Snow Chains


There are several different kinds of snow chains the two main types are ladder pattern and diamond pattern.

ladder chainLadder

Ladder pattern are the most common due to price, usually half the cost of diamond ( unless you buy a cheap or thin chain ) However traction is also less

diamond chainsDiamond

Diamond pattern are criss-crossed and will generally provide

more traction starting, stopping and cornering than products whose cross members are parallel to each other
tyre treadTraction

Snow tracks are the easiest way to demonstrate a chain's traction ability.

you can see from the diagram on the far left, ladder-style chains offer the least amount of traction. Chains of this type have the biggest gaps in tire coverage and they are the least effective with ABS systems.

When using a ladder-style product, the vehicle is constantly trying to manage a traction/no traction pattern instead of the continuous traction other devices can provide.

Ladder-style traction products also create the most noise during use. Again, this is because the cross members are not continuous, so every time a cross member makes contact with the road surface there is a thumping sound.

The tracks on the left are the diamond shaped cross member pattern. This product offers more traction than the ladder-style because there is more constant contact with the road surface. This means less confusion to a vehicle's ABS system and a less noticeable cross member thump during use.

What to look for when purchasing chains
Ladder or Diamond?


for short distances and less use the ladder chain offers the best value

Drawbacks - less traction - harder to fit


For superior traction and ease of fitting use diamond pattern chains Drawbacks - cost usually twice the price of ladder chains

Chain thickness

In NSW the conditions that chains are used in varies, you may find your self driving on bitumen for 90 pewrcent of the time that you have your chains fitted. This results in greater wear of the chain and hence lower chain life, if you purchase a thin tyre chain it will wear out sooner, look at the gauge of the chains before you purchase.

Easy to fit

If you will be fitting chains on a regular basis make sure that you get chains that are easy to fit, it's worth the extra price. Try fitting the chain on.

Low Profile Tyres

If you are the owner of a vehicle with low profile tyres or tight fitting guards search out the correct chain size and buy the chains because most hire shops don't carry odd chains that have a low demand.
Put your hand around tyre if you can't get your fingers between tyre and any component you will have to search for a small gauge chain or take the train.

Hire or Buy?

How often will you use chains?    How long will you keep the same car?

Annual Usage Ladder Diamond
2-3 Times
4-6 Times
All seasonl



Chain size is calculated using three of your tyre sizes - Wheel Size, Tyre Width and Series. There are a number of different chain sizes, one size chain can fit over 35 different tyre sizes. Additionally if your rims have been altered from standard the profile of the tyre would also change.

The only guarantee that your chains will fit is to check them at point of purchase or hire

First get your Tyre sizes


this tyre would be 205/65/16

commercial tyres (van, table -top, etc) may only have two numbers ie: 205/16

Tyre sizes
Where can I get Chains?


Fleets Sportsworld Berridale