How Much Do Tire Chains Cost? (7 Options Compared)

By
Updated December 2, 2022

Welcome to my guide on purchasing tire chains. These are just some of the things in this guide you’ll learn:

  • When you should get tire chains
  • Where you should go to buy tire chains
  • How to save money on tire chains
  • And much more!

Let’s get into it!

how much do tire chains cost

Table of Contents

How Much Do Tire Chains Cost On Average?

The price of tire chains can vary significantly, from one type of product to the next. Not all tire chains are created equally, just as no two sets of tire chains retail for the exact same price. Generally speaking, most standard-duty car tire chains cost approximately a third less than heavier light truck tire chains. Therefore, vehicle type certainly matters in terms of the overall cost.

Likewise, the price of tire chains also varies based upon the type of ratchet, tensioner, tightener, or adjuster that is used by a particular product. For instance, one can expect to pay more for self-tightening chains, than those that are manually adjusted.

There are also a number of hybrid-style products that prove to be more tire/vehicle friendly, even if they are not as aggressive in terms of tire traction. Some of the most notable of these products include snow socks, such as Autosocks, and non-traditional cable chains. Again, these products are offered at a wide range of prices.

What are the costs of labor?


Labor costs are of little issue for those that intend to install their own tire chains. However, if you do not feel comfortable installing your tire chains, or would simply rather pay to have your chains installed without contending with the frigid cold, then the associated labor costs are certainly worth considering.

Luckily, most automotive shops and service centers will install customer provided tire chains for only a minimal fee. In most cases, consumers can expect to pay between $25-$50 to have their tire chains installed, while removal typically costs more in the ballpark of $10-$30.

This is where it is important to consider the added value of purchasing easy-to-install tire chains of a self-adjusting nature. While these products might cost more initially, they will likely save money in the long run, over the cost of repeated installation/removal.

What are the costs of parts?

As stated above, the cost of tire chains varies based upon the type of product that you wish to purchase. However, the cost associated with the bulk of these products can generally be lumped into a basic range.

On average, one can expect to pay between $30-$120 for a set of tire chains. Economy tire chains of a lesser to moderate quality account for the lower end of this price spectrum, while heavy-duty chains of a multi-faceted construction tend to fall toward the top tier of this price range. This is especially true of those products that are self adjusting or ratcheting in nature.

Though the specific price range mentioned above covers a rather large sample size of all tire chains currently on the market, there are a number of outliers that exceed this range in total cost. A motorist can opt for highly specialized tire chains, that offer hassle-free installation, yet cost excessively more than the market average, retailing for as much as $200-$300.

When tallying up the cost of an impending tire chain purchase, it also pays to factor in the exact number of chains that will be required. Most FWD and RWD vehicles only require a pair of chains, to encompass the tires of the vehicle’s drive axle. However, to gain the full range of benefits from 4-wheel drive use, a total of 4 chains will be required.

When Should You Get Tire Chains?

It is best to locate a set of tire chains for purchase, prior to the onset of winter weather. This ensures that you are prepared for inclement weather, and prevents being caught off guard. Furthermore, it can be difficult to locate a high-quality set of snow chains in the midst of a winter storm, as many retailers will quickly run out of available stock.

It is important to mention that you should have a bit of basic information on hand, before attempting to purchase a set of tire chains. Specialty traction devices, such as tire chains, come in a number of different sizes, to accommodate the numerous tire sizes associated with passenger cars, vans, SUVs, and light trucks.

For this reason, it is important to have your vehicle’s tire size written down in advance. It is also important to consider the amount of clearance present between your vehicle’s tires and wheel wells. While this is less of an issue for the standard pickup truck or SUV, passenger vehicles and small sedans often feature limited clearances, requiring low-profile chains.

Aside from purchasing your tire chains in a timely manner, you must also properly time their installation. After all, a set of tire chains do little good setting in your garage floor, as snow begins to fall and road conditions rapidly deteriorate.

Ideally, a set of tire chains should be installed no sooner than just prior to driving on a fresh layer of snow. Tire chains cannot be used during the entirety of the winter season, as winter tires traditionally are. This is due to the fact that tire chains are not intended for use on dry pavement.

The chain link construction of automotive snow tire chains can quickly eat away at a tire’s tread, as well as the paved surface of the road itself. Additionally, the use of this type will lead to the rapid deterioration of even the most heavy-duty of all chains.

How Much Do Tire Chains Cost At The Dealer Vs Other Places?

Tire chains can be purchased from a wide range of sources, including brick and mortar retail outlets and internet suppliers. However, unlike many automotive accessories, tire chains are not readily offered through new car dealerships. This is due to the fact that most manufacturers now advise against the use of tire chains, in a bid to avoid additional warranty claims.

Under certain circumstances, a dealership can order aftermarket tire chains through one or more of their supply channels. Nonetheless, most chains of this nature will be quite steep in cost, and will most likely incur significant markup over traditional retail. For this reason, consumers can expect to pay between $150-$300 for a set of dealer-ordered tire chains.

Luckily, motorists have a number of additional options at their disposal, when sourcing tire chains for potential purchase. This makes it relatively simple to shop around, in a bid to make the most cost effective buying decision possible. The following are several of the most noteworthy sources to consider when attempting to purchase a set of snow chains.

Tire Chains Cost At Discount Tire

True to form, Discount Tire offers almost any tire-related accessory imaginable, including tire chains. According to the company’s website, Discount Tire currently offers Peerless tire chains, ranging in price from $44-$238, with the vast majority of such products selling for $70-$99. Discount Tire also states that they offer chains to feature virtually every model of vehicle.

Tire Chains Cost At Home Depot

Though many view Home Depot as their destination of choice for hardware, the retail giant also offers a moderate-sized selection of tire chains. These chains are offered at a price range of $163-$190. However, those driving vehicle’s featuring tires of a less than standard size are likely best to search elsewhere.

Tire Chains Cost At Autozone

Autozone offers one of the most comprehensive lineups of automotive tire chains found anywhere. The vast majority of these products are economically-priced, and retail for approximately $50-$150. However, it is worth mentioning that Autozone seldom keeps each of these models in stock, making it extremely important to call ahead, well in advance of winter.

Tire Chains Cost At O’Reilly’s Auto Parts

Like Autozone, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts offers a wide array of tire chains, for almost every vehice model imaginable. The majority of these products are also priced modestly, in comparison to other retailers. The average cost of these chains generally falls into a range of $45-$140. However, advance planning is of the essence when making a seasonal purchase through O’Reilly’s.

Tire Chains Cost At NAPA

Napa has garnered quite a reputation as the parts house of choice for professionals over the past several decades. For this reason, it is no surprise that the company offers a number of individual tire chains for purchase, both online and at its numerous retail locations. The bulk of these offerings falls into an average price range of $100-$200, though some are considerably more expensive.

Tire Chains Cost At Tractor Supply Company

Though most associate Tractor Supply Company with power tools and farm equipment, the retailer also offers a variety of tire chains for sale. Most of these individual products are priced rather conservatively, providing yet another option for consumers in search of tire chains for occasional use. However, the retailer’s stock of specialty and severe service chains is limited.

Tire Chains Cost At Walmart

As it turns out, the nation’s biggest grocery chain is also a prime retail destination for all of your tire/snow chain needs. Walmart offers a near-endless number of tire chains, and tire chain related-products. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that these products are offered at rock-bottom prices, with the majority of the retailer’s tire chains costing $100 or less.

Where Should You Go For Tire Chains To Get The Best Price?

If you are currently searching for the best price on tire chains, there is little disputing the fact that Walmart is your best option. The retail giant offers quality tire chains at a phenomenal price, largely due to the fact that they are able to purchase such products in bulk, due to the immense size of their corporation. 

Walmart offers Konig, Peerless Security Chain Company, and Auto-Trac brand tire chains, as well as products offered by a number of additional manufacturers. From cable tire chains to heavy-duty SAE-class traction chain assemblies, Walmart offers a little something for every consumer. The company even markets several ATV and off-road specific products.

Additionally, Walmart has been known to run a number of deals from time to time, or offer discounts at checkout when purchasing from Walmart.com. If taken advantage of, this further negates the cost of purchasing a set of quality tire chains for your vehicle.

Autozone also is deserving of an honorable mention in this category, as the retailer offers some industrial grade and specialty chains, at a remarkably reserved price point. If you are seeking out a specialty tire chain that is not easily located by other means, then Autozone should serve as your next stop. 

In a certain sense, Autozone is also a better bet when attempting to locate high-end or premium grade tire chains, without having to empty your savings account. While Walmart is perhaps the most economical route, Autozone potentially offers a greater degree of value for the dollar. This is something worth keeping in mind for consumers living in snow-rich northern climates.

How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off When Buying Tire Chains?

When buying tire chains, it is important to consider only those that are of quality construction. The best snow chains are often those that are constructed of hearty materials, such as titanium, manganese, or alloy steel. On the other end of the spectrum are economy chains, which tend to be forged out of hardened steel.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that the cheapest route will suffice to meet every need when purchasing snow chains, simply due to the fact that gear of this type will be used on a limited basis. While well-intended, this approach often amounts to little more than wasted money.

You must consider the consequences associated with skimping on quality when purchasing tire chains. Since these devices fasten to your tires and revolve at speed while driving, they can cause significant damage to your vehicle in the event of a failure. For this reason, I personally spring for the best tire chains that I can locate, within my budget. 

It is also of value to consider the effective warranty associated with any tire chains that you are considering the purchase of. Even the best tire chains are of little value, if not supported by their manufacturer. I would suggest only purchasing tire chains from a reputable manufacturer that offers a clear and concise warranty policy.

How To Save Money On Tire Chains?

In many cases, money can be saved when buying tire chains, simply by making your purchase during the spring of the year. Most retailers liquidate seasonal stock during the offseason, in order to free up space within their warehouses and to create liquid capital for further investment in more seasonally-focused products.

This, in turn, can present quite the bargain for far-sighted consumers, potentially saving you a few dollars for your efforts. While car tire/truck tire chains might be the last thing on your mind during the spring thaw, your wallet will thank you for this level of forward thinking.

Additionally, coupons can often be found for the purchase of tire chains, if you know where to look. Many retailers offer discounts of this type on tire chains and other products intent on enhancing safety during winter driving, in the late fall. For this reason, it literally pays to keep your eyes open for early-season deals of this nature.

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About The Author

Josh Boyd

Josh Boyd

With 6 ASE Certifications between the passenger car/light truck and medium/heavy truck test series, Josh has 10+ years of experience working with cars and trucks.

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