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Tire Chain Care And Maintenance


By: Steve Irick

Worse than having to get out of your rig into knee deep snow on the roadside and sling iron, is when you discover half way through the job,  the connecting link that holds the chains together is broken and you’ll have to pull out another set and start all over. You are already cold and wet and your fingers are so numb that they can hardly move.

You might throw out a few curse words before you ask that one question. Why? Why didn’t you check those chains when the weather was nice last week?

Ask any driver who has been through more than one season and you’ll hear a similar story. They make for a good laugh over a cup of coffee, but it isn’t so amusing when it happens – especially to you.

Now is the time to check out your chains.

On your next break pull them out and lay them on the ground. Go through this check list and make sure they are ready. It’ll only take a few minutes.

  1. Are these the same chains you used last year or are they new ones? If they are new, make sure they are the correct size that fits on your tires.
  2. Visually inspect all connections. There should be no missing or broken links.
  3. Rust is expected, but is it more than just surface rust? Deteriorated metal will fatigue much quicker. Spraying a light film of WD-40 on them can help keep the chains more manageable.
  4. Make sure that they haven’t gotten twisted since you used them last. Twisted links will stress and give out more easily. Line them up and make sure when you put them away they remain straight.
  5. If you are not familiar with how to chain up, practice now. Any seasoned trucker will tell you how funny it is to watch someone take two hours to put chains on one tire.

Keep in mind that a little preparation will make every run you make this winter that much easier.



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