LAST UPDATED: February 24, 2020
Best Tire Traction Mats: Add Additional Tire Traction To Your Vehicle
Give your tires the traction they need to get unstuck from mud, snow, or sand
The Review Team
How We Decided
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
PUBLISHED ON February 24, 2020
Tire traction mats are a must-have safety item for any off-road driver or for driving on slippery surfaces during inclement weather. it could also come in handy if you get stuck due to overloading your vehicle. Your vehicle’s tires may not be able to tear through mud, snow, sand, ice, or grass despite having the most aggressive treads. You would have to increase their grip on the surface, which you can do with one of these traction mats on the market.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Tire Traction Mats
- Versatile. Tire traction mats provide emergency traction for your vehicle's tires in sand, mud, snow, and ice. They are ideal for all vehicles with all-season tires, summer tires, and winter tires. They help you to avoid the hassle of shoveling, sliding, slipping, or calling a tow truck in case of an emergency.
- Ideal for emergency situations. When your vehicle gets stuck on the side of the road, tire traction mats can be very useful in your time of need. They are also great to have when you're camping, off-roading, mudding, or performing an activity that requires a vehicle.
- Easy to use. Tire traction mats are very easy to use. Even if you've never used them before, you won't have a hard time using them the first time. They are also lightweight and can be handled by people of all ages.
Types of Tire Traction Mats
These tire traction mats can be folded and take up less space than non-foldable tire traction mats. You don't need any tools to assemble them and you can set them up in a matter of seconds. However, it is worth noting that these tire traction mats are less durable than non-foldable tire traction mats. Most of these mats have a smooth finish that makes for easy cleaning.
Non-foldable tire traction mats are usually designed for both large and small vehicles. They quickly provide the traction needed to remove vehicles from sand, mud, and snow, and to also offer support to fully loaded vehicles. Some have arched grooves that help tires to stay centered. Their deep opposing grooves grip the tires and the slippery surface to provide the traction needed to get the car moving again without damaging the tires.
This Australian company develops 4x4 parts like recovery tracks, recovery kits, and winches. It also makes tire repair equipment. The company's motto is "Affordable Toughness" and it creates 4WD car parts that are very affordable. If you never want to get stuck while driving your 4WD, get the X-BULL New Recovery Traction Mat.
This American company produces a wide range of innovative snow removal solutions to ensure your car keeps moving during the winter season. It develops winter tools like snow brooms, ice scrapers, and tire traction mats. It also produces car products for warm weather like cordless pressure washers and electric pressure washers. It is located in Carlstadt, New Jersey, and creates useful traction mats like the Snow Joe PVC TrackAssist Non-Slip Traction Mat.
Founded by Brian McCarthy back in 2001 after he almost lost his bogged vehicle to the incoming tide, this Australian company makes safe and simple vehicle recovery tools. The founder's passion for exploration and adventure has led him to create innovative tire traction mats like the Maxtrax Vehicle Recovery and Extraction Device.
Tire Traction Mats Pricing
- $10-$100: Most of these tire traction mats are ideal for off-road use and provide emergency traction for tires in sand, mud, snow, and ice. They prevent your car's tires from spinning when you’re stuck in sand, snow, or mud.
- $100-$300: When you get tire traction mats in this category, you will do away with pushing and towing your car (which is expensive). The mats here are lightweight, durable, and usually made of high-impact polypropylene plastic in order to last.
Some tire traction mats are made of industrial nylon while others are made of high-quality polypropylene plastic. There are also a few mats made from galvanized steel with rubber treads, but these are usually rare as they are expensive. Traction mats made of nylon or plastic are quite affordable and very easy to use. However, those made from steel are usually more durable.
Nothing is as frustrating as having traction mats that are not long enough to get your vehicle out of a hole. However, this doesn't mean that you get the longest mats available for your car. As a matter of fact, very long traction mats do not work well with front-wheel drive cars. They may also be difficult to place under the tires at a steep angle.
This is a very important feature as it determines how useful the tire traction mats will be. To ensure you choose the right mats, measure the width of your tires first. Tire traction mats come in a variety of widths. The mat's width should be wider than the tire's width. If you own a large truck or car, make sure the mats you get have sufficient width to handle larger tires.
It is important to get traction mats that come with a carrying bag or box. This makes it easy for you to store them in your vehicle after you use them without getting the vehicle dirty or filling it with mud. If you happen to get tire traction mats that don't come with a carrying bag, consider buying one separately.
- Your Vehicle Type. Trucks are usually further from the ground than cars. If you own a car, there's less room to work under. Short traction mats and folding mats are ideal for cars while larger, thicker mats are best for trucks as they can manage a heavier load.
- Instructions. If the instructions the manufacturer provides are not clear, you won't be able to use your traction mats when you need them most. Read reviews to find out whether the mats you're planning on buying have clear, detailed instructions. In addition, try to master the traction mat technique beforehand so you can be ready when the need arises.
Best Tire Traction Mats Reviews & Recommendations 2020
When overlanding or off-roading, it is wise to be prepared for the times when your car will get stuck, because it will. Having the best traction mats ensures you get back on the road in less time. Maxsa Innovations, which is based in Australia, gives a lifetime warranty for its two tire traction mats because they are built to last.
The traction mats are easy to use, lightweight, and can be easily carried by any four-wheel vehicle. They provide a quick solution if your vehicle gets stuck. They feature cleats which sink their teeth into the tire tread to prevent the tires from slipping back into the sand, snow, or mud.
The mats are made of UV-stabilized, reinforced nylon and can wrap around a 33-inch tire without breaking. However, their biggest downside is that they are expensive and many people won’t be able to afford them. The nubs melt in the sun or when your tires spin on them too fast.
If you are in the market for a good set of traction mats, check out the Stalwart folding traction mats. They are some of the most affordable traction mats on the market and come in a set of two. The tire traction mats are constructed using tough polypropylene. Their treads are strong and stable enough to withstand regular use in ice, sand, snow, and mud.
The tire traction mats have a foldable design and can be easily stored in a car trunk or under a seat. They work with all types of vehicles and you can also place them behind wheels to prevent tire slippage. You’ll love the fact that they are easy to clean. You can wipe them down with a damp cloth or spray them off with a hose.
However, as good as these tire traction mats are, don't use them if you own a truck or a heavy car; they will be ineffective. The plastic used to make them is not of the highest quality and they may break the first time you use them.
A set of traction mats should be part of your kit, even if you rarely indulge in off-road driving. They ensure you get out of tight spots and get back on the road quickly. The Snow Joe TrackAssist Traction Mat is built to last using heavy-duty polyvinyl chloride. It offers a non-slip track for your vehicle's tires in mud, snow, ice, and sand. But if you want it to be of any use to you, get two units instead of one.
When your car gets stuck in the middle of nowhere, simply insert the traction mats between your car’s tires and the slippery surface and drive ahead. You can buy the traction mat with confidence as Snow Joe offers a two-year warranty for it. The mat rolls up for quick storage and comes with a carrying bag.
However, you should know that this traction mat has a very strong smell. Air it out once you get it. It may also be difficult to insert under a tire, so you may need extra help.
- You may not have total control of your vehicle after getting it unstuck. That’s why you should ensure that you have a clear path to avoid collisions when your ride gains momentum.
- Remember to drive slow on the traction mat to avoid wearing out the nubs, especially if you have plastic mats. Under the intense pressure of a spinning wheel, the plastic may thin or melt easily.
- After using the mats, clean them and store them in a storage bag in a cool place. Avoid exposing them to direct UV rays, which can weaken or melt the nubs.
- Traction mats may not be strong enough to help you get out of a huge pothole or bridge the gap on the surface. In that case, consider carrying a plank of wood that’s coated with abrasion-resistant material.
Q: Is a tire chain better than a tire traction mat?
A: It depends on the level of convenience or comfort you desire as you ride. You’d have to pre-install a tire chain for optimal traction throughout your ride, meaning that your ride may feel a bit rough. It offers the best traction on snow and ice, but it’s a costly device in comparison to traction mats. A tire chain can also damage the tires if installed incorrectly.
Q: Should you use a traction mat with a plank of wood?
A: It’s unnecessary to install a plank of wood under the traction mat. Most traction mats are made of a non-slip material that can help your tires gain forward momentum without the extra leverage. However, you can consider doing so when the traction mat is worn out and isn’t working for you. Just be sure to strap the mat on the plank of wood to ensure it doesn’t slip off when the tires slide on it.
Q: Will a single tire traction mat be enough?
A: One traction mat won’t do you any good unless you ride a motorcycle. The other tires will keep spinning in place and the mat will be useless. Try to get at least a pair and place both at either the front or rear wheels, depending on the direction you want to go.
Our top pick is the Maxtrax Vehicle Recovery and Extraction Device. It has a strong structure that can accommodate large and heavy vehicles. It’s also super easy to shove under the tire.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option that can make tire extraction easier, consider the Stalwart Folding Traction Mat.