Tips for Installing Tire Chain Tensioners

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How to Drive With Tire Chains....5

Tight tire chain fit gives you the best handling. Learn more about adjusting snow tire chains in this free winter weather driving video from a master mechanic.

Part of the Video Series: How to Install Tire Chains
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Video Transcript

Okay, in this segment, we're going to cover installing the tensioner. This is really a crucial part of the chain system. It is real crucial because it's what keeps all of the slack out of the chain and the chain fitting as tight as possible to the tire. The tighter that chain fits to the tire, the better it's going to ride on the tire. The better handling you're going to have. Traction, ride quality and it also keeps everything real snug, so you don't have any loose portions of the chain flopping around and potentially damaging your vehicle. That does happen quite often and regular. If you should experience a failure where you start hearing a smacking sound, a broken link or a broken tensioner or whatever the situation may be, the second you hear it, get pulled over as quickly as possible and address that issue. Because, it's just going to rapidly deteriorate the chains and your vehicle by letting that go. If the chains come off, they can wrap around the drive axle, cause all kinds of other problems. This is where things can get a little bit tricky here. What I'm going to down is, you can see it's kind of out of center, out of round more or less. I'm just going to make some adjustments, kind of slide everything into position and move the chain around so it gets good and centered. Reaching around the back side checking the inner bead of the chain. When it comes around, you'll have a nice circle loop on the back side. Make sure it's nice and tight. You'll want to get up and get an inspection from the front on the inside. Make sure there's nothing in its way. It's not going to hit on anything. Then you just slowly work the chain around so it all fits nice and uniform. Basically the entire tie down points where the links come in, are all pretty much centered in the same location around the tire. You're not going to have as much movement down the bottom. As you get going, it will kind of center itself too and make some minor adjustments. That's basically what we're looking for; they're still not exactly perfect. Then you just want to go around to the other side and duplicate the same thing. Now we've the chain on, the tensioner on correctly and everything is set up and ready to go. Please watch our next segment and I'll cover the safety requirements and some winter driving tips on safe operation with chains on your vehicle.

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