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Old 03-16-2006, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Buying Tire Chains

I've never bought tire chains or cables for any vehicle. I've read in the owner's manual to only install them on the front. My question is what to buy. Here in CA they may require or check that you have chains before entering certain areas. What is a good brand and why type should I look for.:?:
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Old 03-16-2006, 03:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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In reality, you don't need them. You are required to have either chains or 4WD with snow tires (yes, all-seasons do count as snow tires as long as they have the M&S rating on the sidewall). They'll shut the road down long before they require you to put chains on a 4WD or AWD vehicle.
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Old 03-16-2006, 04:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ditto what Silke said. I would seem strange to need chains on a 4wd in southern Cal.
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I use cable type as they offer the most clearance wise. Not the best but like the others said you usually don't need them but depending on where you go like local ski areas, sometimes the CHP will make you show them. Too many idiots get stuck on two lane roads with no chains on non-AWD cars and create a nightmare for the CHP.

Actually I saw a thread on NASIOC about a guy with snow tires on his STi and the CHP made him install them. Typically they wont but it's better to be safe and buy the proper ones in town instead of paying the big bucks for some ill fitting ones on the mountain.
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Old 03-17-2006, 07:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I travel all over the West snowboarding, and although I have never used them I carry chains. Some places will require you to have them with you, even if you have AWD and snowtires (Which I do).

Last month I drove up to Paradise on Mt. Rainier. They get some of the greatest snowfall in the world and I've seen it go from a sunny day to a nasty snow storm in the matter of minutes. They REQUIRE you to carry chains in the winter and they will turn you back if you do not have them. Not a fun thing after you have driven 3+ hours to get there. Mt. Hood and parts of the Lake Tahoe area will also turn you away if you don't have chains in the car during big storms.

I personal have cable chains that I picked up at Les Schwab for about $20. I would recommend test fitting them in your driveway because the side of the road in the snow is not a good place to learn how to use them. The stretch rubber chain fasteners are also very helpful. The keep the ends from coming lose and roto-stripping your fender.
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, I'm in southern California but we have mountains too. Last weekend the CHP was turning back people without chains (AWD/4WD or not) in certain areas. I drive up to northern California sometimes as well an I may want to go to the snow now that I have a car that can make it.
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Old 03-17-2006, 09:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Sometimes, you are required to carry chains even if you do have 4wd/AWD.

While up in Tahoe, I was required to show mine. The CHP Chain Control said "I know you have a Subaru, but 20 mph is the max speed limit. Also, keep chains just in case."

There were actually a few Imprezas with chains on.

I have cheapo cable chains that I bought @ Kragen for about 30 dollars.
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You need, technically, 2 sets if you have a Subie AWD system (and MT, or is it also AT, I dunno for sure on that one)--or so I have been told. I have only used them once (to turn around in an unplowed road) and my was it dandy to have them. I have decided to carry an old coat and gloves to install them as you can get pretty dirty. I only drove a couple of hundred feet and then took them off as I back out on a plowed road.
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Old 03-17-2006, 12:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Just one set, not two. The manual says put them on the front wheels only, at least for my '02.

I'd say carry them. And I recommend ShurGrip Z traction cables:
http://www.scc-chain.com/Traction%20Pages/Trac_SGZ.html
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Old 03-17-2006, 01:05 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleiad7
In reality, you don't need them. You are required to have either chains or 4WD with snow tires (yes, all-seasons do count as snow tires as long as they have the M&S rating on the sidewall). They'll shut the road down long before they require you to put chains on a 4WD or AWD vehicle.
I stand corrected on my above statement. I guess it's a SoCal thing to make you put on chains on AWD cars as well: http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=960307
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Old 03-17-2006, 02:48 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainBiker
Just one set, not two. The manual says put them on the front wheels only, at least for my '02.

I'd say carry them. And I recommend ShurGrip Z traction cables:
http://www.scc-chain.com/Traction%20Pages/Trac_SGZ.html
It may be different for an MT.
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Old 03-17-2006, 03:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Directly from my owners manual:

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Old 03-17-2006, 03:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walla-ru
You need, technically, 2 sets if you have a Subie AWD system (and MT, or is it also AT, I dunno for sure on that one)--or so I have been told. I have only used them once (to turn around in an unplowed road) and my was it dandy to have them. I have decided to carry an old coat and gloves to install them as you can get pretty dirty. I only drove a couple of hundred feet and then took them off as I back out on a plowed road.
Does the law in Washington still require you to have them in your car while driving through the passes?

My first experience with chains was on Snoqualmie Pass in 1968 or 69, after the snow accumulated for an hour or so due to a jackknifed semi at the summit. Finally got to the other side, unrolled sleeping bags in our VW bus, and spent the rest of the night in the parking lot of a restaurant. Heated the bus with a catalytic heater that was supposed to be safe indoors, only to learn about 20 years later that they were recalled as a carbon monoxide hazard. Dug the heater out of the garage attic and got a tidy bounty from the manufacturer.

Wore out the chains over the next year or two, since the side roads in town weren't well plowed and the roads on the campus were.
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Old 03-18-2006, 04:57 AM   #14 (permalink)
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We're using them quite a lot over here. Two advices:

1.) Buy Pewag chains. http://www.pewag.at/kataloge/Snow_ch..._vehicles.html

2nd) Try them on once, before going to the white stuff. Don't drive them on tarmac, only if the snow is so deep that you don't touch tarmac anymore, don't go any faster than 30mph, don't use them on ice (they won't help you there a lot), drive CAREFULLY, re-tighten the chains after 100yards and then again after 7-10miles, wash them carefully after use, bring gloves.

P.S.: Don't rely on all-season tires with M&S ratings, these have the same hard rubber like summertires. Get proper snowtires.
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Old 03-18-2006, 08:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boca_Yid
Directly from my owners manual:

Note that it doesn't say to do anything different for the transmission type.
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