At the time of this writing, we are approaching that time of year when truckers will no longer need their tire chains. Some will store their chains in a toolbox right on the truck. Others will store them at home so as not to keep that extra weight on the truck. Regardless, tire chains are subject to certain conditions that can reduce lifespan. So it’s important to take care of them when not in use.
One of the worst things a truck driver can do is throw his/her chains in a box or a corner of the garage and forget about them. As tough as chains they are, chains are not completely impervious to harm. The biggest enemy is rust. It can be prevented by putting a little effort into storage.
Below are a few tips for storing tire chains over the summer, compliments of Ohio-based Mytee Products. Mytee carries a variety of cargo control, tire, and trailer supplies for truckers along with products for tow truck operators, farmers, riggers, etc.
Clean the Chains
The first thing a trucker should do before storing tire chains is clean them. Again, rust is the enemy. It’s not wise to store chains coated with road salt and chemicals. Otherwise, even the smallest amount of rust could become a big problem over the spring and summer.
A can of WD-40 and a stiff brush is all you need to clean tire chains. Spray a length of chain down, hit it with a brush, and wipe it clean with a rag. A typical set of chains can be cleaned in an hour or two. And as a side note, the time spent cleaning can also be used to inspect chains for damage.
Fix Damaged Links
Any damaged links should be fixed prior to storage. This particular tip is really about human nature more than anything else. In other words, fix your damaged chains while you’re thinking about it. If you store chains away with plans to fix them when you pull them out of storage next fall, you may forget they need fixing. Then you could find yourself on the side of snowy mountain when one of your chains breaks loose.
Lubricate the Chains
Next, it’s a good idea to lubricate tire chains before storing them. You can use that same WD-40. Just lay the chains out and give them a good spray. Apply the WD-40 in an even coat, lightly enough so that it doesn’t drip once you pick them up. You might even want to spray on multiple coats separated by 5 or 10 minutes each.
Hang the Chains on a Hook
While it’s not necessarily a bad thing to store cleaned and lubricated tire chains in a toolbox, it’s better to hang them on a hook in the garage instead. This does a couple of things. First, it prevents any possibility of pooled water rusting the chains. Remember that water can get into toolboxes and accumulate in the bottom.
Next, hanging chains on a hook gives you easy access during the spring and summer months. Why would you want that access? So that you can occasionally go out and spray them again with WD-40. One or two additional shots of WD-40 over the summer should be enough to prevent any rust from forming.
Tire chains are indispensable tools truckers rely on during the winter months. With winter fading fast, it will not be long before those chains come off for good. That’s the time to clean them, lubricate them, and store them in a dry environment so they are ready for next winter.