Buying the right tire chains for your snow blower is vital. I show you how to measure for snow blower tire chains with an easy to follow step-by-step guide.
Snow blower tire chains are a quick and simple solution to improving traction. Designed to give better grip into ice & wet snow, snow chains allow for greater control and therefore there is less risk of slipping.
Determining the size of snow chains required for a snowblower is actually no different than it is for a car. Equally as important, for safety reasons and to prevent damage to the tires, is that you do find the right size for your tires.
Snow Blower Tire Chains: Measuring & Fitting
Check The Clearance
Being designed solely for use in snow and ice, you would imagine that all snow blowers could be fitted with snow chains, but sadly that is not the case. Depending on the model, there might not be enough space between the inner sidewall of the tire and the body of the machine. (Generally speaking, you will need approximately 2 inches of clearance).
This is not really an oversight in the manufacturers’ design. Most snowblowers, especially the more powerful 2 stage snow blowers, will be fitted with tires that have a tread that gives the grip and control needed just fine. Having said that, these tires can still spin and struggle for traction on ice and hard-packed snow.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to figure out a complicated way to measure the inner space. Manufacturers will usually mention it in the instruction manual if the model cannot fit snow blower chains.
Know Your Tire Size
There is an easy way for identifying tire sizes, that is the 2, or sometimes 3 numbers, on the side of the tire. Here’s how to read them. Firstly let me say, the symbols are only there to separate the numbers. They are not multiplication or minus signs etc, no maths required. Just different manufacturers using different sizing markings.
If the tire has three numbers, such as 26×12-12, the first number is the height, the second number is the width, and the third number is the rim diameter.
With two numbers on the side, let’s say 4-6. The first number refers to the tire width (4”) and the second number is the tire’s rim diameter (6”).
Three numbers, for example, 14×4-6. The extra number at the front is the tire height (14”).
Still confused? Let me give some more examples, I realize this can be hard when you first try to get your head around the figures.
Let’s say you have 12×6-5 then your tire will measure 12″ in diameter, have a width of 6″ with 5″ rim hole.
Whereas something such as 4.10/3.5-6 means that it is 4.10″ from the rim to the outer edge, the tire is 3.5″ wide, and has a 6″ rim.
Measuring for snow blower tire chains if you can’t find the numbers. Don’t worry, you can just bring out the tape measurer and find both the tire width and rim size diameter for yourself.
Know The Type Of Tread On Your Tire
In addition to finding the right size, you will need to check that the chain fits the type of tire tread on your snowblower. As an illustration of this, here is a good example of snow chains that will not fit all tire treads.
As I have said above, although these tires are good, they may still struggle in certain conditions, making the use of snow chains a good option. Just be careful and check all the specs not just the size before you go investing in a set of chains.
Fitting Snow Blower Tire Chains
Here is my quick crash course on how to fit snow chains for extra traction on most snow blowers. Always check with your operator’s manual and the snow chain instructions for any additional safety measures. However, for a more in-depth guide on how to fit snow chains, please read our comprehensive guide here.
- Layout both tire chains on the ground with the flat sides of the chain links facing up
- Identify the side that has closed clips and the side with adjustable clips. The adjustable clips should be placed on the outer edge of the tire.
- With the snowblower tire chains in the right position, push the snowblower forward so that the tires are sitting on the chains.
- Lift the two ends of the chain and link them together, wrapping around the entire tire. Repeat on the other side.
- Check the fit on both tires. It is okay to have some movement but it shouldn’t be so loose that it could come off on its own.
- You can fit bungee cords if the chain sits too loose.
Having the correct tire chains gives you far better traction and control over your machine and will make snow removal far less strenuous. In my opinion well worth the money and any time spent fitting them.
Remember, tire chains normally fit more than one size of tire and are adjustable to a certain degree. Therefore using a measuring tape and getting close usually works just fine if you cannot see the tire markings.
Other Popular Questions About Tire Chains
Were you looking for an answer to a specific question? Below are the questions I get asked most often.
Are snow blower tire chains worth it?
Snow blower tire chains are worth the money if you feel you need extra traction on a wheeled snowblower. Unless you live in an area that gets extreme snow every year, this is the more affordable alternative to buying a larger tracked or three-stage snow blower.
How tight should snow chains be?
On snowblowers, the snow chain should be snug but not digging into the tire treads. At the same time, they shouldn’t be so loose that there is a risk of the chain slipping off on its own.
How do you tighten tire chains?
Most tire chains have the option of several links to hook into. To tighten tire chains move the closing hook into the next link down.
You can also make tire chains tighter by attaching bungee cords. Use the bungee cords to pull some of the links closer together to create extra tension but not so much tension that it could snap, either.