How to Install ATV Chains


The ATV, or all terrain vehicle, is a three- or four-wheeled vehicle powered by a small gasoline engine. The operator straddles a seat and steers the vehicle from a set of handlebars, much like a motorcycle. ATVs will traverse almost any terrain with ease, but there are some instances when they need a little more traction, such as mud- or snow-covered trails. In those cases you will want to install a pair of tire chains. The chains grip slippery surfaces where regular rubber tires would lose traction.

Things You'll Need

  • ATV tire chains
  • Put down the chains on a flat surface and straighten any kinks out. Make sure the sharp edges of the traction side of the chain (or the open-hook side of the chain) are facing the ground or your ATV tires could be damaged.

  • Drive your ATV over the chains until the back tires are resting on them. Make sure one foot of chain is sticking out past the rear end of the ATV.

  • Dismount your ATV and bring both ends of the chain up over each side of one tire. Bring the side hook up from the inside of the tire to the nearest link, then double it back and hook it to the connecting link. Repeat the same procedure for the outside of the tire. Make sure you use an equal number of links on the inside and outside connections so that the chain will be centered on the tire. (There should be an equal number of unused links in each chain.)

  • Take the remaining links in one of the chains from the previous step and pull it through the gathering ring on the tire chain. Pull the slack out of the chain and then attach the hooked end of the chain to the shackle connector. Repeat this procedure for the chain on the other side of the tire.

  • Repeat all steps above for attaching the chains to the other rear tire. Test drive the ATV for a short distance. Stop the vehicle and check the chains for tightness. If the chains are loose, remove the hooked end of the chains from the shackle connectors. Pull the chains as tight as possible to remove all slack before reattaching the chains to the connectors.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use chains on paved surfaces. The chains will prematurely wear and you may cause damage to the paved surface.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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