted for any reference related to “class S” or limited clearance for tire chains. If the tires require some clearance product then the service manual can be consulted for more guidance as traditional chains are not meant for your car.

Step 3:

Pull over the road completely away from the traffic.

Step 4:

Before you go under the car, set your emergency brake and turn off the engine. The passengers can stay in the car or can wait away form the traffic at a safe place.

Step 5:

Now the chains have to be laid flat on the ground to make the each side parallel. Make sure that the links have no twists.

Step 6:

The chains have to be draped over each back tire and the speed hook or ‘J hook’ fastener has to be kept inside. A lever fastener with a ‘keeper’ link is on the other side of the chains.

Step 7:

The smooth side of the cross member end hooks should be lying against the tires. These parts will be recognized when the chains are seen.

Step 8:

Behind each tire, the speed hooks have to be fastened by inserting the J hooks through the third link from the chain’s other end. The slack has to be pulled towards the outside edge of the tire.

Step 9:

Move the car several feet forward and pull the rest of the slack towards yourself. The lever fasteners has to be inserted through the third links from the opposite ends of the outside chains, the levers have to be pivoted back on themselves and then they have to be fastened under the keeper links.

Step 10:

Drive several feet ahead, then pull all slack out of the chains and now they have to be refastened as tight as possible. Make sure that there are the same numbers of loose links on every side of the chains.

Tire Chains

Step 11:

These extra links have to be secured with zip ties or they can be removed with bolt cutters.

Step 12:

To lengthen the life of the chains, rubber tighteners can be added.

Tips and Precautions

  • Tire chains are not very necessary for SUVs and 4×4 vehicles except where the law requires in some places.  The traffic rules should be checked to be aware of exceptions for unusual harsh conditions.
  • For protecting your clothes and body from grime and dirt, use a plastic tarp or waterproof canvas. Installing a tire chain is normally not a clean work.
  • Maximum speed limit suggested in the instructions or on the tire chain box should not be exceeded.

Further Readings: