How to fit snow chains onto tyres - A step by step guide

How to fit snow chains onto tyres? We teamed up with kunanyi Mt Wellington Explorer Bus to demonstrate how!

Tyre chains are mandatory in certain snowy areas, and they're also a great idea to have in the car if you're heading up into the white stuff at all... but how the feck do you fit snow chains on tyres properly?
We visited our friends at the Kunanyi Mount Wellington Explorer Bus, and asked them to show us how to fit snow chains step by step.

The Kunanyi Mount Wellington Explorer Bus is allowed to go past the gates on Kunanyi/Mount Wellington in Hobart when it has had a proper dusting of snow. This means that they have to be bang up to date with their training and safety procedures on how to fit snow chains on tyres.

Christian and Jared discuss how to install snow chains step by step, the importance of snow chains and how to drive safely with snow chains.

Note that we also had several official resellers and fitters review this video prior to go-live.

So for a step by step guide on how to fit snow chains onto your tyres the right way, have a look at the video and drive safely!


Full transcript:

Jared M: G'day, Jared from Tyre Review and today we're going to look at how to fit snow chains onto your tyres.

Jared M: Today we are at the Kunanyi Mt. Wellington Explorer Bus, and I've got Christian here from that company, and we're going to look at how to instal snow chains onto tyres. We're going to do it on a bus. This bus actually goes up to the top of Mt Wellington here in Hobart and it can go up there in the snow. It can actually take people past the locked gates and up into the fluffy white snow, which we have not been able to do up until recently. But one of the most important things is, actually, putting the snow chains on the bus so the bus doesn't slip off. These snow chains are actually, basically the same as what you can get on your regular car when you go to the snow, going to the ski field, or wherever. Christian's actually going to take us through the way of actually putting it on.

Christian : Well, first off, where you are parked, obviously don't want to be parking anywhere near a puddle or a drain. You want to be making sure that you're on a flat and even surface where it's comfortable. Once you're happy with you where you are, apply your handbrake.

Christian : Well, there are various of different products on the market. The one that they're sort of phasing out a little bit at the moment is the ladder chains, especially for buses and heavy vehicles. They're going with this new design that we've got now. They're are a lot easier to put on. They do a lot more churning of the snow and it's more about, now, giving the tyre more breathing or more space to be able to do its job properly.

Jared M: So, the old ladder ones went straight across the tyre, didn't they?

Christian : Yeah.

Jared M: Whereas these ones are a bit different. So can you explain to me why these are a little bit different?

Christian : These ones are different in a way because they've actually got a crisscross, which goes across the tyre, and this little piece here then goes across the edge of the tyre, and then it goes back again to the other side. What it's basically doing, it's giving you the tread that you've got already there as the chain set up.

Jared M: And, theoretically, more comfortable ride, as well, because you're not going over those lumpy chain bits.

Christian : Yeah. So this is actually [inaudible 00:02:10].

Christian : Now, what we want to be looking at, is when we put the chain on, is not to pick up too much chain, because the chain sometimes can weigh up to, probably, five kilos or maybe more, depending on the thickness of the chain and heavy duty of it. What we want to be doing with this one is, when we put it on, you've also got to be looking at the conditions of which way are you going to roll the bus or the vehicle. So, basically, when you drive forward, the tyre is actually doing all the work by picking up all this chain and helping it roll over the tyre.

Christian : So, these little links here, how it folds down underneath, so this side is the side that goes on top of the wheel. What we need to do is to only pick up a small amount of chain. These little links here need to be on the tyre. So, you will see that when we put it on there. So you've a little bit of the chain at the front, like that. You can already see the pattern that you're getting on the tyre. You've got the crisscross. It goes to the other side and back again. Eventually, when the chain is on, it'll give you that nice tyre tread.

Jared M: So, it'll work its way around a little bit until it's actually sitting in the tread?

Christian : That's correct. Sorry. In some cases it will nicely sit itself in there. Other times it will just sit on top of the tyre. If you can put your hand underneath, it's a good amount of distance so the chain has movement.

Christian : That tyre moving around has helped now pull that chain up and it's helped put the chain under the wheel where we need it to be. Now we go to the rear, which is the first one we've got to join up. This rear one, over the back. We have a latch, which that one just picked up and needs to go onto.

Christian : This one here is, basically, a two piece link. When we put this one on, there's another one at the bottom. Put one on top of the other and, basically, twist it, like so. That one there is the one that sits on top and protects the one underneath, because if you have it the other way around, there's a way that they can get squashed and that can actually break them. So that's that one.

Christian : That one there will follow that line of those chains. Then, of course, our next one, which holds all that lot together. So, they're all together now. They will not come off. Now what we do is to finalise the tension so that it doesn't come loose. We pull this one, give it a bit of a tug there, a tug there and a tug there, there. Then, once we're happy with the tension of that, and you can see this one, it looks like a lady's boot or a man's boot, and you basically just drive it in on an angle so that's very locked off. Then you feed the chain just randomly around where it's going to stay away from the rim.

Christian : The beauty of this chain is over this set of tyres is that you don't have to then retension them like the ladder ones. You used to have to drive the bus forward or the vehicle forward. You wouldn't have to get out and retension them. The idea of these ones is to have a lot of slack, so you can actually put your hand underneath and have a good clearance. But when you're actually driving along, it'll loosen up a lot more. I mean you can give it one, maybe two, links just to take the little bit of slackness out, but that's pretty much it.

Jared M: I guess you have to be careful to go between having enough slack that it's going to give you more grip, but not too much slack that'll actually start slapping on the side of the car.

Christian : Yep. The other thing is if you, depending on your highway work... With the mountain run that we're going to be on, we're only going to be doing 20 kilometres an hour. We've been told to have more slackness in the chain, but if we're going to be doing up to 50 kilometres an hour, then you've really got to reef it.

Jared M: So, even though they are self-tensioning or you can run them looser, you're better off, actually, running a bit tighter if you're going to go higher speeds.

Christian : Yep, that's right.

Jared M: Cool.

Christian : So that's-

Jared M: That's how you fit chains.

Christian : It's pretty much.

Jared M: Excellent. Well thanks, Christian.

Christian : Thank you.

Jared M: Cheers.