How to Make Snow Chains


Snow chains can cost $50 for a set of cheap wire type or hundreds of dollars for a set of commercial vehicle tires. For pennies on the dollar, snow chains can be made at home with a little know-how and a few tools. By making them yourself, you can be assured of their quality and feel safe while driving in a snowstorm.

Things You'll Need

  • 3/8-inch chain
  • Bolt cutter
  • Red grease pencil
  • Arc welder
  • Grinder
  • 2 chain connectors per snow chain
  • Bungee cords (optional)
  • Calculate the amount of chain you will need. Measure the diameter of the tires, and multiply it by 3.14 (pi). Then multiply your answer by two. This is your chain length for one tire. Multiply that by number of tires you want to make chains for.

  • Measure the width of your tires, and multiply this by eight. This the the amount of chain width sections you will need.

  • Add all the measurements together and add a few inches for extra measure.

  • Take your chain length for one tire and cut it in half with bolt cutters. Lay both chain sections parallel to each other on the ground or a work bench.

  • Cut eight chain sections to the width measurement you calculated, using the bolt cutters.

  • Divide your chain-length measurement by eight to space your width chains correctly. Make marks with the grease pencil on the chains and lay cut width pieces in the middle of the two length chains.

  • Cut one side of each chain loop at the end of the width lengths. Spread the cut loop so the joining loop on the length chains can fit inside to connect. Mash the loops back together and put a small weld on each cut loop. Grind the welds smooth.

  • Attach the chain connectors to the chain length ends.

Tips & Warnings

  • Connect two appropriately sized bungee cords per tire to installed chains by stretching across the diameter of the tire. This will ensure your chains will stay tight.
  • Check with local Department of Transportation officials for possible additional requirements.

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  • Photo Credit Road through a white wood image by Denis Pyrlik from
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