How to Install Winter Tire Chains
Farmers and other landowners need to prepare for winter weather as soon as possible, as slippery conditions can cause problems for tractors. Even tractors that are designed for durability can have issues in the wintertime - potentially getting stuck in the snow, or slipping on icy terrain. While some tires may work in these conditions, others may need even more help, which is where snow tire chains come into the picture.
When Should I Install Winter Tire Chains?
Winter tire chains should be installed when driving on snow-covered or icy roads, driving through mountainous areas, driving in extreme weather conditions, or when driving in rural areas that may not be well-maintained. If you aren’t certain whether or not it's time to put chains on your tires, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
How to Install Winter Tire Chains
Installing different types of tire chains is relatively simple. While it is easy to implement, it can also provide a significant amount of traction under slippery conditions, like ice. Here’s how to install tire chains on your tires before winter arrives.
1. Drape the Chain Over the Tire
When you drape the chain over the tire, you will want to make sure the open size of the hooks for the cross-links faces away from the tire. As you lay the chain onto the tire, you’ll want to make sure it’s centered over the tread as close as possible.
2. Attach Regular Hook to the Inside
As you attach the regular hook to the inside, try to utilize the tightest link possible without moving the chain from its position on the center of the tire. Along the outside of the tire, you will then want to hook the lever fastener through any open link. This can be found on the free end of the rim chain.
3. Fold the Lever Fastener Back 180 Degrees
These chains should be fit snugly. That said, if the lever doesn’t fold back completely, you will want to try one link longer. On the other hand, if it doesn’t fold easily, then try a link shorter and that should do the trick.
4. Hook the End of the Chain Through a Link Located on the Rim Chain
Lastly, you will want to check to make sure the chains are tightly fit on the tires, so they will not fall off when they start moving. If the tension is perfect, it will be very hard to fit your finger between the tires and any of the links.
If your tire chains fall off easily when you drive, it may be a sign they were placed on too loosely. Deflating the tires might make installing the chains a bit easier, however, it isn’t necessary in order to get the chains on properly. Tire chains are usually only recommended for your rear traction tires. Additionally, they will not do much to improve traction on your front tires if you have two-wheel drive.
How to Pack and Store Snow Chains
To pack and store snow chains, its best to follow these steps:
Step 1: Clean and Dry the Chains
If chains are wet or dirty, and they aren’t cleaned or dried off properly, they can rust and become more difficult to use in the future.
Step 2: Check Chains for Damage
After every use, check for broken or bent links, as well other signs of damaged chains that need to be replaced.
Step 3: Organize Chains Neatly
Keeping chains organized makes it easier to uncoil them in the future. Before storing, lay one chain on top of the other and then fold them in half. From there you can start rolling up the chain.
Step 4: Put Chains in a Storage Bag
The storage bag you choose should be large enough to fit the chains comfortably, and made of durable material that will prevent the chains from moisture and dirt.
Step 5: Store Chains in a Cool and Dry Place
Store your chains in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. This is an essential step to extend the lifetime of your tire chains as well as prevent damage.
How Long do Snow Tire Chains Last?
The longevity of snow tire chains is largely dependent on their care and maintenance. That said, most tire chains last 2,000 engaged miles, with a few replacement chains along the way.
For more information regarding installing tire chains onto your equipment, contact your local John Deere dealer.