As we glide into Winter, I know in the back of my mind that winter is right around the corner. While most people don’t tend to think of Arkansas as a snowy state, last winter proved most of us wrong with lots of snow and frigid temperatures. Call me crazy, but I loved it.

We live out of town just a bit, and a few of the roads around where we live don’t always get cleared right away. Plus, we’re thinking about going skiing this winter. So, traction cables (or tire chains) seemed the best solution for winter emergencies. After determining the best size for our vehicle, we purchased Peerless Traction Cables from Walmart Auto.

I’m not gonna lie. I was a bit intimidated at the thought of putting these on our tires. I’m not a mechanical person; just ask my husband. But they were super easy to install. So simple. Anyone can do this! Here’s how it’s done.

How to install tire chains

Note: The process of installing tire chains would be very similar to installing traction cables.

1. Make sure you order the correct size.   If you don’t have the correct size, the cables can cause damage to your vehicle. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual for all the details.

2. Remove cables from the box, and stretch them out on the ground, cross-member hooks facing down. Inspect for any damage.

3. Upon careful inspection, pick up the cables and drape them over the top of your tire. Be sure the keyhole latch attachments are on the right-hand side of the tire and that the lever lock rests on the outer sidewall of your tire. Also, be sure that the cross-member hooks are facing up, so they face away from the tire tread.

4. Roll your cables down toward the left-hand side of your tire, and tuck extra cable back around your tire, on the outer and inner walls of your tire.

5. Move your vehicle forward until the lever lock sits at approximately 2 to 3 o’clock on the tire (lining up with the axle). At this point, it’s important to turn off your vehicle and set your emergency brake.

6. Move to the inner wall of your tire, and fasten the cables on the inner sidewall. Pull the end of the side cable with the knobs up through the keyhole latch, tightening the cables. Excess cable can be secured with the provided clip.

7. For the outer sidewall, go through the same steps of pulling the end of the side cable with the knobs up through the keyhole latch, tightening and securing.

8. Make sure everything is centered, all the cross-member hooks are centered over the tire tread, everything looks even, etc. Then close the lever lock, fastening to the side cable.


It may take a bit of re-adjusting on both the inner and outer sidewalls to make sure everything is centered, even and secure. Catch any excess cable with the provided clip.

When you’re all done and everything looks good, drive about a ¼ of a mile just to make sure everything’s as tight, centered and even as it should be.

And that’s all there is to it! Once you install them a couple times, it becomes even easier. The best part is you’re all set when you’re stuck in the next winter snowstorm or have an emergency situation. Or maybe you’re headed to the mountains in the dead of winter. Tire chains or cables could definitely come in handy then!

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(Disclaimer: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for details regarding installation of traction cables or tire chains.)

By Mel Lockcuff, author of


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