In some places, the snow gets so deep that getting traction is nearly impossible. You could find yourself slipping and sliding all over the place, unless you have control of your car. Putting snow tires on can be helpful, but in some areas of the country there is so much snow that even that won’t help. If that’s the case, you may need to put chains on your tires to improve traction. Following are a few tips concerning how to install tire chains.
If you intend to use tire chains on your car, you’ll need to make sure you get the proper size. Check the sidewalls of the tires. There will be a series of numbers and letters which designate what size your tires are. Write the numbers and letters down so you’ll know what size chains to get. Make sure the chains won’t leave you with too little clearance between the chains and the wheel wells. The employees at a tire store should be able to help you pick out the right size chains.
Give Yourself Room to Work
When it comes time to put the chains on the car, it would be a good idea to try and find a place where you won’t interfere with traffic as it passes. Pull well off the road, onto a flat spot to put the chains on. Make sure you won’t be in a traffic lane while you’re putting your chains on the vehicle. Remember, safety first.
Use Your Emergency Brake
Since you’ll be in hilly areas most of the time when you install tire chains, make sure you use your emergency brake when you get out of the vehicle to put them on your car. You won’t want your vehicle rolling away while you’re getting the chains out of the trunk. The emergency brake will help keep your vehicle immobile. Despite the terrain, it would be a good idea to try and find a level area to work. You should also turn off the ignition.
Position the Chains
Lay the chains out on the ground. Make sure the chains are flat, and don’t have any kinks in them. For front wheel drive cars, the chains should be placed in front of the front tires, with the end of the chains directly in front of the tires. For rear wheel drive cars, the chains should be laid out behind the tires, with the nearest links in direct contact with the tires. Some chains have studs in them. Make sure the studs are facing the ground.
Mount the Chains
Once the chains are properly positioned, get back in the car and start the ignition. Release the emergency brake and slowly drive over the chains. If you have front wheel drive, you’ll need to roll forward. With rear wheel drive cars, you’ll need to back up. If you have someone with you, have them guide you until you’re directly in the center of the chains. If you’re alone, you’re going to have to estimate how far to let the car roll. Before getting out of the car to make sure you’ve properly positioned the tires, turn off the ignition and engage the emergency brake. If you’re alone, and you rolled too far, or not far enough, get back in the car and try again. Once you have the tires properly aligned with the chains, it’s time to install them on the tires. Again make sure the ignition is off, and the emergency is brake is engaged. Bring both ends of the chains up until they meet at the top of the tires. Make sure there are no twists or kinks in the chain. Connect the chains, making sure there is a little bit of slack. Hook up any tightening attachments, and make sure they’re secure.
Test the Chains
After you’ve made sure the chains are properly attached and secure, get back in the car, release the emergency brake, and roll forward a little way to make sure the chains are correctly installed. Listen for any clinking noises, which would indicate the chains aren’t hooked up right. If you don’t hear anything out of the ordinary, you can continue on your drive, paying strict attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for maximum speed.
Practice Make Perfect
After buying your chains, it would be a good idea to practice putting them on in your driveway before you have to use them on the road. Knowing how to perform the installation ahead of time will make doing it on the highway in a snowstorm a lot easier.
Guest post from Cameron Gray. Cameron writes for AutoInsuranceQuotes.org.