Good Sunday, everyone
As we enter the time of the year where we may be more inclined to use log or tow chains for a variety of uses, I wanted to remind everyone that inspecting the chain condition before use is important to ensure integrity. I'll use an example from this past season.
When my wife and I acquired her mother's home and land in Southern Ohio, there was a peach tree that had not bore fruit in many years. Due to persistent suckering, we trimmed most of the branches and the trunk until we had about a one foot stub sticking up from the tap root. A friend who is a professional tree trimmer advised that the stub/root could be removed using a chain and tuck or tractor. My B-I-L attempted to pull with his Avalanche, no-go. I put the draw bar on my JD-4720, wrapped the chain around it and the stub, pulled tension, put the tractor in 4WD, locked the differential, and pulled the stub and about a six foot lateral root. I heard one side of one link pop, had it broke the other side of the same link, I would have been horse-whipped by my own chain. This is a chain that I have used for over 15 years, mainly towing logs behind an ATV for fire pit wood. Closer inspection of the chain showed corrosion, erosion, and other issues that no doubt reduced the tensile strength of the chain. I replaced the failed link with a replacement and have had no further issues.
I'm not suggesting that you have non-destructive testing performed, but rather, slip the links through your fingers and look for corrosion, flat spots or nicks that may become a failure point if the remaining tensile capacity is exceeded. If you're using your tractor or 4WD pickup and chain to extricate a vehicle from a ditch and the chain fails, the stored energy will be released very violently and may potentially injure you or worse.
I had a close call in the early summer and thought that I'd pass along this tip to the other members of this forum.
Have fun this winter but stay safe!