Installing Chains For Winter On Commercial Big Rig Trucks

Instructions On How To Chain Up Big Truck Tires

  • A good rule of thumb is not to wait until the day that you really have no choice but to chain up the tires of your big truck.chaining up big tires 
  • Get instructions beforehand and practice a couple of times.
  • There is nothing worse than being on a dangerous road and having no choice but to chain up, and you have never done it before.
  • The times to be aware of laws regarding chaining up your tires are between the months of November, all the way through to the end of March, this when penalties for violations can cost a lot.
  • There are different chain laws in different states. In California, for example signs will indicate chain law with levels of R1, R2 and R3 for big trucks. 
  • To a commercial driver they all mean the same thing: chain up, or pull off the road and wait it out until conditions improve.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to chaining up big truck tires. The best is way to find out what works for you while you are practicing.

Lay the chains out alongside the tires and check them for kinks or damage. 

Damaged links can place you in violation and kinks will cause improper installation and damage.

  • Drape the chains over the tire, folding the front under the tire.
  • Pull the truck forward about two feet, which will allow enough slack to complete chaining-up all tires without having to move the truck again.
  • Use at least three bungees on every tire, placing them in the following positions: 
    12 to 6 o’clock
     2 to 8 o’clock
    4 to 10 o’clock

    This process will work fine for most truckers.

    A few tips:

1.    Make sure that when you lay the chains down, that the open ends of the cross links are on the outside when you have chained up, in other words, facing the tarmac when laid down.

This is to prevent that open links do not dig into the sidewalls of the truck tires

2.    Make sure that your chains have 4 cam tighteners the same as your chains. 3 cam tighteners just won’t get the job done well enough.

3.    When fitting the bungees, make sure the hooks are facing outwards. 

If the hooks are facing in, anything that hits the side walls hard enough will jab the hook right through the sidewall of the tire, for example a rock, a large chunk of hard ice, or something buried under the snow which cannot be seen.

4.    Make sure that you first hook the inside of the chains before tightening them from the outside and that they are tight.  If they are not tight, you may lose them on the road or they will cause damage to the fenders of the truck. 

Run the truck for a mile or two, then re-tighten the chains and they should be okay for the long haul.


Installing Alloy Radial Chains, or Tire Cables Video

There are many different ways to chain up for big trucks, and R1, R2 and R3 may require more than one set of chains per tire. 

Find what method is best for you and keep safe.



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