Car accessories

Snow Chain Alternatives

Snow chain installation

You can rely on a snow chain for its traction perfect for long journeys and winter driving. Snow chains are also perfect for almost all kinds of vehicles, particularly bigger ones like coaches and trucks. However, after all the snow has been cleared away, getting them off the tires may become a hassle. 

Snow chains may also damage a vehicle when fitted improperly. If you are searching for alternatives for snow chains that are easier to use for driving whatever the weather might be, whether snowy or sunny, the following are some options you can consider.

Spider Spikes

Spider spikes are somewhat different than those devices that cover entire wheels since these are installed in a totally different way. Prior to winter months, you just need to install a tiny piece on both of the drive wheels with the actual product staying in your trunk. Once the time comes that you already need it, all you have to do is lift the traction arms then put these over the tire. You don’t need to use a jack and installation will only take a few seconds.

Clip-On Tire Spikes For Snow | Spikes Spider

The Good

  • Spider spikes are quick and easy to install.
  • Spider spikes are lightweight and anyone will be able to install them.
  • Spider spikes can efficiently go down and up hills.

The Bad

  • The instructions for using spider spikes can be somewhat confusing.
  • Spider spikes don’t look as attractive as other similar products that are meant to help you drive better in ice and snow. 
  • Spider spikes tend to be a bit pricey ranging from $350 and above.

Snow Socks

Snow socks are often mistaken for snow chains when the truth is that these are not composed of chains at all. 

Instead, a snow sock is made up of fabric and therefore, you cannot consider it as tire chain. But, despite that, snow socks offer several benefits compared to regular snow chains.

AutoSocks VS Tire Chains Ice Tested

For starters, it is very simple and easy to place snow socks over tires and most of the time, you can do it in just 5 minutes or so. Snow socks are often made from lightweight, super absorbent, and washable polyolefin fiber. You can also feel more confident using these products compared to a regular snow chain. Snow socks can weigh 2 pounds or less and are available in different sizes. These sizes can fit various types of vehicles.

The Good

  • Snow socks are usually more affordable than snow chains. 
  • Snow socks are quiet so you won’t have to endure lots of noise while driving. It means that you and all your passengers can enjoy a comfortable and quiet ride. 
  • Snow socks don’t damage the roads since these are fabric-made.
  • Snow socks will only take up a very small space in the trunk of your vehicle. 

The Bad

  • You might have a hard time determining if snow socks are legal in your place, especially if snow chains are prohibited. 
  • Snow socks are only meant for temporary use. 
  • Snow socks are only meant for speeds of 25 mph or less.
  • Snow socks are more at risk of wear and tear compared to regular snow chains. 

Tire Wraps

Tire wraps are almost the same with snow socks although there are times when they look a bit different. The difference is that instead of being completely made of fabric, these tire wraps resemble fishnet stockings. Tire wraps are slipped on top of the tire starting from the front. These cover the hubcap and tread area and offer several benefits and drawbacks. 

The Good

  • Tire wraps are considered legal in all of the 50 states. 
  • Tire wraps are quite light. 
  • Tire wraps can be installed simply and quickly.

The Bad

  • Depending on the outdoor conditions, tire wraps don’t really last for a long time. 
  • Tire wraps can wear out fast when driven across dry roads. 
  • Tire wraps should be used according to the specific instructions or else, they will never work properly.

It may seem like tire wraps will not work but they actually do and in fact, they can work quite well. These often cost about $75 for one set of four, a price that is quite reasonable and are true lifesavers during snowy conditions. 

Tire Straps

Tire straps are a step head from the mesh-made tire wraps. These are very easy to install and you can often do it in just one minute for each tire. Usually called non-metallic or plastic snow chain, here are some of the pros and cons of tire straps. 

The Good

  • Tire straps are made for commercial and regular vehicles alike.
  • Tire straps are very quiet. 
  • Tire straps could be driven even on dry roads for a bit with no damages, usually up to 200 miles. 
  • Tire straps provide great grip on ice and snow. 

The Bad

  • There are people who claim that it took them a long time to put tire straps on their tires. 
  • There are some claims that tire straps were actually louder than what they expected these to be.
  • Tire straps can make the vehicle vibrate sometimes. 

Snow Tires vs. Snow Chains 


Many people use Withcar chains during wintertime every time they drive on ice and snow. They offer the required traction, making it easier to get through serious challenges. They tend to be expensive and some states consider these illegal. It is because they can damage roads if the snow and ice are not that thick, particularly when you drive them by accident over dry roads. 

Installed snow chains
Snow chains improve traction in snow and ice

Non-studded Snow Tires

Non-studded snow tires offer excellent traction in all icy and snowy conditions. You can also drive them over dry roads and they don’t cause damages even on dry roads. However, they are quite expensive for most people and they require professional installation and removal. These also don’t work that well when the snow is deep and they wear out fast when driven on dry roads.

Studded Snow Tires

Studded snow tires often feature studs that can be made of rubber or metal and these studs can be installed on tires, which depend on the specific brand that you own. But, these are not legal in many states so you have to know your local laws before using these.