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How To Install Snow Chains on Tires

Chains required ahead? No worries – follow these steps, and you'll be a member of the chain gang this winter.


  • Step 1: Test the chains by driving your car forward about 200 yards, then pull over and stop the car. Inspect the chains to make sure they are secured tightly.
  • Step 2: Get going – but don't exceed 25 miles per hour when driving with the chains, and only drive on snow and ice. Snow chains can damage both your tires and the road surface if they are driven on dry land.
  • FACT: Did you know? In 1909, William Howard Taft was sworn in as the 27th president of the United States on a day when almost 10 inches of snow fell, a record for an inauguration day.
  • Step 3: Wrap the chains around the tires, and connect the ends of the chain to each other. If your chains come with a rubber loop, install that by hooking the clips to the chains.
  • Step 4: Drive the car forward so that the tires are on top of and roughly centered on the snow chains. Make sure the tires are positioned squarely on each chain and that each chain is straight. Stop the car and put on the parking brake.
  • Step 5: Lay the chains flat on the ground in front of the tires. Make sure the chains are properly oriented: Hooks and clips should be on the outside once the chains have been installed on the wheel, so check that they're on the side of the chains facing the ground when you lay them down.
  • TIP: Put chains on the front tires for front-wheel drive, on the rear tires for rear-wheel drive, and on all four tires for four-wheel drive vehicles.
  • Step 6: Park your car so that you have at least one car length in front of you and one car length behind you. Engage the parking brake.

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