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Best Snow Chains?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a set of chains for the wife's car...something that's easy on/off for her for driving up to tahoe.

Any thoughts on some popular ones?
post #2 of 36
Whatever ones are cheapest and work.
post #3 of 36

www.tirechains.com

gonna try these myself.

http://www.tirechains.com
post #4 of 36
You have to be kidding. If she is going to Tahoe with any regularity get a 4x4 or AWD. If you go for the chains, it doesn't matter how easy on or off, just stock up on $20 bills for the chain monkeys. CalTrans posts chain controls at the drop of a flake of snow. Every time you put on chains in the slush or wet pavement and drive 10 miles before getting into snow. Then peel them off again in the melt zone. I wouldn't send my wife up there in any 2WD vehicle, cause, I wouldn't hear the end of it. :
post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn
Whatever ones are cheapest and work.
No. There are some that run around $100 that are easy on. They hook over the back of the wheel and all the connections are done from the front. Less than 5 minutes. You get what you pay for. Cheap chains are for when you use chain monkeys - then putting them on is their problem

And what non-sense. 4x4 required. You'll be stuck in the same chain control traffic and chains work better in conditions that dictate that there's chain control in the first place. 2wd works better in all other normal driving conditions.

Come on folks, this isn't a site for bad advice although I guess free advice is worth what you pay for it !

Meanwhile I've got an awd and a 4wd vehicle (with snows)

Incidentally check out http://cad.chp.ca.gov/body.asp?centerin=TKCC to see why chain control is needed. It's carnage out there - as I look right now I see 10 incidents within the last 2 hours on I80 alone :
post #6 of 36
Get real chains not cable chains.
Use snow tires, and only put the chains on when needed.
Learn how to put them on before you need them.
Don't speed with chains.
post #7 of 36
Truckee, I have reduced the 4X4 fleet, but still keep a Subie around for going skiing. Its just not worth the hassle of chaining up...(wet clothes, cold hands, dirt slush, chains banging on fender panels, going less than 30 MPH, sparks on dry pavement). Also, being on the side of the road putting on chains is a dangerous place to be with all the flatlanders driving too fast and braking for the chain control.

I never said 4X4 was needed for traction. Its a matter of CalTrans enforcing the use of chains when it makes no common sense at all. If you are crossing the passes with any regularity, you need 4X4 or AWD. If you think this is such bad advise, why don't you drive a 2WD in Tahoe? Its not worth the anxiety when you can just sail through the chain stations. Next time your wife is laying in the slush putting on chains, I'll be listening to the XM Radio in a warm dry car, getting where I'm going.
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider
If you think this is such bad advise, why don't you drive a 2WD in Tahoe? Its not worth the anxiety when you can just sail through the chain stations. Next time your wife is laying in the slush putting on chains, I'll be listening to the XM Radio in a warm dry car, getting where I'm going.
In the past I did in fact run 2wds, an fwd Audi and a '77 Pontiac Grand Prix : You learn to get good chains that are easy to put on, carry a hands free flash light and a mat. Chains can go on so quickly that I didn't even bother putting on a coat. My wife doesn't put on chains : Meanwhile I'd suggest that snow country RESIDENTS do have some level of justification for 4wd/awd vehicles. Then again they do know how to drive in the stuff and are generally running snow tires. Meanwhile too many folks are using possible snow conditions as a justification for getting 4wd/awd which they may find useful once or twice a year and pay for it daily. Meanwhile monitor the chp site I reference above. The majority of the incidents where the vehicle is explicitly identified it's either a big rig or a 4wd - today for example one of the incidents involved an Explorer.
post #9 of 36
A few questions about driving in snow that I've been wondering:

1. Are 2WD with chains safer on a snow covered road than 4WD or AWD without chains?

2. Does the CHP distinguish between different types of 4WD vehicles? I don't see how trucks and SUVs with part-time 4WD systems (that requires the driver to manually switch between 2WD and 4WD modes) are any better than 2WDs for driving on a highway unless they keep it in 4WD mode all the time, which you're not supposed to do.

3. How do they check if your car is 4WD/AWD or not? Do they automatically assume that if you're in a SUV? Can someone in a 2WD SUV get past the chain controls without being caught?
post #10 of 36
...snow tires.

not to be sexist, but i think the number of women who would willingly get out and put on snow chains is low to nonexistent.

i know for me i'm so damn lazy i'll pay the extra money for snow tires, and i'm a guy.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by gelato
1. Are 2WD with chains safer on a snow covered road than 4WD or AWD without chains?
Yes. And a 2WD with snows is better than a 4WD or AWD with 'all-terrain' or 'four season' tires (the main argument is whether studded tires are effective). Generally. A bigger factor is the driver. And as we all know we're all better than average drivers Safety is all about stopping, not going.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gelato
2. Does the CHP distinguish between different types of 4WD vehicles? I don't see how trucks and SUVs with part-time 4WD systems (that requires the driver to manually switch between 2WD and 4WD modes) are any better than 2WDs for driving on a highway unless they keep it in 4WD mode all the time, which you're not supposed to do.
No, from CHP's perspective 4WDs and AWDs are treated the same, and they assume folks are sensible enough to engage the 4WD in a chain contol area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gelato
3. How do they check if your car is 4WD/AWD or not? Do they automatically assume that if you're in a SUV? Can someone in a 2WD SUV get past the chain controls without being caught?
No, CHP checks every vehicle. And they know their vehicles. They can see front differentials coming, and recognize heights of vehicles. They have to assume that folks in 4x4s will actually engage the 4x4 system (and their brains) when in a chain control area in which case they should keep the system engaged. They also check the tires as well as other clues to see if the vehicle should be allowed to pass. They love scraping the chain runners off the highway, but they get lowest priority.

And anyone who thinks of bypassing the rules deserves everything they get. Last year a BMW driver decided that the rules didn't pertain to them and they closed the interstate for four hours. They aren't going to do that again. Ever.

I read people bad mouthing (or at least writing) about how quickly chain control goes up. How unnecessary it is. From my perspective they simply don't understand what goes on. I will continue to reference the chp accident report system that is updated in near real time. It brutal how bad the driving is up here, especially considering how many above average drivers there are who come up (mostly males).
post #12 of 36
In my book, the best chains on the market are the Konig chains.

Good luck finding them. They are expensive so hardly anyone carries them. chainquest.com is an importer for them but they don't have all sizes.

For a sports car or car with very little clearance, Spider traction devices are best. Also very expensive but very easy to install. http://www.spikes-spiders.com/

I drive an AWD Chevy with Mich Cross terrain tires and carry a set of konig chains. Because no one around here carried the specific chain size I needed, I ended up having someone in Italy purchase them for me and ship them. (not cheap) but if I have to put them on 1 or 2 times (and I have put them on once already last season) It's worth it. I can install these in about 2 minutes (total both sides) without crawling under the van and they come off in about 1 minute.

DC
post #13 of 36
I have a question for all of you. If I have a Subaru with snow tires, do I still need to carry chains? I know that "R3: Chains required - all vehicles no exceptions." But how often does that happen?

New to the area, so not clue. I don't want to carry/buy them if I won't need them.

Thx,

Angel
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by verdugan
I have a question for all of you. If I have a Subaru with snow tires, do I still need to carry chains? I know that "R3: Chains required - all vehicles no exceptions." But how often does that happen?
Yes, technically, you need to carry chains. And you can be busted for not carrying chains - consider whether a Subaru with snow tires is going to be first on the list for not having chains though : But Caltrans/chp rarely, if ever, put up R3 road conditions. If it's that bad they close the road 'cause the alternative would be to argue with every bad tempered, above average, SUV driver that they can't go. Bigger picture is to consider whether you'd want to be driving in R3 conditions in the first place.

I have a Subaru with snows and no chains
post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by verdugan
I have a question for all of you. If I have a Subaru with snow tires, do I still need to carry chains? I know that "R3: Chains required - all vehicles no exceptions." But how often does that happen?

New to the area, so not clue. I don't want to carry/buy them if I won't need them.

Thx,

Angel
When I lived in reno and worked at the lake, sometimes I'd get R3 restrictions going....then I'd basically beg and plead to go through w/ my subie and no chains. They'd usually let me through, but that was over 10 years ago.
post #16 of 36
During chain control R3, 4x4 and AWD are requied to have chains available. In practicality, the most common chain control levels are R1 and R2. By the time conditions warrant R3, you usually have road closures due to accidents, avalanche control or impassibly high snow. I have generally carried chains in any 4X4 and AWD vehicle, but then again, I used to plow snow when we lived a little higher on the hill.

As TruckeeLocal suggested, the mountain passes can become impossible in the worst weather. The locals have a certain resentment for the "flatlanders", particularly from the bay area, who bring their massive urban assault vehicles and cluelessly drive too fast, run off the road, overturn and generally cause a lot of accidents. During road closures, these drivers clog local roads (parking in the roads waiting for the freeway to open because snow berms are on the side), buy up everything in sight at the grocery stores and are often quite rude to the locals who are busy pulling them out of ditches and directing them off local roads. Many of them would in fact be better off in 2WD cars with chains. I felt this living in Pollock Pines during eastbound Hwy 50 closures, and Truckee experiences the same thing when the westbound freeway closes. In spite of this prejudice, with the right attitude, experience and vehicle (however rare that may seem), 4 drive wheels are better than 2 in the mountains.
post #17 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jed Peters
When I lived in reno and worked at the lake, sometimes I'd get R3 restrictions going....then I'd basically beg and plead to go through w/ my subie and no chains. They'd usually let me through, but that was over 10 years ago.
That's still true. The chain control guys can look at a vehicle, the vehicle contents, and the driver and make a judgement. Typically R3 is for above Truckee so from Reno to a lake level destination they let 'local' traffic through. Flatlanders going home are out of luck (and usually have to go back to Reno to test their luck some more : ). One time my wife was in that situation and was surprised when a SUV went ripping by up the canyon. A few miles later she slowly drove by the same SUV looking at the river - some 'locals' clearly don't know what they're doing !
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TruckeeLocal
Yes, technically, you need to carry chains. And you can be busted for not carrying chains - consider whether a Subaru with snow tires is going to be first on the list for not having chains though : But Caltrans/chp rarely, if ever, put up R3 road conditions. If it's that bad they close the road 'cause the alternative would be to argue with every bad tempered, above average, SUV driver that they can't go. Bigger picture is to consider whether you'd want to be driving in R3 conditions in the first place.

I have a Subaru with snows and no chains
Some people I know buy the cheapest chains they can find and keep them for the R3 conditions. Like mentioned if you drive slow and in control, be patient, you probably would not need to put them on but you also would not have to argue with the CHP officer. If the conditions are that bad I try not to drive, Even if I'm able. I don't need to be hit by that "macho" guy going 50 on ice/snow covered roads thinking that a SUV with Studded tires and chains makes the vehicle stop faster.
post #19 of 36
Ah the joys of Winter driving. My personal car is a 4x4 and I carry 4 singles w/ Ice breaker bars and a few half links in case of chain failure. I also use 2 rubber snubbers on my side rails. A pair of Rubber gloves are handy. I laugh when I see ppl laying down to h/u the inside side rail,not necessary. Installing chains means driving slower. I usually run about 25-30 mph cause throwing a 3 railer can cause damage and they are expensive. Chaining the rear drivers is first they will act as traction and a drag chain effect also. Knowing where and when to chain is a key to this unpleasant chore. PS- Anyone saying they can throw Iron in 2-3 minutes is blowing smoke.
post #20 of 36
Last year I know someone who hit a patch of ice on Highway 4 on his way to Bear Valley and ended up rolling a 4WD vehicle.  To add insult to injury, he was fined for not having chains in the car. 

As a result, I think I'll buy chains this year for the AWD.  It may also help since we are in a ski lease high in Tahoe Donner this year. In an old Subie I had chains that I would put on and off on Donner Lake Rd just to get up to and down from a season rental along the lake that was always treacharous.  AWD or 4WD has limitations on ice.
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

Ah the joys of Winter driving. My personal car is a 4x4 and I carry 4 singles w/ Ice breaker bars and a few half links in case of chain failure. I also use 2 rubber snubbers on my side rails. A pair of Rubber gloves are handy. I laugh when I see ppl laying down to h/u the inside side rail,not necessary. Installing chains means driving slower. I usually run about 25-30 mph cause throwing a 3 railer can cause damage and they are expensive. Chaining the rear drivers is first they will act as traction and a drag chain effect also. Knowing where and when to chain is a key to this unpleasant chore. PS- Anyone saying they can throw Iron in 2-3 minutes is blowing smoke.

Um, can someone translate that for me?
post #22 of 36
You will pay all the money for them once but you get a button nobody else has, On Spot chain system.  They can be changed between a lot of vehicles of similar size.  Have used them on several motorhomes, they beat the heck out of rolling around in the snow.  

If you have not seen them you have to check them out; onspot.com/
post #23 of 36
Nice bump on a 4 year old thread.  That onSpot concept looks pretty cool.  Ice Road Truckers might want to get those next season, but I enjoy watching them to have to get out in -40 to throw traditional chains on. 
post #24 of 36
If your spining out in -40F barefoot there's a problem. Anything below +10F is good traction conditions and rarely do you have to toss the Iron. I know it's a TV show. Have I drove a truck in AK during the Winter,yes.
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

If your spining out in -40F barefoot there's a problem. Anything below +10F is good traction conditions and rarely do you have to toss the Iron. I know it's a TV show. Have I drove a truck in AK during the Winter,yes.

Good point, 10 years driving in Minnesota and 20 more other places reminds me that really cold surfaces tend to be freeze dried, verses 25-40 degree really slick wet frozen surface.   I've given southern grown folks quite an experience by telling them (and showing them) that driving in the snow on the edge of the road is better traction than driving on the packed down black icy middle.
post #26 of 36
That's the sign of an experienced Winter driver. :thumbs up:

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post




Good point, 10 years driving in Minnesota and 20 more other places reminds me that really cold surfaces tend to be freeze dried, verses 25-40 degree really slick wet frozen surface.   I've given southern grown folks quite an experience by telling them (and showing them) that driving in the snow on the edge of the road is better traction than driving on the packed down black icy middle.
 
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by slider View Post

That's the sign of an experienced Winter driver. :thumbs up:
 


 

Coming from a Bear called "slider", I'll consider that a great compliment
post #28 of 36

Z chains [ cables ] are bout the best-easiest to put on, take off you'll find anywhere

 

good place to get them -- www.snowtraction.com

post #29 of 36

Check these out, The Thule Easy-Fit, less than 12 seconds to fit, how easy do you need?

post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by John1 View Post

Check these out, The Thule Easy-Fit, less than 12 seconds to fit, how easy do you need?

 

$418.96USD for a set of tire chainseek.gif is the most ridiculous thing I've seen since the jointed skis.

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