Tire Chains and Tire Chain Alternatives: Which Is Right For You?

October 26, 2020

No matter what type of vehicle you operate, winterizing your vehicle is a best practice. As colder weather approaches, checking fluid levels, tire treads, and the condition of wiper blades are often on drivers’ lists of things to do. It’s also never too early in the season to evaluate your traction equipment—and ensure you’ve got the right stuff on hand before you get caught on the highway in blizzard conditions. 

But with so many options available, it can be hard to determine which is right for you. Snow tires and tire chains are both viable choices. In this article, we’ll cover the strengths and weaknesses of each and introduce you to one product in particular that represents the best of many of the options combined.

Snow Tires

Snow tires come in both studded and non-studded styles. Non-studded styles can simply be installed on your vehicle and driven throughout the season—they can be driven on dry roads in addition to in snowy and icy conditions and there is no extra equipment to put on. These tires, however, can be pricey and tend to wear out quickly if driven a lot in dry road conditions. They also don’t offer as much traction in deep snow or heavy ice.

Studded tires can come equipped with built in rubber studs or can be fitted with metal studs to assist in gripping snowy or icy road surfaces. Not all states allow this type of tire, so be sure to check your state’s guidelines. Studded tires offer better traction than those without studs, but can require additional installation and are often fairly costly.

Tire Chains

Tire chains are a traditional and popular choice, and for good reason. Even if roads are tightly packed with snow or ice, tire chains will give your vehicle excellent traction. They are more affordable than snow tires and can be simply removed when road conditions improve. 

If you’re looking for tire chains, Laclede can help! We have a wide variety of traction chains in stock to keep you safe on the roads during the winter season. Use our website to browse our selection of traction chain by tire size or vehicle type.

Alpha Trax: The Best of Both Worlds

When deciding which traction product to use, ease of use and effectiveness are often at the forefront of drivers’ minds. Non-studded snow tires may not offer enough traction; studded snow tires aren’t always an option depending on state guidelines; and tire chains can be heavy to transport and take time to install. 

Our engineering team decided that you shouldn’t have to compromise. They got to work creating a product that combines ease of use with superior traction performance: Alpha Trax

Alpha Trax is a traction product that uses a heavy-duty thermoplastic polyurethane rubber embedded with alloys steel studs to provide enhanced grip on even the slickest surfaces. Alpha Trax weighs about 50-75% less than link-style chain, and, unlike many traction products, can be installed without moving your vehicle. Alpha Trax meets the requirements for use in all states with tire chain laws and its sleek design meets SAE Class S restricted wheel well clearances common in passenger vehicles and light trucks. Finally, Alpha Trax is built tough and lasts up to five times longer than link or cable chain. 

Safety Is Always Number One

No matter which traction product you use for winter weather, proper installation is key to safety and effectiveness. Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s guidelines when equipping your vehicle or seek the help of a professional. Our website includes a library of helpful videos that demonstrates how to install many of Laclede’s traction products.

Our team of experts is always available to answer your questions about staying safe on the roads during winter conditions. For help with our products, please contact us directly using our online Find Your rep tool or by phone at (888) 488-2219.