All About Snowblower Tire Chains

tire chains

Winter is coming! And if you live somewhere that attracts snow like a magnet, so is everything else that the cold season brings with it. Yep – it’s time to bring out the winter clothes, the floor heaters, and of course, snow removal tools! 

Some people can get by with a snow shovel, but if you live in a deep snow zone like Michigan as I do, a snow blower is almost essential for snow removal on your driveway. And while most snow blowers can clear snow as is, if you get enough snow or have rough terrain, your blower may require some assistance.

This is where a tire chain may be the perfect solution. 

But you can’t just slip on any old chain on your snow blower’s tires. We’re going to cover the best way to make the most of tire chains for your snowblower!

Measuring and Fitting Snow Blower Tire Chains

It’s vital that you properly fit the right chain size for your snow blower tires. Otherwise, not only will you fail to optimize the tires’ traction, you may damage them in the process.

The last thing anyone wants is a broken snowthrower in the middle of a snowstorm. So then, what is the proper way to measure your snow blower tire for a chain and fit it?

Ensure Proper Clearance

This is important: Not all snow blowers can accommodate tire chains. The model may not have enough clearance for the fitting of chains. Many manufacturers engineer these machines with low traction situations in mind, which means the equipped tires are designed to have better traction on ice or snow. 

Some blowers can use the extra traction of snowblower wheel chains, especially if your driveway consists mainly of packed snow and ice. Whether or not you can fit a tire chain onto your snow blower’s tire can be found in each machine’s instruction manual.

If you’ve lost the manual and can’t find it online – a good rule of thumb to follow is you’ll need about 2 inches of clearance between the tire and the snow blower body to use chains. If there is enough clearance, you can move on to the next step.

measuring tape to check snowblower tire chain clearance

Determine Tire Sizes

Measuring your tire sizes is a lot easier than it sounds. Great news!

You won’t need a ruler or other tools to find out the correct size most of the time. Manufacturers will usually indicate the tire’s dimensions on its sidewall. You will find either two or three numbers divided by various symbols. These symbols are simply markers meant to separate the numbers and don’t have additional meaning for your tire size. These numbers will indicate the tire’s diameter, tire width, and rim diameter.

If there are two numbers on the sidewall, no matter what symbol is used to divide those numbers, the first number will measure tire width. The second number will measure the rim size. So whether you see 6/3, 6-3, or 6×3, these two numbers indicate that the tire’s width is 6 inches with a rim diameter of 3 inches. 

If you have three numbers on your tire, don’t panic. The first number is the tire’s diameter. The second and third numbers will measure the tire’s width and the rim’s diameter, respectively. So a 12, 6, and 3 – regardless of which symbol divides them – would indicate a tire height of 12 inches, a width of 6 inches, and a rim diameter of 3 inches

If, for whatever reason, your snow blower’s tires do not indicate the tire size, it’s a simple matter to measure these dimensions with measuring tape. Well, maybe not simple, but you’ve got the skills to do it. A flexible measuring tape will help significantly in this process.

Determine Tire Tread

In addition to size, you need to look the type of tread on your tires to select the right tire chain. Not all snow blower chains will fit every kind of tire tread. If the chain does not correctly sync with the tire tread, the chain won’t work right.

Ensure the chain you are purchasing for your tires will work with the snow blower’s tire treads.

close up view snowblower black tire treads

Fitting the Tire Chains

We need to emphasize – each make and model of snow thrower is unique. Therefore, you must refer to both the instruction manual for your snow blower and the installation instructions for your tire chain. Doing so can prevent big headaches down the line.

With that said, here is a step-by-step guide to fitting your tire chains:

  1. Lay your snow blower chains out on the ground – striaght and flat.
  2. Each set of tire chains will have a side with closed clips and a side with adjustable clips. Make sure the chains are placed so that the side with adjustable clips will be on the outside of the tires.
  3. Once your chains are in position, push the snow blower until the tires are in place on the chains.
  4. Link both sides of the tire chains until the tire is completely wrapped. Repeat this step for each tire.
  5. Ensure proper fit. The chains won’t be completely flush, but they should not be loose.

Frequently Asked Questions About Snowblower Chains

What are Snowblower Tire Chains?

Tire chains are commonly used to increase extra traction for vehicles but are equally viable for snow blowers. These chains are handy when your snow blower is clearing snow in icy conditions.

Do Tire Chains Help on Snow Blowers?

Absolutely! While many snow blowers, especially higher-end machines engineered for extreme weather conditions, are equipped with tires that have better traction, tire chains will give you that extra grip for particularly icy surfaces. Not all snow blowers are compatible with snow chains, however, so make sure to refer to your owner’s manual.

Do Snow Blower Tire Chains Come in Different Sizes?

Yes. Just as your tires come in different sizes, snow blower tire chains are available in various sizes. Use our guide above to determine the size and tread of your tires and purchase the corresponding tire chains!

Do Snow Chains Have to be Exact Size?

The closer the fit, the better your snow chains will function. You can’t expect a perfect fit, but the correct tire chains won’t be loose. It’s crucial to obtain chains that are as close in size to your tires as possible!

How Tight Should Winter Chains be?

Your tire chains shouldn’t have a death grip on your snow blower tires. However, if they look loose enough to fall off, they need to be tightened. Snow blower tire chains typically have multiple links for adjustment purposes, so if the chains seem too tight or too loose, attach the hook one link up or down.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are in eager expectation or in dread of the coming winter, you must be appropriately equipped for the weather conditions headed your way. And a great snowblower is never a bad thing to have! 

You want this beast of a machine to be able to handle everything winter might throw on your driveway, so make sure it is prepped. This might include equipping them with snow blower tire chains. Use our guide to ensure that not only are your tires getting the most extra traction possible but are also safe from damage. You’ll be glad you are prepared!

We hope this article was helpful. If you enjoyed it, make sure to share with others that need to brace themselves for the deep snow of the coming winter!

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