When you consider that tire chains keep you, anyone riding with you, and other motorists safe while driving in winter weather, you can see why knowing how to install them is important.
When you consider that if you don’t know how to install chains before you hit bad weather you will be doing so for the first time, on the side of the road, and in winter weather, knowing how to install chains becomes absolutely vital.
To give you a head start on mastering chain installation, the ASO Mammoth team has put together a few quick tips on chaining up your tires so you get to Mammoth Mountain safe and on schedule. Check them out below!
Always Carry a Set of Chains in the Winter
If you’re traveling to Mammoth Lakes during winter, pack a set of chains no matter what the forecasts say. If a chain control is in affect you must have them to pass through checkpoints, so always keep a pair on hand.
Always Practice Beforehand
The worst possible scenario is for you to install tire chains for the first time while on the road. The cold, snow, and potential lack of light if you’re installing at night will make a difficult job even harder.
Do yourself a favor and practice installing your chains in your garage or driveway before your trip if you’re unfamiliar with the process. You don’t need to be able to install chains in your sleep, but you need to be familiar enough to install them in poor weather.
Ask for Help
If you’re unsure about installing your chains or don’t know if you’ve installed them correctly, don’t hesitate to find a chain installer.
In regions that experience winter weather and tourists often, chain installers are often open near chain control areas. Chain installers cannot sell you chains, so you must already have a set in your car. Keep a reliable set of chains in your car, otherwise you may have a hard time finding chains that fit your tires for sell at the last minute!
Know Your Vehicle
This may seem simple, but if you’re driving a rental car or have never installed snow chains you may lack important vehicle information needed for a proper installation.
For example, you need to know if your car has front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive to know which wheels to install chains on. If you have rear-wheel drive attach the chains to the back two. For front-wheel drive vehicles, attach the chains to the front two tires. For all-wheel drive, check the owner’s manual for which tires to attach chains to.
Another reasons to know your vehicle is that different cars require different clearances to avoid damage from the chains. Do your research beforehand by visiting a chain installer or trusted mechanic to know which chains your car needs. If your vehicle could be damaged by chains, cables are a great alternative.
Know the Basics
If you’ve never driven with chains before, there are several important things to know to protect yourself and your vehicle.
For example, you should never drive above 25 mph when using chains as you can damage the chains, your car, or lose control. You should also never drive with chains on concrete or asphalt alone. Once again, doing so could cause damage or even cause you to lose control. Lastly, if possible, turn the tire you’re installing chains on towards the inside of the car to give you better access to the back and always install the back part of the chains first to make your job easier later on!