If you are heading off on a winter trip many European countries require you to carry snow chains and fit them when weather conditions and roadside signage dictate – heavy penalties can be incurred for not carrying chains or not using them when required!
Chains should only be fitted when the road is covered with snow/ice, driving on roads that have been cleared of snow with chains fitted can damage the road and your vehicle.
It is highly recommended to practice fitting your chains before you head to the mountains, it is going to be a lot more difficult fitting them for the first time in a frozen ‘aire de chainage’ half way up a french mountain in the dark!
We’ve got a set of Goodyear 77935 12mm chains recommended for SUVs, motorhomes etc.
Here is the process for fitting Goodyear chains to our Hymer (Fiat Ducato based) motorhome – the exact process may well be different for your vehicle/chain combination but the principles should be the same
Chains should be fitted the driven wheels of your vehicle, in our case the front wheels (note we use Continental VancoFourSeason M&S tyres, but chains are still required):-
Unpack a chain, untangle it and lay it out on the ground in front of the tyre
Pass it behind the tyre by feeding the orange cable link behind the tyre, so that one linked section of chain is either side of the tyre
Reaching behind the tyre lift the two ends of the cable and attached them together at the top of the tyre, then bring all the chain sections over the tyre tread. Connect the two ends of the yellow chain sections together using the red hook.
Now arrange the chains so they are centred over the tyre’s tread
Release the tensioner and pull the red chain through until you have plenty of slack (the tensioner is the grey plastic block at the end of the left side yellow chain in these pictures). Connect the end of the red chain to the red link at the end of the right hand side yellow chain and pull it tight. Finally clip the red chain into the red plastic clips and hook it on the yellow chain as far round as it will reach:-
All done! Remember to drive with extra care while the chains are fitted, remove them as soon as conditions allow and regularly inspect them for damage/wear.
I can also recommend a pair of these gloves to help keep your hands and arms warm, clean and dry when fitting chains – the extended cuffs help protect your forearms while fumbling around behind tyres to connect the chains 🙂
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