Tuesday, January 17, 2017

I've Been Wondering for a Long Time if There Is a Better Solution Than Chains

I wondered enough to spend some time trying to develop an easier way to attach traction aids.  There are fundamental geometry issues that must be addressed, and I couldn't figure them out.  I hate chains because of how hard they are to install and remove.  I have one bad memory of helping my father install chains on our 1967 Pontiac Ventura on the I-5 pass from Oregon to California at night in freezing weather at the side of the road.

Consumer Reports tested snow socks, which work well, but don't seem much easier than chains.

I've seen these Spikes Spiders advertised, and this review said once you have the mounting hub installed install and removal are easy and fast.  But $610 per pair!  That's quite a bundle.


  1. Clayton,
    Dedicated Winter/Snow tires are much better than all-season types. My buddy has to drive a fair amount in Winter, and has a drive that's uphill (fairly steep) out of his garage onto the street. He has a complete set of extra wheels with snow tires mounted and switches back and forth at the appropriate time of year. The tires are really not expensive, as they allow the regular tires to just sit, with no wear. He got the wheels from the scrap yard, so they were also cheap.

  2. Multiple types:


  3. This has obvious impracticalities, but I'll offer it anyway. We don't have your snow problem, it's ice instead. I have a pair of matching spare wheels for the truck, with mounted and balanced tires identical to what's on the vehicle (I consider them "extra SHTF" assemblies, and they are included in the regular tire rotations). Each Dec 1 I re-inflate them to running PSI (they're stored at 5 PSI) install reinforced chains, and leave them covered in the garage. With a 3-ton garage jack under the differential and cordless impact wrench I can swap both rear tires in under 5 minutes, with gloves on. March 15 the chains get removed and hung on the garage wall, whatever spare wheel assemblies result from rotation get deflated to 5 PSI and stored in a cool place away from sunlight.

    It appears you have land area at the bottom of your driveway which might be suitable for a vehicle parking area. One vehicle equipped with chains - an older but reliable "clunker" - could be kept there during the winter and used as a shuttle from the road to the house (a 120 volt electric line to power a block heater might be good to consider). Since it would not see road use, no tags or insurance required. Certainly a PITA to shuffle goods between vehicles, but it might do for the few months each year during which you're currently immobilized.

  4. Jim: We have snow/ice tires on all vehicles and this is the first winter they were insufficient.

    Nosmo: That's what we are doing.

  5. Living in the south, I'm happy that I only have to deal with snow and ice (mostly ice) a few times of the year.

    I've only dealt with snow chains once. It was through work, and we had to make sure the transport vans could drive safely in the bad weather. At least we were able to do this in an enclosed sallyport and it was five of us to do it. I'd have been lost if I had to do it by myself.