Snow Chains, up close and per­sonal – fit­ting tips and care of chains

Don’t be afraid of snow chains, get to know them be­fore you’re kneel­ing in the snow feel­ing the pres­sure to get home or up the moun­tain. Fit­ting your chains

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

Prac­tic­ing at home will re­duce the time you spend fit­ting them on the road­side and you’ll be con­fi­dent that you have fit­ted them cor­rectly. Dif­fer­ent makes and styles of chains have their own method of fit­ting, so fol­low the man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions but here are some tips:

On two wheel drive ve­hi­cles fit chains to the ‘drive’ wheels.

On most four wheel drive ve­hi­cles, fit your chains to the front tyres. This gives you trac­tion and steer­ing con­trol. How­ever, there are some ve­hi­cles (mainly newer mod­els) with limited space be­hind the tyre or com­put­erised trac­tion con­trol that means the chains can only be fit­ted to the rear. Check your ve­hi­cles hand­book or seek ad­vice from your mo­tor dealer or Sho­tover En­gi­neer­ing.

If you can pass you hand around the back of the tyre with­out touch­ing brake lines or sus­pen­sion etc then nor­mal chains should fit. Low pro­file chains are avail­able if you have limited clear­ance.

Be­fore fit­ting your chains, firstly en­sure they are free from tan­gles and are not hooked back onto them­selves.

Once fit­ted, tighten your chains as much as pos­si­ble, check their po­si­tion on the tyre, drive for­wards a short dis­tance and retighten the chains. As you are driv­ing, con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tor your chains.

Chains should be sit­ting cen­trally across the tyre tread, not slip­ping down to­wards the wheel rim or hub­caps. The in­side and out­side hoop/chain should be an even dis­tance from the rim.

The hooks join­ing your hoop/side chain to the cross­bars should have the smooth/ flat side against the tyre. This means the chain isn’t in­side out and that the chain has a snug fit.

Fas­ten any loose chain with clips or rub­ber bun­gies. This pre­vents dam­age and then if you hear chain flap­ping loose, you know to stop and check!

When stop­ping to check, ad­just or re­move your chains al­ways be con­sid­er­ate to other road users and stop in a safe place.

When re­mov­ing chains stop with the fas­ten­ers at the top of your wheel where they are easy to ac­cess. Then drop the chain off and away from the wheel and move the ve­hi­cle off the chain. Don’t for­get to pick your chains up………

Driv­ing on ex­posed tar seal dras­ti­cally re­duces the life of your chains, it can be unavoid­able at times but try not to drive for long on cleared roads and re­duce your speed.

It is a good idea to hang your chains up to dry af­ter each use, check them over for wear/tear or dam­age. Put them back in your ve­hi­cle!

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