How to install car tire chains correctly

Jan 21, 2021 3 min read
How to install car tire chains correctly

Driving in snow can be risky. Tire chains can give you much need traction and grip on the slippery surface.

Tire chains, snow chains, or skid chains are chains that are wrapped over the tire tread of car wheels to increase traction and grip in extreme winter conditions. There are varieties of car chains available on market but mostly they are designed in the form of the web which can be connected at the ends to make a circle around the tire. We need tire chains while traveling an elevated snowy area such as a mountain pass.

Do we need tire chains for all 4 tires of a car?

The universal rule for tire chains is to place them on the drive wheels. Either put tire chains on front wheels for front-wheel-drive cars; or put tire chains on rear wheels for rear-drive cars, or put tire chains on all four wheels for all-wheel drive/four-wheel drive cars.

What should be the maximum speed while driving with snow chains?

Many laws and recommendations say that we should never drive exceeding speed more than 40 kmph with snow chains. But if someone exceeds this limit it can be risky for the life of both i.e. persons riding in the car and the car.

What are the various varieties of tire chains available in the market?

Tire chains are available in many wide ranges of variants. They have different material types, patterns, sizes, installation methods, styles, and designs. These are the key factors to make sure the tire chain fits and works well with the car. Consult the car’s manual for specific instructions.

  • Ladder-type

These chains exactly look like a ladder when spread flat on the ground.

  • Single ring/tube/rail type

It has a flexible rail or tube interlaced through one of the sides of the tire chains.

  • Double ring/tube/rail type

It has rails or tubes on both sides of the tire chain mesh. One side contains a single-rail and the other side contains two rails.

How to install different types of tire chains?

The first and most important step is to consult the user manual of the car. Most tire chains are designed in such a way that they do not require any tools. The tools required to install tire chains are the appropriate types of tire chains, or maybe flashlights. This manual has specific instructions on usage and also contains several restrictions.


  • Put the chain next to the wheel with the gap in the chain.
  • Leave it on the ground and rotate it 180 degrees beneath the car wheel and then pull the chains over the wheels.
  • Grab the two corners and fasten them on the backside of the wheel.
  • Pull the chains in front around the wheel and fasten the top and bottom chain on the front outside of the car wheel.
  • Attach the tensioner to the chain in a star pattern to the face of the wheel and tug it to eliminate slack.
  • Drive 5-10 yards to check whether the tensioner is tight and in its proper placement.

Single rail type

  • Attach the chains in a similar manner; thread the marked end around the wheel and position it on the other side of the wheel and now it will be on the opposite side of the wheel beneath the car.
  • Fasten the rail together at the top of the behind the wheel.
  • Locate the marked hooks and connect them at the top and bottom of the outside of the wheel.
  • Connect the tensioner; drive and tug for tension and check that it is tight and in its right position.

Double rail type

  • Grasp the inside of the single rail which has an opening at the bottom.
  • Make placement like that the opening is at the top of the wheel and position it down over the wheel.
  • Connect the inner rail at the bottom of the inside of the car wheel.
  • Connect the top and bottom of the two rails on the outside of the wheel.
  • Connect the tensioner; drive and tug for tension and check that it is tight and in its right position.
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