By: Rodney M.,
I am a new owner op and I am responsible for purchasing chains for my truck tires for the winter months. Do you know where I can find them at a low cost and still get the quality and safety I will need? Thank you
Response from Vicki:
Owner operators (as opposed to true independents) generally drive for a trucking company. In so doing, they drive their own trucks but pull trailers owned by their companies. We hazard a guess that this is your situation.
For that reason, and also because the freight you haul is not your own, it would be wise to make your first inquiry about where to buy chains from the company for whom you work. When you ask about this, you might also ask if you can buy snow chains through the company at the same discount that they purchase theirs for in bulk. They may pass along the discount to you, they may not. (If they “make money” from you by selling snow chains to you at the non-discounted price when they got a discount, we’d be interested to know.)
If they will not sell chains to you or tell you through which company they got snow chains, we suggest next contacting another owner-operator trucking company that carries snow chains to find out where they buy theirs.
If you can’t get info from there, we suggest talking with other owner-operators who run through snow chain states to find out where they get theirs. You may also inquire on trucking forums or message boards.
As we have mentioned, one of the companies for whom we drove had us use snow chain “banks” — from which the company would rent chains — where we would pick up chains on one side of a range and turn them in on the other. (This is not always foolproof as once we ran north and west of a snow chain bank and probably should have had them on the truck when we didn’t.)
The company that had the snow chain bank policy said, yes, you have to “carry” the chains, but don’t ever put them on our trucks. If the weather is so bad that you have to “chain up,” park the truck. If memory serves us correctly, we had to “shut down” three times that winter because of weather. The lesson from this is: find out from your company what their official chaining policy is.
If your company says that it is “your decision” as to whether or not to shut down rather than “chain up,” ask for a preference. In our opinion, it is always best to err on the side of caution.
Please also be sure to make the distinction between snow chains and snow cables. There is a difference.
When you learn which good quality chains at a good price to get, please pass that information along to us. We would be interested in having it for our other readers to know.
Finally, there may be one of our readers who has been through this who can comment authoritatively, so we ask for their comments below.
Thanks again. We wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.