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Automatic Tire Chains

December 31, 2010 Other 10 Comments
4387  320x240 automatic tire chains onspot 3 Automatic Tire Chains I have seen and heard them on fire trucks and ambulances but never knew what they were for – the chains hanging off the rear axle. What the hell are they for? What are they? Are they there to make extra noise? Is that perhaps where they store their tire chains? It sort of left me baffled…

These are in fact pneumatically operated tire chains. Quite ingenious might I add; a dash-mounted switch activates a pneumatic (a compressor is needed if your truck does not have air brakes) solenoid, which engages a disc that rotates off the tire. That disc has chains attached to it which go under the tire providing instant grip. Watch the video.

Originally invented by a Swedish milk delivery man named Göran Torneback, the idea was later refined and patented by American inventor W.H. Putnam. The automatic tire chains were designed to add low-speed traction on ice and up to six inches of snow. For deeper snow, conventional chains should still be used.

4386  650x500 automatic tire chains onspot 2 Automatic Tire Chains

The instant automatic chains have applications for half-ton trucks or bigger, mostly due to tire size and ground clearance. There are two manufacturers, American Onspot (great for Military or Government) and German RUD. Both work in the same way but probably have different vehicle applications. Onspot units cost $1500 or $1800 if your vehicles needs a compressor. Allow six to eight hours for installation.

I have never heard of this until my friend Mike sent a link to the video. Pretty cool, needless to say I now want to get an half-ton pick up truck (or perhaps the Ford Raptor?) and move to Maine. Since I live near a hospital and a fire station, when an opportunity arises I will ask a fireman or a EMS person for opinion on these tire chains.

Currently there are "10 comments" on this Article:

  1. Brian Driggs says:

    Dude. I had no idea this even existed. Mind == blown.

  2. Vinny Ventura says:

    Where have you guys been?

  3. Brian Driggs says:

    Personally, I’ve been in Phoenix for the last decade. I haven’t needed an ice scraper since 2000. In fact, I recall dousing it in lighter fluid and setting it on fire when I found it. Ah, good times.

  4. Kamil Kaluski says:

    I have not seen this before… I love the simple solution to a complicated problem.

  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PickupTrucks.com. PickupTrucks.com said: RT @CarGuyDad: Ingenious! Automatic tire chains for snow and ice! http://bit.ly/f8I2ex [...]

  6. Scott says:

    Yeah, these are pretty standard around Atlanta. No we don’t get much snow but when we do the Fire Department is good to go. My dad was a truck shop foreman for several years so I’ve seen these for quite a while. As long as you don’t attempt to drive too fast they usually work just fine. Now that I think about it, I’m surprised the guy that owned the place didn’t have them on his Caprice wagon. The shop installed a HUGE turbo on a built engine in the thing. It would FLY…. I got to take it and fill it up and wash it on the weekends!

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  10. john snoddy says:

    i saw a guy on the parkway use to get a tailgater off his but ,when he engaged the system a shower of sparks CAME FROM THE BACK .it was awesome the tailgater backed off

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