What is automatic tire chain system? How do automatic tire chains work?

The automatic tire chain system has proven itself a savior in instances of reducing traction, is no news of how distasteful it gets when tires lose their grip on the road. You know, reduced vehicle traction can mean everything from, missed deadlines to a high risk of accidents. This has been a problem for years until the advent of the tire chain system. The introduction of the tire chains has given room for easy movement on snow and areas of less traction, it helped defy the problems posed by bad road conditions. The effective manually installed tire chains were the first invention. They were perfect for the job but lacked ease in their method of installation.

What is automatic tire chain system

What is an automatic tire chain system?

It required users to get out of their vehicles to handle the frozen heavy chains, getting wet and cold in the process. Ease was not considered a high priority in the conditions of installation. Then an upgrade came to the system; The automatic counterpart to the manual tire chains. Automatic tire chains were introduced and were able to address the inadequacies of the manual tire chains.  The automatic tire chains are activated by the driver from a dashboard switch inside the vehicle. Just flip the switch and the chains come into operation or back to neutral.

No stress of having to stop the vehicle and step out into the cold. The automatic tire chain system was birthed from decades of research and development on how to increase traction on icy and slippery roads for varieties of vehicles.

It should be noted that the automatic chain system is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Different parts are coupled together to fit a particular vehicle so as to offer optimal fit and operation. To get your correct fit, you would be required to measure your vehicle.

Different types of automatic tire chains

The chains are available in a variety of carbon steel and steel alloys and they vary in link shapes. The varieties of link shapes include standard, twisted, square, and reinforced.

The types of automatic tire chains are the Spikes-Spider and the FlexTrax. The Spikes-Spider mounts onto the tires from one side while the FlexTrax adopts a ratcheting system for easier installation.

How do automatic tire chains work

An automatic tire chain is a wheel-fitted tool with several chains. It operates when lowered and held towards the driving wheels. The chains are placed under the driving wheels to increase traction when the chain wheel rotates.

Instead of having to manually install snow chains around a tire when it is needed, the user just flips a switch inside the vehicle, and alas!! This is done to activate a solenoid, this solenoid then positions the chain wheel in such a position as to contact the truck tires. When the contact has been established, the chain wheel rotates while the truck is moving and this results in a fling action of the chains. The chains falter under the tires and the effect is increased traction. The automatic tire chains operate under the principle of simplicity and ease, it is conveniently engaged and disengaged by flipping a switch on the dashboard. It is trouble-free and comes in handy in slippery road conditions.

Drivers with these devices should always make sure to ensure that the chains are in good condition before they need them. Run regular checks to make sure that all of the chains are in good condition and are sufficiently long enough to position themselves under the tires when needed. Also, do a test on the activation switch to make sure that all of the solenoids work and that the devices come in contact with the inside tire. Automatic Tire chains require maintenance, Stick strictly to the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.

An automatic tire chain system is used majorly to increase the traction of vehicles. It provides automatic traction control in the event of bad road conditions caused by severe weather conditions.

Best brands and models

  • Onspot Automatic tire chains.

Onspot is a brand of the Automatic Tire Chains system. It has been on top its game since 1977. It has developed and designed one of the most effective systems with outstanding quality and reliability. Onspot manufactures and services in the USA and is available at more than 1,400 dealers throughout the United States and Canada.

  • The Z-chain Automatic tire chains.

The Z-chain product is another really awesome package. It gets a little pricey though, but it has really good features. It provides thorough services; It is able to handle well-deepened snowy roads.

  • Insta-chain Automatic Tire chains.

Traction with instant install chain and fully automatic. Insta-Chain Automatic Tire Chains meet all state’s DOT requirements.

Average prices

Chains are usually sold in pairs and often must be purchased to match a particular tire size. The chains are sold at an average of $2,000 USD.

This system is much more expensive that the best models of manually installed tire chains and cables.

Pros and cons of the automatic tire system


The automated tire chain has different advantages which include: cost, ride smoothness, traction, durability, ease of installation, and recommended travel speed. It provides options of best possible fit, and reliability.


Column contentAutomatic tire chains work fine in light snow and wet ground but the story gets tweaked once you get into the deeper snow and any type of mud. They desist from being efficient. Experts stated that the chains are most times no longer effective once the snow exceeds 4 inches of thickness. In some other cases, there are even experiences of damaged tires from the application of the tire chains. Driving with chains reduces fuel volume, and reduces the speed of the automobile to about a maximum of 50 km/h.

Is an automatic chain system worth it?

If timing is of great importance to the efficiency of your work or delays put your reputation at risk, then an automatic tire chain is the option you need.

It reduces the risk of delays that are owing to bad road conditions and also guarantees the user’s well-being and safety. Imagine not having to leave the safety and warmth of your driver seat just to manually install heavy and wet tire chains.

Some people consider it a mere tool while others consider it a part of the vehicle.

Leave a Reply