How Much Do Chains Cost? – Average Tire Chains Price

Robert Herrera-COR-Wheels

By Robert Herrera

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Winter driving can be treacherous, especially when snow and ice make the roads slippery and dangerous. One way to improve your safety while driving in snowy and icy conditions is by using snow chains on your tires. However, before investing in these chains, it’s important to understand how much chains for tires cost.

Let’s see the different snow chains available and how much you can expect to pay for them. We’ll also provide some tips on choosing the right chains for your vehicle and budget.

How Much Are Tire Chains?

On average, a set of chains can range from $50 to $200. The cost of snow chains can vary depending on the type of chains you need and where you purchase them.

The basic ladder-style chains are typically the most affordable option, while the more advanced chains with features like self-tensioning or diamond patterns can be more expensive.

By Types

Diamond Tire Chain

Diamond Tire Chain

Diamond chains are a hybrid between cable and link chains suitable for small and large vehicles. They consist of small steel rollers and diamond-shaped chain links that provide better traction. The cost of diamond chains ranges from $50 to $150.

Cable Tire Chain

Cable Tire Chain

Cable chains are the most economical type of car chains suitable for compact cars and small SUVs. They are made of steel cables twisted around each other with small steel rollers attached to them. You can expect to pay from $30 to $100.

Alternative Chain

Alternative tire chains attempt to imitate the effects of chains while not being chains themselves.

Socks: Car socks are made of fabric that wrap around the tire to provide better traction. They are a popular alternative to traditional chains and suitable for small to mid-sized vehicles. These items are priced from $30 to $100.

Alternative Chain
Car socks

Snow Tires: Snow tires are designed with a special tread pattern and rubber compound to provide better traction on snow and ice. They are a more expensive alternative to traditional chains, but they offer better performance in extreme winter conditions. Depending on the brand and size, the price falls between $100 and $200 per tire.

Spikes-Spider: This is a traction device installed over the tire and meant for use on small to large vehicles. It comes with a spider-like frame with metal spikes that dig into the snow or ice to provide better traction. The price of Spikes-Spider spans from $400 to $700.

By Dealers

Different sellers charge differently for their products. Here are the average costs at some of the most common wholesalers.

Discount Tire$44 – $238
Home Depot$163 – $190
Autozone$50 – $150
NAPA$100 – $200
WalmartUnder $100
O’Reilly’s Auto Parts$45 – $140

Factors Influence Tire Chains Price

Tire chains can come with a wide range of prices, depending on several factors. These include tire size, supplier, labor cost, and additional features.

Tire Size

One of the most significant factors affecting tire chain prices is the tire size. Tire chains come in different sizes, each designed to fit specific tire sizes. 

Larger tires require more material, so the tire chain cost will be higher. For example, a tire chain designed for a 16-inch tire will be cheaper than one designed for a 20-inch tire.

Supplier You Choose

The supplier you choose can also significantly impact the price of tire chains. Different suppliers have different pricing structures depending on their business model, overhead costs, and profit margins.

It is essential to do some research to find a supplier that offers quality tire chains at a reasonable price. It is also a good idea to compare prices from different suppliers before purchasing.

Labor Cost

Labor costs can also play a role in determining the price of tire chains. Installing tire chains can be time-consuming and complicated, especially if you have never done it before.

When you choose to have your tire chains installed by a professional, you will need to pay for their labor. Labor costs can vary depending on the location and expertise of the technician. However, when you are confident installing the tire chains yourself, you can save money by doing it on your own.

Additional Features

The price of tire chains can also be affected by additional features, such as the type of material used, the design of the chains, and the level of traction provided. 

High-end tire chains may be made of more durable materials, such as titanium or tungsten, which can increase costs. Some tire chains also have additional features, such as built-in tensioners or anti-scratch nylon bumpers, which can add to the price.

For example, we purchased a set of KÖNIG XG-12 Pro 255 chains last winter. It comes with a micro-adjust system and active balancing and tensioning device, which raises the price to nearly $250, as twice as our old tire chain.

How To Get The Cheapest Deal For Tire Chains

What Is A Tire Chain?

Here are some of my tips that may help you get the best deal for your bucks.

  • Shop around: Check multiple retailers selling tire chains and compare their prices. This can help you find the cheapest deal available.
  • Look for sales: Keep an eye out for sales and discounts that retailers offer on tire chains. This could save you a significant amount of money.
  • Consider used tire chains: You can often find used tire chains for sale online or at auto parts stores. While they may not be as good as new ones, they can be a cheaper alternative.
  • Buy off-season: Try to buy tire chains during off-seasons. We usually get some in summer or early fall, when demand is low. Retailers may offer discounts during these times.
  • Use coupons: Look for coupons or promo codes for tire chains. You can often find them online or in coupon books.
  • Buy in bulk: If you have multiple vehicles that require tire chains, consider buying them in bulk. This can often result in a lower price per unit.
  • Negotiate: Suppose you find a set of tire chains you like, but the price is too high; try negotiating with the retailer. They may be willing to give you a discount to make the sale.

How To Prevent Unwanted Damages When Using Chains

When hauling chains, there is never a guarantee that you won’t damage your wheels or your tires, and there isn’t a way to 100% protect the tires either. Start by always using tire chains while traveling through a lot of snow. 

Avoid using your chains in areas with insufficient snow to cover the ground since road contact can harm both your chains and tires.

Additionally, bear in mind that, in most cases, tire chains aren’t rated for speeds higher than 20 to 30 mph. Heavy-duty chains are available for operating at higher speeds, but in either case, there will be a greater danger of harming your wheels and tires. Always verify that your tire chains fit properly and get the right chain size for the tires.

Purchasing a second pair of affordable yet suitable rims to place winter tires on is a smart move. This allows you to protect your attractive, shining wheels while letting your reasonable but acceptable rims take the brunt of the abuse.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Chains Damage Tires?

Using chains on your tires can potentially cause damage to your tires if they are not installed or used correctly. If the chains are too tight, they can cause wear and tear on your tire treads by rubbing against the tire and removing the rubber. However, if you use chains properly and take the necessary precautions, they should not cause any damage to your tires.

Normal Tear and Wear
Normal Tear and Wear

Do I Need 1 Or 2 Pairs Of Chains?

Usually, you don’t need two tire chain sets. One is sufficient for many typical winter driving situations to give the necessary traction. Two sets, however, can be helpful if you plan to perform off-roading or travel in snowy or icy conditions.

Do I Need 2 Or 4 Chains?

In order to legally travel in mountainous locations, just one axle must be equipped with snow chains. Some prefer to have 4 chains when operating a 4 x 4, though. The use of two sets of chains has many advantages, even though one set will usually be sufficient for traction in most circumstances.

Do I Need To Put Chains On All 4 Tires?

It is advisable to place tire chains on all of your tires. You can maintain the best balance while remaining on the road if all four tires have tire chains. Due to imbalance, issues could arise when the fetter is only put on one tire.

Are Snow Chains Worth It?

Snow chains can be worth it for those living in areas with heavy snowfall or for those who frequently travel to places with snowy or icy conditions. Snow chains provide improved traction on snow and ice-covered roads, greatly increasing your safety and reducing the risk of accidents.

The Bottom Line

While the cost of snow chains can vary depending on several factors, it is important to keep in mind that they are an investment in your safety while driving in winter conditions.

Not having the proper traction on snowy or icy roads can result in accidents, damage to your vehicle, and even injury. Investing in high-quality chains compatible with your car can significantly reduce the risk of incidents.

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Robert Herrera

President & Automotive Expert at COR Wheels

Robert Herrera has been with COR Wheels for 17 years and has a great passion for the automotive industry. During his time at COR Wheels, he has driven and test-driven a variety of vehicles.

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