We take another approach to Hitchin's strategy of computing the cohomology of moduli spaces of Higgs bundles by localization with respect to the circle-action. Our computation is done in the dimensional completion of the Grothendieck ring of varieties and starts by describing the classes of moduli stacks of chains rather than their coarse moduli spaces. As an application we show that the n-torsion of the Jacobian acts trivially on the middle dimensional cohomology of the moduli space of twisted SL_n-Higgs-bundles of degree coprime to n and we give an explicit formula for the motive of the moduli space of Higgs bundles of rank 4 and odd degree. This provides new evidence for a conjecture of Hausel and Rodríguez-Villegas. Along the way we find explicit recursion formulas for the motives of several types of moduli spaces of stable chains.