At Off-Road Handbook, our unwavering dedication to content quality is evident. Prior to publication, each piece of information undergoes a meticulous editorial process, which not only guarantees accuracy but also elevates the overall user experience.

Do You Need Chains On Off-Road Tires?

A tire chain is a device that attaches to a vehicle’s tires and increases its traction on slippery surfaces. Chains can be helpful in snowy, icy, or muddy conditions when you need more traction than your tires alone can provide. I’ll discuss its importance on a snowy surface. Do you need chains on off-road tires?

The off-road tires require snow chains for better traction on snow pathways. The snow chains perform really well where the standard tires fail to perform due to slippery conditions. In unfavorable conditions, where the road safety requirements cross level 3, installing the snow chains is mandatory.

It is often assumed that snow tires do not require extra features like snow chains due to their better traction and grip capability on the ice and snow-based terrains. But in some cases, a driver needs to slow down their speed for off-roading due to slippery icy roads, and for this purpose, snow chains are the best option.

There are some designated areas on the roadsides on the highway signs where a driver can fit their snow chains. It is advisable to check the snow chains on your tires if required from an area away from traffic and the middle part of a roadway.

Do You Need Chains on Off-Road Tires?

Snow chains are designed specifically to improve the traction of tires for the off-roading condition, including the deep mud and snow area. These tire chains are designed in a unique metal pattern that helps to increase the tread.

You can attach the chains to your tires. In the case of front-wheel drive vehicles, you can fit the snow chains to the front wheel side of your vehicle, and in the case of FWD, tire chains can be installed on all four tires.

In some cases, snow chains can limit the speed of vehicles. People often face hassle in removing and adjusting the chains, but they help get through the rugged terrains of snow and muddy areas.



The snow chains provide benefits in the areas showing slippery conditions, especially in the case of four-wheel drives.

Tires chains lead to hassle during the fitting and untangling and is a tiresome job.

These chains help to improve the traction in the areas where the driving conditions are not favorable such as with FWD.

These tire chains can damage the vehicle if they are not properly fitted and can break the wheel wells.

Good tire chain is an essential part of the vehicle for the case in which you are not aware of the driving conditions.

These tire chains can damage the roadways if they are used too much with the vehicles; so it is not a good option to use them in towns and cities.

Snow Tires and Tire Chains: 

The roads become slippery and low in traction in the winter season, and it becomes a challenging experience for even seasoned drivers. The driving experience with no chains and incorrect tires worsens the situation. There are many options available that can improve your wheel traction along with snow chains, including:

  • Studded and stud-less snow tires
  • Snow chains
  • Snow socks

The snow tires with chains are further divided into two categories:

  • Stud-less tires
  • Lightweight studded tires

Stud-Less Tires:

These tires have a different yet straightforward tread pattern with a rubber compound. It provides extra traction on the roads of snowy areas.

Light-Weight Studded Tires:

The lightweight studded tires equip with metal studs into their tires. It helps them achieve excellent traction on slippery snow and ice-based surfaces. These tires cause damage on the roadways when a person dives them on dry roads.

Application of Snow Chains On Off-Road Tires:

Snow chains or snow tire chains are metal chains having a specific pattern that is fitted on the wheels. These tire chains are provided on the wheels that propel the vehicle. If you own a 2WD vehicle in which the front wheels move the vehicle, you can fit the chains on the front wheels.

If you own a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, you can fit the snow chains on the rear wheels. The snow chains help improve the tire’s traction and offer an excellent level of traction in the deep snow and ice. One of the disadvantages is that you can only fit the snow chains when it is snowing and cannot fit them at all the winter long.

Features of Snow Chains:

If you are buying snow chains, make sure to look for the following features in them:

  • Have a look at the material of the snow chains and prefer the ones that allow heavy-duty and are not made from cheap materials.
  • Go for the chains having square links forming across chains. This kind of chain allows more excellent traction in snow and ice. The alloy snow chain also improves the braking in ice and snow.
  • Avoid purchasing the snow chains with significant links as they offer rough rides on snow.
  • Go for the small chains and link quickly with one another as they offer a smooth ride.
  • The diamond-pattern snow chains offer a comfortable ride with more wheel coverage, but they have a demerit that produces large noise on roads.
  • Make sure to purchase the snow chains that offer manual installation with assistance and integrated tensions. These things are necessary elements and are difficult to fit if you purchase an incorrect size for your wheels.

Snow Socks:

Snow socks are a new product introduced in the market dealing with vehicles. They consist of a textile covering and are fitted over the tires. Snow socks are ideal for vehicles having large tires and offer minimum clearance. The vehicle’s speed is also limited to 30mph with snow socks.

Types of Snow Chains for 4WD:

There are many different tire chains readily available for vehicles and tires of all sizes. The top three tire chain patterns are:

  1. Diamond shape snow chain
  2. Ladder shape snow chain
  3. Square pattern snow chain

It is better to thoroughly understand the nature of your vehicle and then select the snow chains for your 4WD. It is better to consult your owner’s manual or follow the recommendations of your manufacturer to avoid any hustle.

Select the appropriate and suitable snow chain for your wheel clearance and get one according to the proper size of your tire. Go for the snow chains that are assisted with tensioning as such chains are easy to install.

The selection of tire chains in the case of 4WD is largely dependent if your plan to use them for off-roading in snowy conditions. The wide tires have difficulty achieving the state of traction in snow, so select the snow chains that are best for your tires.
It is recommended to consult your manufacturer or owner's manual if your truck is large with wheels bigger than 20 inches. Sometimes, tire chains do not fit easily on the large wheels, so it is better to consult the manufacturer.

If your tire chains are not fitting, you can use the class C chain that is slimmer in design and is perfect for large wheels. They are best for those who require minimum wheel clearance. Make sure to test the tire chains in snowy conditions to avoid any cause of damage to the vehicle.

Snow Chain Vs. Safety Requirements:

There are different types of snow chain requirements that hold other laws all around the states in the world. These requirements are broken down into three different kinds of levels:

Level 1 Safety Requirement:

At level 1, the snow tires, snow chains, or other traction devices need to be fixed on the axles of all motors. The all-wheel and four-wheeled drives are excluded from this as they are already equipped with ones.

Level 2 Safety Requirement:

At level 2, all vehicles require chains for better tractions. The four-wheel and all-wheel drives with snow tread tires are excluded from this category.

Level 3 Safety Requirement:

At level 3, all kinds of vehicles require chains for better traction. No vehicle is excluded from this category.

Best Tire Chains for Off-Roading:

1. Terra-Grips Chains:

Terra-grip tire chains are among the best items in the market, having excellent features. These tire chains can modify themselves into different styles and can be combined with your favorite vehicles.

These tire chains can be used in the places like ice, mud, gravel, grass, and asphalt. Although they are low-budget and steel-based tire chains, terra-grips chains are composed of multi-ply rubber. These tire chains are best for the steep slopes and do not slip easily. The addition of ply-rubber provides a more quality grip.

These tire chains provide excellent traction that helps to navigate off-road places and can be used to drive in the snow and plowing areas. These tire chains are easy to install and do not damage the wheel tires.


  • These tire chains can be adjusted in any condition, including mud, snow, gravel, grass, and asphalt.
  • These tire chains provide an advanced level of traction on the off-roading surfaces.
  • These tire chains offer extra protection and are easy to install.
  • These tire chains are made up of good-quality rubber.



These tire chains are the most secure category of tire chains that can be used on snow and mud.

These tire chains are somehow expensive as compared to other brands due to their excellent features.

These tire chains are of the best quality and are economical

These tire chains offer extra features with good traction.

2. Tire-Chain:

One of the famous brands in terms of chains for an off-roading vehicle is The tire chains by this brand are of a square type and offer more durability.

These chains provide excellent traction between these heavy chains and the off-road surface. A person can easily drive the vehicle with metal chains on the off-roading surface and slippery surfaces. The coating of zinc on these tire chains makes them stronger.



These tire chains hold an exceptional design.

These tire chains are heavy in weight.

These tire chains are made up of heavy metal And offer good traction on off-road surfaces.

3. Anti-skidding Cable Tires:

These anti-skidding and car adjustable cable tires are considered a unique model for snow chains as they are made up of some other material. These snow chains are composed of nylon injected mold, which makes them durable and robust chains.

These tire chains do not cause any damage to the tires and can be used safely on off-roading surfaces. These tire chains are easy to install and can increase the depth of anti-skidding grooves in nature. These tires are known to improve the efficiency of the tires on snow and other surfaces and help to maintain the grip of the tire automatically.


  • These anti-skidding chains are made of nylon material that helps attain maximum grip.
  • These tire chains are non-slippery and have a unique pattern and design.
  • These tire chains can be driven to over 35 mph and are anti-skid snow chains.



These tire chains are made of nylon material that provides them a hard grip

There are no special cons associated with them

These tire chains offer excellent features and an exclusive design

Also Read:

Top 5 Ways to Damage Your Car while Off-Roading and Recovery

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Does 4WD require chains?

Yes, a 4WD vehicle also needs a chain for working at a particular time. If you want to enter the chain control area, you must have a set of chains for your drive axle and vehicle.

Do snow chains perform well on dirt roads?

Snow chains perform well and are beneficial for driving on mud roads. The driving scene in mud and snow is almost the same, and many snow chains are helpful. The same traction provided on terrains other than mud is not possible on mud terrains.

Which type of tires can hold chains on 4WD?

On the 4WD, the chains are used on the rear wheels. Chains can be installed on the front wheels of FWD too.

Is it necessary to have chains with all-wheel drives?

It is required to have chains on all vehicles except 4WD having snow-tread tires. FWD should have traction devices in their chain control areas.

What is the average cost of chains for tires?

The average price falls between $40 and $100 for tire chains. Self-centered chains having auto-tension are a bit more expensive. Due to their enormous size, SUVs and pickup trucks have pricier and more costly tire chains.

Is it necessary to have snow chains with your mud tires?

It is an excellent option to add chains to your mud tires to provide maximum traction. For control, chains are required on the mud and snow tires, especially on the mountain highways.

Can a person use snow chains on mud?

It is a good option for 4WD to add chains, especially in the slippery mud conditions. It will help to gain a fantastic drive to FWD.

Does the snow socks work well in mud condition?

Snow socks work well on the wet grass. But after getting intact with the mud, these snow socks become useless.

Do chains are fitted on the front or backside of the AWD?

The chains go on the front tires on the AWD and FWD. It helps to boost the traction during steering. It is recommended to double-check the manual provided by the owner as they are better aware of the car.

When should a person use the snow chains?

 It is recommended to use snow chains when:

  • There is a whole layer of compacted snow or ice
  • You are fully confident about taking chains on and off
  • You own the right pair of chains according to your wheel size

Do all-weather tires known as snow tires?

All-weather tires are not known as snow tires in all cases as they are not designed for deep snow, ice, and cold weather conditions. Snow tires are designed only for prolonged winter conditions like snow, ice, and slush.

Do the chains adjusted with the tires ruin their working and structure?

The chains on the tires can cause damage to both the tires and the road. It is recommended to drive the tires with chains in freezing conditions carefully.