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Why are you tire chains too long?

Jul 3rd 2024

Shortening and adjusting tire chains involves a few steps. Here’s a general guide on how to do it:

Tools Needed:

  • Pliers
  • Chain cutter or bolt cutters (if needed)
  • Gloves (optional, for protection)

Steps to Shorten Tire Chains:

  1. Fit the Chains:
    • Lay the tire chains flat on the ground.
    • Drape the chains over the tire, ensuring they are centered and evenly distributed.
  2. Check for Excess Length:
    • Once the chains are properly positioned on the tire, check for any excess length that extends beyond what is needed.
  3. Remove Excess Links:
    • Use pliers to open the connecting links (also known as quick links or C-hooks) if your chains have them.
    • If the chains are too long, you may need to remove a few links to achieve the correct fit. Use a chain cutter or bolt cutters to cut the excess links.
  4. Reconnect the Chains:
    • After removing the excess links, reconnect the chains using the pliers to close the connecting links securely.
    • Ensure that the chains are snug but not overly tight. They should fit securely around the tire without slipping.
  5. Adjust for Tightness:
    • Drive a short distance to allow the chains to settle. Then, stop and recheck the fit. If necessary, adjust the tension by moving the connecting links.
  6. Use Tensioners (Optional):
    • For a more secure fit, you can use chain tensioners or bungee cords to keep the chains tight around the tire.


  • Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions specific to your tire chains for best results.
  • Ensure that the chains are installed evenly to avoid any imbalance while driving.
  • Regularly check the tension and condition of the chains during use, especially after driving for a short distance.

By following these steps, you should be able to shorten and adjust your tire chains properly for a secure fit.

why are my tire chains too long

If your tire chains are too long, it could be due to several reasons:

  1. Incorrect Size:
    • The chains may not be the correct size for your tires. Tire chains are designed for specific tire sizes, and using chains that are too large will result in excess length.
  2. Universal Chains:
    • Some chains are designed to fit a range of tire sizes. These universal chains often come with extra links that need to be adjusted or removed to fit your specific tire size.
  3. Wear and Stretch:
    • Over time, chains can stretch with use. This can make previously well-fitting chains become too long.
  4. Incorrect Installation:
    • Improper installation can make it seem like the chains are too long. Ensure that the chains are centered on the tire and that the excess length is not due to improper alignment.

How to Address the Issue:

  1. Verify the Size:
    • Check the size of your tire chains against your tire size. The tire size is usually found on the sidewall of the tire. Ensure the chains are compatible with this size.
  2. Remove Excess Links:
    • As mentioned earlier, if the chains are too long, you can remove excess links using pliers and a chain cutter or bolt cutters.
  3. Use Chain Tensioners:
    • Chain tensioners or bungee cords can help take up the slack and keep the chains tight around the tire.
  4. Consult the Manual:
    • Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for proper fitting and adjustment. There may be specific recommendations for adjusting the length of the chains.
  5. Reposition the Chains:
    • Make sure the chains are correctly centered and evenly distributed around the tire. Improper placement can lead to the appearance of excess length.

By identifying the reason why your tire chains are too long, you can take the appropriate steps to adjust them for a secure and proper fit.