Semi Truck Tire Chains Guide

November 19, 2020

The Rolling Rig

Keep a worry-free truck with these maintenance tips!

Semi truck tire chains can be a hassle, but it’s a great idea for any trucker to know how they work when it comes time to prepare for winter. International Used Truck Center covers chaining semi truck tires, which tires to chain on a semi truck, and more chain driving tips, below!

The Use of Semi Truck Tire Chains

So, why learn which tires to chain on a semi truck in the first place? Not every trucker is going to need chains on their truck, but if you’re traveling through Michigan or other states known for their harsh winters, it’s a good idea to learn how to install them:

  • Ice and Snow: The primary use for semi tire chains is in the ice and snow. You lose traction as the precipitation builds up during the winter months, but tire chains cut through them.
  • Chain Laws: In some mountainous or difficult roads, truckers may be alerted to chain laws. These require you to use semi truck tire chains, so read ahead to learn more.
  • Truck is Stuck: Chains can solve a difficult problem if your truck is stuck for the same reason that they help cut through precipitation.

How to Put on Tire Chains on a Semi

Now that we know why, let’s cover which tires to chain and how to install tire chains on a semi truck. It’s a task any trucker could learn:

  • Which tires to chain on a semi truck: You don’t need to put chains on all 18 wheels — only the drive wheels on your truck.
  • Lay the Chains Out: Put the chains in front of each wheel, adjustment cams facing out.
  • Roll Forward: Some truckers like to simply roll their wheels forward onto the chains, then adjust from there. Others like to drape the chains over themselves.
  • Hook and Tighten: Hook the chain between the duals, and use an adjustment wrench on the cams. Additional security can be acquired with a bungee cord.
  • Test Drive: To make sure the chains are secure, drive a little with the chains on then inspect them.

Semi Truck Tire Chain Driving Tips

Now that you’ve got the chains on, you’re going to have to drive differently than when you have bare tires. Here are some tips that any seasoned trucker would tell you:

  • Driving Speed: When driving with chains, most truckers don’t get past 30 mph.
  • Gaining Weight: A truck can take up to 6 chains, but those add a lot of weight. You could be looking at 1000 pounds added to your gross vehicle weight.
  • Chaining Alternatives: Snow socks are much more lightweight than chains, but they don’t meet official requirements for chains when they are mandated. If you have time, know that some truckers simply choose to wait it out. In many places, the highway crews clean the roads quickly.

Get Trucking Tips with International Used Truck Center

At International Used Truck Center, we’ve gathered a great inventory of trucks, but we don’t just want to sell them to drivers. We also want to help with maintenance tips so you can keep your truck in great shape and drive safely. Contact us today to find out more!

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