Snow Chains and Driving in the Snow

Bugski

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teckel said:
The bit about chains being mandatory in Vic is wrong. New regulations this year means that for day trippers only travelling to Mt Buller and Lake Mountain, are only required to carry chains if the resort determines that conditions wanrant it. The same may apply to Falls and Hotham - not sure. But definitely, they are NOT necessarily required at Buller for those not staying overnight.
This is quite a dangerous piece of BS.
 
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Yardsale

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teckel said:
The bit about chains being mandatory in Vic is wrong.
Buller replied to this by putting this on their website linked from the front page.


Home News Media Releases

Wheel Chain Regulations on Mt Buller

Following a long period of consultation, and the development of a Regulatory Impact Statement, the State Government recently gazetted the Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 2004. The objective of these Regulations was to amend the Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 1998 to permit the Alpine Resort Management Board to waive the carrying of wheel chains on certain days.

At this stage there is NO CHANGE to policy in regards to the carrying of wheel chains when entering the Mt Buller Alpine Resort.

At the commencement of the 2005 winter season, beginning June 11, 2005, all vehicles are required to carry wheel chains.

“The Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board is currently determining how to best implement a change in process for the carrying of wheel chains with the safety of those driving to the resorts in the winter of paramount importanceâ€, said Phil Nunn, acting CEO of Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board.

“We are currently seeking consultation with various stakeholders and regulatory authorities to determine the best outcome for all,†added Mr Nunn.

-ends-

Date Posted: 3-6-2005

Keep carrying your chains folks.
 
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jimminy

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thanks MadTelemarketer for the Buller RMB update
and also on the Hotham road diamond chains are recommended and it has happened in the past vehicles with ladder chains were turned back.
 

freckles

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The weather up there just changes so quickly, even if it is a sunny day, it can roll in like a bastard in the afternoon.
Do you really want to risk driving on a winding road toward on coming traffic with out chains on to save about $30 for hire?

Get the people to explain EXACTLY how to do it, it's part of their job, and don't be afraid to ask a dumb question. My mother said "It's better to be a fool for a minute that a fool for a lifetime" Or in this case a dead fool.

Most importantly though is choosing where to stop to put them on. Seems obvious I know, but 4WD's who live locally can still drive at a decent speed when they know the road, and they don't want to come around the corner and crash into you or worse run you over.

Always drive about 100m and then get out and tighten them if they are the kind that need it. Definately take them off when the road is back to bitchumen! How funny is it when cars are cruising around in Mt Beauty with their chains scraping about. Good clean fun!
 

freckles

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OOps! one last thing, if you are really not confident about driving in snow, but want a ski trip in Vic I would reccommend the Falls Creek road over the Mount Hotham road. Hotham is definately more tight and higher with steep drop offs, making it a spectacular drive but a bit scary for not so confident drivers.

In saying that, it's much better to pull into one of the slow vehicle bays to let cars pass, then to feel forced to go faster than you want to. Mountain staff can get agressive when they have to get to work and a drive that takes half an hour can take well over an hour.
 

cookie87

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looking to buy some chains - im going to head down to autobarn and service dealer soon but just wondered if i could get some background info/advice
smile.gif


what brands do you recommend?
heard some stuff about rubber chains
confused.gif
any good? whats the diff b/w them and normal chains? (apart from the obvious)
 
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cookie87

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dunno - someone was telling me about them - said they gave a 'smoother' ride in comparison to normal chains
confused.gif
 
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Yardsale

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jimminy said:
and also on the Hotham road diamond chains are recommended and it has happened in the past vehicles with ladder chains were turned back.
Sorry, looks like that one slipped under the radar and got missed.

They reccomend diamond pattern chains as you quite frequently wind up with ice on the road up there. Ladder chains can have a brief period where there is no chain on the road...

I haven't seen anyone turned back, but I think I have only ever seen 2 people on the hotham road with ladders on (buller and falls you see them all the time).
 
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Mozz

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IMHO Diamond pattern chains offer far superior grip to their ladder counterparts due to their ability to provide a smoother ride, better tyre coverage and essentially 360 degree grip as against 180 or so with ladder type with some lateral control. I may be mistaken but I was under the impression that Ladder chains were much more destructive of the road surface, and the lack of good lateral grip was secondary to the discision to attempt some sort of phasing out of them.

Irrespective of NSW or VIC I always have a set in the car June to Sept.

Mozz
 

goosmurf

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Is it normal to just put chains on the rear wheels of a RWD? It doesn't seem to make sense to have drive but no steering...

Last year about 10km out of Jindy I saw an old lady get stuck because her RWD with chains on the rear wheels can't actually steer ... she ended up having to just leave her car there (but got a lift home from another bloke).
 

Bugski

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goosmurf said:
Is it normal to just put chains on the rear wheels of a RWD? It doesn't seem to make sense to have drive but no steering...

Yes. On the driving wheels - the rear ones. It's the reason why RWD are the worst for snow travel.
 
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Mozz

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That is why I carry a spare set even though I'm Front WD in real marginal conditions I put them on all 4 wheels, stopps the rear from stepping out if you come across really slick patches.
Good Vids there even if the X Trail is Illegal with the Aluminium Brake pedal. Another Point too you should ALWAYS remove ALL snow from the bonnet and Roof as this is in effect an uncovered load and is in some cases extremely dangerouse, also illegag to have a snow buildup while driving.

Mozz.
 

rabble

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Putting chains on the front of a 4WD would change the profile of the front compared with the rear. Has anyone experienced problems due to this?
 

Mozz

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The effect of which you speak I don't think that the the overall (rolling) diameter would be changed sufficiently to cause problems that I am aware of.

I guess it would be possible , this may be why some exotic 4WD Manuals require chains on all 4 wheels when needed.

Mozz
 

Flyer

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Mozz said:
The effect of which you speak I don't think that the the overall (rolling) diameter would be changed sufficiently to cause problems that I am aware of.

I guess it would be possible , this may be why some exotic 4WD Manuals require chains on all 4 wheels when needed.

Mozz
the chains on all 4 wheels is usually to make sure that the traction control doesent go nuts when it regesters different traction on different wheels.
wink.gif
 
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Mozz

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In the Snow I'd be turning off things like Trax Control if possible .... but your right 4 Chains is way better than 2, but rabble is concerned with the chains changing the overall diameter and therefore upsetting the front v rear rolling radii of the wheels, this is a non event due to the central differential in most 4WD's these days. I still doubt that there would be sufficient change in the rolling Dia to worry about.

Mozz
 

rabble

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Thanks for responses :cheers:

rabble is concerned with the chains changing the overall diameter and therefore upsetting the front v rear rolling radii of the wheels, this is a non event due to the central differential in most 4WD's these days.
Yes, this is the question (rolling diamater was the term I was looking for ). I have owned a few landrovers and a scubi (70's) ... I have never had to use chains.

Now I have (well will have in the next few days) a toyota hilux -98 version and I am less confident in its ability in difficult situations.

Mozz - others, I want to look after the new truck; if I get chains for the front wheels only and have to use them, will this cause any damage to the drive train?
 
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Mozz

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It's been my experience with 4WD and chains Ihad owned a jeep before the family grew . I used chains on the front when needed simply because it drove more precisely with chains on the front rather than the back. Chains on the front Pull great if those wheels get tractive power, depending on your vehicle rabble I honestly do not think you will have cause for alarm. Now I prefer that you contact the manufacturer or dealer for more specific advice.

A case in point is Rennix Gap you get told by NPWS to fit chains at the bay in Wilsons valley, so you drive 4 km on a dry road
mad.gif
(no good for chains or road) to traverse 100 yards of ice and then the road is dry till Prussian Ck ( go figure) :headbang:
Still the way I look at it the more I need to put my chains on the sweeter the snow on the hill.
laugh.gif


Mozz
 
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rabble

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Good advice - I will contact the manufacturer, Thanks Mozz. And yes agreed: longer chain time = more snow
laugh.gif
 
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Mooka

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freckles said:
OOps! one last thing, if you are really not confident about driving in snow, but want a ski trip in Vic I would reccommend the Falls Creek road over the Mount Hotham road. Hotham is definately more tight and higher with steep drop offs, making it a spectacular drive but a bit scary for not so confident drivers
I drove up Mt Hotham 2 yrs in a row on my L's one being a month after i got them in the worst weather, as long as you take it easy anyone will be fine....
:cheers:
 
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RXI73D

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Hey Guys - im a Newb to this forum.

The question i have has probably been asked a million times and answered a trillion times.

However i own a Subaru WRX and i am driving to Bullocks flat Ski tube and parking there. As this is my first trip up, i dont know what the road is like up to that point. Will i need Chains at all for the road that leads into Bulloks flat? or is the road there generally clear of snow for me to get in and out of?

_______________________________
www.ozwrx.com
 
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RXI73D

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Im heading there July 10-16..

I might just take some chains incase..

My Gf wants me to take her Holden VX Calais, but im a little worried at taking a rear wheel drive car over an AWD car.. What will be the better choice of vechile?
 

Schneemann

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In this thread I asked about using a 4WD with chains on only one set of wheels and whether 4WD should be engaged or disengaged.

I drive a Kia Sorento, which is a part time 4WD. I have just got off the phone with a KIA customer support guy and interestingly enough, if I am using chains (which must be fitted to the rear wheels on this vehicle), then I should also DISENGAGE 4WD. I guess this prevents the front wheels - which have little traction - from spinning at a different rate to the rear wheels? That kind of sux.

Of course, this info applies to the Sorento and other 4WDs will no doubt be different.
 
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Schneemann

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rabble said:
What about 4 chains Schneemann ?
The guy I spoke to suggested that I shouldn't put chains on the front tyres at all. I am sure with most 4WDs though, the best option is to have chains on all 4 tyres. That said, I just found this forum here , and people are saying basically the same thing for the Toyota Prado - chains on rear tyres, only... Hmmm... I think I will leave the chains off unless things get really bad
smile.gif
 
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R

richard@snowtyres.com.au

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Road safety problems in the alpine areas will increasing as number of 2WD and AWD vehicles that are now fitted with high performance road tyres with V, W, ZR and Y speed rated tyres increases. These tyres were never designed to drive safely in snow and icy conditions.

Snow chains on the rear wheels of a RWD, a 4WD or an AWD can improve climbing traction but not steering and braking, especially when driving downhill.

Snow chains on the front wheels of a FWD, a 4WD or an AWD can improve the climbing traction and the increase the steering and braking performance.

One set of snow chains can only ever improve the performance of one end of the vehicle.

Some AWD vehicle require snow chains to be fitted to all wheels as the traction control computer system thinks that one set of wheels is slipping of only one set of chains is fitted because the chains increase the rolling circumference of the wheel. This is why some vehicle manufactures suggest the traction control be switched off when only one set of chains is fitted.

Many AWD vehicles ( Audi, Ford Territory AWD, Toyota LC100 and the new Prado etc.) have insufficient clearance to fit any snow chains to the front wheels


The following information is copied from a USA site

We all know that tyres are a compromise. One tyre can't be the fastest on the track, most controllable in the snow, and longest wearing. The Ultra High Performance tyre that grips the track at high tread temperatures is incompetent as its tread compound becomes like "hard plastic" at below 7°. Today's tyre tread designs and compounds maximize long, even wear... not winter traction. And while many of today's Original Equipment tyres address some of these issues, they still emphasize longer wear, a quieter ride or greater performance...not winter traction. Only snow tyres are designed to excel in the colder temperatures, slush, snow and ice that alpine areas experience for three or more months a year.

Traction Control
While traction control will help keep you from overpowering your tyres, it doesn't actually improve your tyre's traction; it simply limits your car's acceleration to the traction level of your tyres. The only way to maximize your vehicle's winter performance is to provide your traction control with more grip to work with by using tyres specifically designed for your driving conditions.

ABS Brakes
While ABS brakes will help keep you from locking up your tyres, it doesn't actually improve your tyre's traction; it simply limits your cars braking to the traction level of your tyres. The only way to maximize your vehicle's winter performance is to provide your ABS brakes with more grip to work with by using tyres specifically designed for your driving conditions.

All-Wheel Drive
All-wheel drive is certainly an advantage...but its advantage can be multiplied by using winter tyres designed for the road conditions you'll encounter. While more tyres share the torque of your vehicle, think of the ice and snow performance that snow tyres provide. All of the reasons that encouraged you to select an all-wheel drive are the same reasons that dedicated snow tyres will make your winter driving more enjoyable and enhance your car's braking, handling and cornering traits.

However, it is important to remember that while the all-wheel drive vehicle's ability to accelerate in slippery conditions provides a lot of confidence, it doesn't really offer any unique advantage when the vehicle has to stop or turn. This is because the other vehicles also use all four tyres to provide braking and cornering traction. Since all-wheel drive vehicles actually weigh more than their two-wheel drive counterparts, bringing them to a stop or turning a corner actually requires more traction.

So, whether your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, traction control, a vehicle stability system or all-wheel drive, it is your tyres that provide the real traction.

Obviously, the more tyre traction these systems have to work with the better. Since most all-wheel drive vehicles are originally equipped with all-season or ultra high performance tyres, optimizing these systems' capabilities on snow and ice requires installing snow tyres.

What's the difference in snow traction between an M+S (Mud and Snow) branded tire, an All-Season tire and a purpose-built snow tyre?
The original definition of M+S tyres is based on the geometry of the tread design. The M+S designation was first used to differentiate the knobby bias ply tyres intended for use on muddy, and/or snow-covered roads from the straight rib tyres used on early cars or trucks. Tyres with tread designs that meet the definition may be branded with the letters "M" and "S" in several different ways (e.g., M&S, M+S, M/S, MS, etc.) at the discretion of the tyre manufacturer.

When early radial ply tyres were also found to deliver more snow traction than the straight rib, bias ply tyres, the tire companies introduced "All-Season tyres." Supported by advertising, All-Season tyres have presented an unspoken promise that they, throughout their life, can provide traction for all seasons...through spring's rain, summer's heat, autumn's cooling and winter's snow. While this combined offering has made All-Season tyres popular, many drivers have learned that a geometric definition doesn't guarantee winter snow and ice traction.

In 1999, The U.S. Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) and the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) agreed on a performance based standard to identify passenger and light truck tyres that attain a traction index equal to, or greater than110 (compared to a reference tyre which is rated 100) during the specified American Society for Testing and Materials traction tests on packed snow. The new standard helps ensure that drivers can easily identify tyres that provide a higher level of snow traction.

Only a snowflake-on-the-mountain symbol branded on the tyre's sidewall identifies tyres that met the required performance in snow testing.
 

Schneemann

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richard@snowtyres.com.au said:
Road safety problems in the alpine areas will increasing as number of 2WD and AWD vehicles that are now fitted with high performance road tyres with V, W, ZR and Y speed rated tyres increases. These tyres were never designed to drive safely in snow and icy conditions.....
Yeah, very interesting point, and something I pointed out in another thread. Specifically, I was talking about the Hyundai Tucson (Elite) and the tyres that come with it. I am sure that plenty of people who would buy a car like that are also the sort of people who would enjoy the snow. And because of its AWD and traction control, drivers are going to feel pretty "safe" driving on the snow with no chains. But the Bridgestone Turanzas it comes with are definitely summer/road tyres. The rubber is soft and will freeze in icy conditions, effectively losing all traction. It will be like driving on an ice cube.

Quote from another board re: Turanza ER33 tyres (fitted to a Lexus, though):

"I know these are summer tires but you would think Lexus would realize that selling cars in the Pacific Northwest might indicate a need for a better OE tire choice? Lexus told me today these were "All Season" - yeah, right. With mild ice on the road these are lethal. They not only wont stop the car but the car physically slides sideways off the road *when stationary*. Snow traction is non-existent...." etc. ref.
And see this link, too (if interested)

And I've read a lot more like that. It just seems ridiculous to me that these sorts of tyres could be fitted to a 4WD/SUV, but it appears to be becoming a trend. Unfortunately, we don't really get any education on this kind of thing. I think a bigger issue should me made of this to keep people more informed, and safer on the roads.
 
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Bugski

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Schneemann said:
I have just got off the phone with a KIA customer support guy and interestingly enough, if I am using chains (which must be fitted to the rear wheels on this vehicle), then I should also DISENGAGE 4WD. I guess this prevents the front wheels - which have little traction - from spinning at a different rate to the rear wheels? That kind of sux.
Shows how crap the 4wd system is in that car - as if there needed to be any more demonstration. IT's not really a 4wd system - it's a traction control system that engages another axle if the drive axle slips. :rolleyes:
 
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Schneemann

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Congratulations Mahtoh, criticising again. At least you are consistent, I guess? No, the Kia Sorento does NOT use a traction control system. It is a "real" part-time 4WD (ie: it has 2-Hi, 4-Hi and 4-Lo). The Tucson on the other hand, has a traction control system and operates as you described, although the diff. can be locked at low speeds.

Wizzard, thanks for the link
smile.gif
 
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Bugski

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Schneemann said:
Congratulations Mahtoh, criticising again. At least you are consistent, I guess? No, the Kia Sorento does NOT use a traction control system. It is a "real" part-time 4WD (ie: it has 2-Hi, 4-Hi and 4-Lo).
Very PC. No input unless it's positive? Good work.

Answer me this: Why, please tell me, do you think Kia recommends you switch off the 4WD system (one of the best things in the snow) when you put chains on the car?
 
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SteepNDeep

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You're not one of the presenters on the footy show aye FG? :p
 
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Schneemann

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Hehehe, you're a madman, filming and driving
laugh.gif
. Thanks for the videos. It's always fun to drive in the snow. I have seen considerably more snow on the road than that in the past. I don't think you'd be filming, then, though
wink.gif
I noticed the car ahead of you appears to be making "fresh tracks".
 
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Schneemann

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Yeah, interesting Rabble. I came across that page a while ago, too. I'm still undecided as to whether a 4WD vehicle should be run in 2WD or 4WD if you have chains on only one set to wheels.

If I need chains, they will go on my back tyres, due to clearance issues in the front wheel well. But chains on just 2 tyres would kind of be like running a 4WD with 2 different sets of tyres on - not a good idea.

As I posted earlier, I think I will just keep the chains for really serious situations. I doubt I will need them, so 4WD should be enough.

It's funny that most vehicles I have seen on the side of the road at the snow are 4WD and AWD vehicles
wink.gif
 
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rabble

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Well we had a bit of discussion about that earlier in this thread related to rotational circumference of the wheels being different with and without chains. Some thought it *might* not make a difference but did not want to commit, which is why I am still looking around for more info.

Toyota's advice for the 99 Hilux 4x4 to me was fit chains to rear tyres only - ie only 2 chains and not 4. However, I think I only had the 'boy' who does the web based queries as he sent me an extract from a manual that did not mention 4x4. I queried this but his response was not informative - so am still following this up.

Maybe the advice to not put chains on the front wheels of this vehicle has something to do with the potential to damage steering geer or brake lines etc. I just do not know. I would love to hear from people with experience of this vehicle and chains.

Re the proliferation of 4WD and AWD on the side of the road... I am thinking two things:

1. Over confidence; and
2. Poor tyre choice.

With regard to the poor tyres on 4WD - a lot of people have those really wide tyres these days and the comment has been made on another forum that these are the worst because they tend to float over the top rather than dig down to a more solid base. Maybe that has something to do with it??
 

Schneemann

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rabble said:
Re the proliferation of 4WD and AWD on the side of the road... I am thinking two things:

1. Over confidence; and
2. Poor tyre choice.
I agree totally with both points. I think, a lot of 4WD owners think they are invincible on the snow and over-estimate how much traction they have. From what I have read - and it makes sense - a car with only 2 wheels driving and chains fitted has more traction than a 4WD with no chains and standard road tyres.
 
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Addy'B'

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hey dudes...does it matter if u fit 14" chains on 15" wheels? we can make them fit and they will be fine, but is there a regulation or sumthing that in the off chance we get caught we wont be able to drive?
 

Mozz

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Schneemann said:
rabble said:
Re the proliferation of 4WD and AWD on the side of the road... I am thinking two things:

1. Over confidence; and
2. Poor tyre choice.
I agree totally with both points. I think, a lot of 4WD owners think they are invincible on the snow and over-estimate how much traction they have. From what I have read - and it makes sense - a car with only 2 wheels driving and chains fitted has more traction than a 4WD with no chains and standard road tyres.
As I have said on many occaisons 4WD still has the same 4 Wheels doing the brakeing gear assisted or otherwise, . Unfortunatly traction controls designed for Gravel and Mud etc DO NOT cope very well with compacted snow and ice at all.

Drive sensibly and SMOOTHLY and your worries will be minimised.

Mozz
 
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Mozz

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nepalesebeanie if your tightening links don't foul with the road you might get away with it , but in all honesty I wouldn't recommend it as ill fitting chains can cause a lot of damage should they come loose, like ripping panels, mud flaps, cutting brake lines and a host of other nasties.
Be very carefull
Mozz
 
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