With loops welded in place on the rim, installing tire chains and removing them again is easy.
Photo by MOTHER EARTH NEWS Staff
Since I find installing tire chains a pain, I devised a quickie set of grippers that I can install or remove in less than a minute as winter driving conditions change. Best of all, they are small enough to fit in an ammunitions box in my trunk or on the floorboard. However, I want to caution readers that, although traction is good with my homemade versions, they don't have all the gripping power of a regular set of snow chains, and therefore don't have as much braking power. This should be considered if you expect to encounter steep grades. For normal terrain, however, my quickies will get you there and back reliably.
To make them, take a couple spare tire rims and grind away all the paint in the areas where the links are to be attached. Then weld eight 3/8" single chain links at equal distances from one another on the inside and outside of the rims. Take care not to inhale the fumes while welding, because the cadmium plating of the galvanized chain is highly toxic. Then, when you're finished, chip the slag, and prime and paint the rims as you see fit.
Next, install a good set of snow tires, have them balanced, cut lengths of 1/4" chain, install snap links to connect them to the rims, and you're ready to face Old Man Winter's variable moods. To extend the life of your chains, drop the tire pressure a few pounds to reduce the slapping of the metal on pavement.