Automatic Chains

Topic 26829 | Page 1

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Lonny S.'s Comment
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Looking for some opinions on the auto chains. Are they worth the investment? How long do they last? Good for every state? ETC...ETC Thanks

Rick S.'s Comment
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According to one of the manufacturers - Insta Chain, they are 50 state legal.

I'm assuming you OWN your own truck - otherwise, it's a STEEP INVESTMENT. Especially with some states multiple axle requirements.

You are not likely to get much in the way of "opinions" here - most members are COMPANY DRIVERS. Companies aren't going to invest the kind of $$ for these systems. They will issue (sell) their employees a chainset for the laws that require them to at least BE PRESENT ON THE TRUCK (like Colorado). But most companies have a policy that if you have to "throw iron" - PARK THE TRUCK.

You will likely only run into a few members here that have actually thrown chains - and only to get to a safe harbor when the road conditions get SO BAD, that the only way to get there is to chain up.

Folks that have to go over Donner might chain just to get over the hump (versus waiting or going way out of route to get past) - but 99% of the folks here will park, rather than chain.

As far as the systems themselves - check the link I posted. You can replace the chains on the assembly relatively easy, and it's (obviously) suggested that you carry some replacement chains with you. Dependant on how often you actually have to use them - they typically last a season. I know one guy that has them on his rig (O/O) who (like others here) only uses them to get through a sticky situation and not on a regular (just keep on trucking regardless of conditions) basis. He inspects them prior to season, and replaces the individual chains that look worn enough.

Keep in mind - there's a lot more MOVING PARTS that can break in these systems, adding complexity and COST, over just regular chain-ups.


Pete B.'s Comment
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Unless you plan on running in snow country all of the time, such as having a local job or dedicated account where you are driving in and out of the snow throughout the week all winter long, the automatic chains will be a waste of money. I haven't chained up much; once before I had to cross a mountain pass, another time on a mountain pass, and once to be able to navigate a miles-long access road to a site in the middle-of-nowhere... each time I got faster and better at it, to where now it really wouldn't slow me down that much. You are speaking of the device that automatically feeds the chains over the tires, correct?

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

It would cost you less to pay the locals to install the tire chains for you at $20 per tire (the going rate at Donner). Auto Sox are easier than normal chains and expensive ($250 and up for a pair of tires), but that's nothing compared to the thing you're wondering about.

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