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
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!