How to Put Chains On Tires

Snowy roads are very dangerous. One option for dealing with snow and ice is putting chains on your tires. Follow these tips when buying tire chains:

  • Find out if chains are legal In some areas, tire chains aren't permitted for use. Contact your local authorities to find out the regulations [source: Tire Rack].
  • Buy the right chains Buy chains that are suited to your car's weight. If the chains aren't sturdy enough to support your car they can cause damage. Also make sure the chains don't have any rough edges, as these can damage the tires [source: Reis].

Put on your chains according to the manufacturer's instructions [source: Tire Rack]. Here's a general guide to putting on tire chains:


  1. Determine where to put the chains Only put chains on the drive wheels, e.g. if you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle, only put chains on the front tires [source: Tire Rack]. Avoid putting chains on all the wheels [source: Reis].
  2. Find a quiet area to install the chains Spread out the chains on level ground, making sure they are flat.
  3. Start putting on the chains Attach the chains to the wheels at the 7 o'clock and 2 o'clock position, using J hooks to keep the chain in place [source: Reis].
  4. Drive over the chains Drive over the chains so that the section attached to the wheels is pinned under the wheels.
  5. Attach the rest of the chain Repeat steps 3 and 4 for to attach the rest of the chain.
  6. Retighten the chains After installing your tire chains, drive about 15 feet (5 meters) and then retighten the chains. This will increase their effectiveness [source: autocarrepair].

Remember the following when driving with chains:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly Don't drive with a heavy foot when driving on chains. Avoid spinning the tires too much. Many tire chain instructions include recommended driving speeds.
  • Never drive on broken chains Immediately stop your car if a chain falls off or breaks. Reattach or fix the chain if possible. Otherwise, take the chains off and drive without them. Broken or improperly installed chains can ruin your tires.
  • Don't use chains on clear roads As soon as you've cleared the snow, remove your tire chains. Chains may destroy your tires if running on normal road surfaces [source: Tire Rack].