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Putting Chains on Tires in Six Steps

Jan 10, 2022

Close-up of a tire with chains on it

If you have to drive after a snowy night or week-long storm and you're trying to figure out how to put chains on your tires, we’ve got you! It's not a difficult process, but there are a few steps you need to take to make sure they're properly attached. Using chains on your tires can help you get better traction in slippery conditions, and chains can even prevent your car from getting stuck in the snow.

1.  Find the Right Chains for Your Tires

The first step to putting chains on your tires is to make sure they match the size of your tires. Chains for smaller tires can't support a car with larger, heavier tires. You'll want to figure out what size and type of tires you have, then find the appropriate chains.

2.  Lay the Chains Out Next to Your Tires

After you have the right chains, you simply need to lay out your chains next to the tires. This will make it easier to properly fit them onto your tires.

3.  Fit the Chains Over the Tires

After laying them out next to your tires, you'll want to fit the chains over your tires. Make sure you fit them as snugly as possible, with both ends of the chains lined up with each other (almost like a bow). This process could potentially take two people.

4.  Drive Slightly Forward and Turn the Steering Wheel Inward

Once you've done your initial fitting, you'll want to move your car forward a couple of feet and turn the wheel inside. This will allow you to tighten the chains and make sure that they're properly fastened without having to struggle with the chains in an awkward position.

5.  Connect the Two Ends of the Chains

Once you have the chains on the tires, then you’ll want to connect the two ends. This will ensure that the two ends are secured together and that you're not going to lose the chains in the middle of a snowstorm.

6.  Double-Check Your Work

Once you have the tires ready to go, it's important to double-check your work. This is an especially good idea when you've got a lot going on and a ton of snow in the air. Check to make sure your chains are tightened to the point where they're not going anywhere, then double-check that they're secure across all four tires.

When to Use Tire Chains

Tire chains are really helpful when you're driving in slippery conditions, whether it's rain, snow or ice. If you're not sure whether you need chains or not, it's always better to be safe than sorry. You can also use chains if your car is stuck in the snow; they can provide enough traction to help you get out. You'll want to make sure to monitor the weather and remove the chains as soon as weather conditions improve.

How to Shop for Tire Chains

Shopping for tire chains can be an overwhelming process as you figure out what will work best for your vehicle. The first step involves narrowing your options down to make sure you have the correct size and type of chains. You'll also need to know the weight of your car, which you can find on the manufacturer's website or in your owner's manual.

Once you have the size and weight of your car, you can start looking at different types of chains. There are several different types of tire chains, including cable chains (one piece), wrapped link chains (many pieces), and diamond-tread tire chains (usually two pieces). There are also multiple styles of each type; some include crossbars along the bottom that will provide more traction. For the best possible experience, you want to find a style that’s easy to install and take off.

Some chains are designed to be installed after the car has already started moving, so they're easier to put on later in the process. Others are easier if you have two people helping you. If you have an all-wheel-drive vehicle, then find a style that’s made for all-wheel drive. This will ensure that your car won't be damaged in the process.

Safety Concerns

You may have some safety concerns when using tire chains. One of the biggest risks is that you can lose control of your car if you're not careful. In order to avoid this, make sure you drive slowly and carefully when using chains. You should also be aware of other drivers on the road and be sure to use your turn signals.

How Can Acima Help?

Did you know Acima’s alternative to financing can help you get tires and other products from auto retailers? We specialize in providing budget-friendly lease-to-own* options, with numerous choices available when you place your order online. Our flexible terms allow you to get the stuff you need from the stores you know and expand your shopping power, without using credit.* Find a complete list of auto retailers who use Acima on our website.

Common Questions about Chains on Tires

How many tire chains do I need?

You’ll want one set of chains for each tire on your car. This will allow you to properly chain each tire so that you're not putting all of your weight on a single chain.

What do tire chains do?

Tire chains help your car get traction when it's snowing. This is because snow doesn't get compacted under your tire like it would with regular traction systems that are used in winter, such as studded tires.

What size tire chains do I need?

The size of chains you need for your tires will depend on the size of your tires. You'll want to find the chains that are made specifically for your tire size so that you can get the most traction possible.

Do tire chains work on ice?

Tire chains can work on ice, but they're not as effective as studded tires. This is because chains don't have metal spikes that are able to penetrate the ice and give you more traction.

Are tire chains legal?

Tire chains are legal in all states, but there are restrictions on when you can use them on your vehicle. You’ll need to check your state's laws to see if there are any restrictions on when you're allowed to put chains on your tires.