Tire Maintenance & Safety

How to Put Chains on Tires?

Last updated 12/09/2022 - Originally published 12/09/2022
Written by SimpleTire

If you live in an area where driving through snow is common, owning a set of tire chains is a must as adding chains on snow tires can provide better handling and control when driving in snowy or icy conditions. Moreover, they might even be required to travel on inclined roads or in mountainous areas.

Chains on snow tires can provide extra traction and stability when driving in icy conditions, and here are some of the reasons why you should put chains on your tires this winter.

What are chains on tires?

Snow chains, also known as tire chains, are devices that are attached to the tires of vehicles to increase traction when driving through snow and ice. Snow chains are attached to a vehicle's drive wheels, or special systems deploy chains that swing under the tires automatically. Cars may consist of a number of chains that are wrapped around the wheels' tires and fit snugly over them.

Snow chains come in many different designs. Classic link chains, also known as cables, and wrap-style chains, which are wrapped around the tire once it is in the snow.

How do they work?

The tensioning straps across the wheel secure the snow chains (or cables) as they wrap around the outside of the tire tightly to prevent them from slipping. Additionally, snow chains function by merely enhancing the amount of traction tires have on icy or snow-covered roads. Cars are less likely to skid and lose control on icy surfaces when there is more traction between them and the road, making winter driving much safer.

The chains' construction allows them to support the entire weight of the vehicle without breaking because they are made of a sturdy and long-lasting metal. As long as you use snow chains sensibly and under the right circumstances, you can count on them to last for several winters. The protective layer of ice or snow that acts as a barrier between the chains and the road surface is where they are intended to sink into.

Why add chains to your tires?

The fact that snow chains are significantly less expensive than snow tires may be enough to convince some people to add chains to tires. Some snowy conditions necessitate the use of tire chains, and tire chains or snow chains are mandated by law in a number of locations in the US. These are typically mountainous areas with roads that require the maximum amount of traction from tires, even in dry weather, due to altitude changes, loose rocks, sharp curves, and switchbacks.

They provide extra traction

Tire chains/Snow chains are a tried-and-true addition to tires that offer significant traction and grip on ice and snow. Snow chains are well known for their adaptability, affordability, and effectiveness on both ice and snow. Additionally, these offer good traction in conditions with deep snow and in which ice can cause disastrous slipping.

They're easier to control

Your wheels can freely rotate as the chains can cling to the pavement. Tire chains not only help you avoid getting stuck in the snow, but they also help you avoid sliding on icy roads.

You can drive in deeper snow

In very deep snow, snow chains perform better because they can penetrate frozen and snowy surfaces with ease. Additionally, snow chains can help keep your car from skidding.

How to add chains on your tires?

  1. Even though you are aware that tire chains are necessary for your safety, you may find the thought of having to put the chains in and take them out of your tires intimidating. But don't worry, we'll make it easier for you by providing step-by-step instructions for installing chains on your tires.
  2. Purchase the appropriate tire chains for your tires: The first step is to purchase the appropriate size chains for your vehicle's tires by examining the sidewall of your tire for size specifications. Front-wheel-drive vehicles require chains on the front tires, while rear-wheel-drive vehicles require chains on the rear tires. They can be used on the front tires of four-wheel drive vehicles to improve steering traction. You do not need to put chains on all 18 wheels of your semi truck; only the drive wheels.
  3. Wrap the snow chains around the tires: Put your vehicle in park and then begin by wrapping the chains over the tire and tucking one end under the front of the tire.
  4. Connect the ends of tire chains: Since both ends are now free, you can connect them to form a loop that will encircle the tire. Make sure the chains are secured to the tire as tightly as you can. To achieve a tight fit, use the chain's available adjustment.
  5. Check and adjust the tire chains: Move the car a few hundred feet forward and make a few wheel turns. The chains will be able to settle in and eventually begin to loosen as a result. Stop the vehicle in an accessible location with the connection point. To ensure a tight fit, tighten the chains again.
  6. Utilize your snow chains properly: When the roads are clear, make sure to take your chains off. You risk losing control of your car and damaging your chains if you drive in chains on paved roads.


People could avoid using the roads altogether during winter weather, but in some areas that simply isn't an option, and it also doesn't address the problem of getting to and from work, the grocery store, or dropping off and picking up children from school. This winter, consider adding snow chains to your tires.

Snow chains should be put on the front wheel of front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles, and on the rear of rear-wheel drive vehicles. Install snow chains on your semi truck's drive wheels and on all four tires for all-wheel drive.

Tires with chains on them offer traction on slick surfaces because they dig deeper into the ice and snow.

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