Back in WW2 Grandpa Half-mast provided great advice to the GIs about their jeeps and other vehicles. So you want to know if tire chains should be painted is a question that comes up now and again. Even in WW2 people wanted to know! As always Half-Mast had the answer…
Is there any objection to painting truck tire-chains with lusterless olive drab paint and storing them in this manner?
I don’t know if there are any objections to doing the job this way, but I know a better and recommended way.
Clean the tire-chains thorough with Phosphoric Metal Conditioner (Federal Stock Nos. 51-A-1302, 1-gal., and 51-A-1303, 5 gal.). Let them dry. Take Gloss, Clear Varnish (Federal Stock Nos. 52-V-2770, 1-gal., and 52-V-2780, 5 gal.) and cut it in half – with Thinner (Federal Stock Nos. 52-T-445, 1-gal., and 52-T-450, 5-gal.). Dip your chains in the thinned varnish and that’s all there is to it. Be careful, though, not to varnish the clips; varnish will keep them from opening and closing.
It takes, about a week for the varnish to be thoroughly dry and hard.
You might be interested in more tips from history. I’ve collected a bunch of them and put them in Military Maintenance for MB/GPW Jeeps 1941-45. The tips are from the WW2 Army Motors, publication for Army drivers and mechanics.