Chaining Up for Winter: Tips You Need to Know

Let’s face it, having to install chains on your tires in the wet winter weather isn’t fun for anyone. It may seem tempting to rush through the process to get out of the cold faster, you might actually be setting yourself up for more misery.  

Improperly installed chains can break and cause serious damage to your vehicle. Having a chain break or having a tire blow out at the wrong moment could leave you stuck on a snowy roadside or in the worst case, cause a serious accident.  

Properly installing your chains will help you avoid delays and return home safely.  


Here are some chaining tips from Matheson.

  1. You don’t want to be caught unprepared in the middle of your run. Before you leave your terminal, you will want to check if you have chains on your truck, a cam wrench, bungee straps, and zip ties. You may also want to bring reflective rain gear to keep you dry and visible to oncoming traffic.  
  1. Make sure you know the chaining laws and requirements along your route. There may be different requirements in several areas along your path.  
  1. If you have pulled over to the side of the road to chain your tires, make sure to face oncoming traffic as much as possible.  
  1. When installing chains, make sure to check for cracks, breaks, twists, or kinks in your chain. If you see any, mark them with a red zip tie to be replaced. 
  1. After tightening the chains allow for the chains to settle, rotate your tire a few times then recheck the tension, and adjust accordingly. Chains are properly tensioned when you’re able to fit only your fingertips between the cross chain and the tire.  
  1. If you have excess chain after tightening, do not cut the excess chain, use bungee cords to secure it.  
  1. Once installing chains properly- you need to keep a constant watch on them and the tension, as you drive your chains will continue to adjust and shift. Make sure to listen for any sounds of rattling or snapping while you’re driving.  
  1. The recommended speed for driving on chains is 25 MPH, especially when driving on pavement. 
  1. To extend the life of tire chains swap the sides of the truck every few uses so you can wear the chains evenly, prolonging the life of the chain.  
  1. Put your chains away neatly to make reinstalling the next time easier.  


For more information about putting snow chains on trucks, watch our installation guide on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L527aGog1TQ