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Educate me on tire chains

ss20

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Many of you know....just moved to Utah...working at Alta. And that means LCC everyday, in all conditions. I just got a 2011 Hyundai Tucson with AWD and a computerized 4WD lock button (if it's anything like my old Toyota.... the computer will "command" equal power to both axels, and work up to a speed of roughly 25mph before it goes back to AWD control). It has really nice all season tires, and getting a new set of snows is something I don't want to spring for at this time due to financial, spatial, and time constraints.



So educate me on snow chains. I don't think I've ever seen a pair in all my time back East (on a car).

Here's what I know... I should know how to put them on/take off before I need them, and practice. So when it's snowing and cold I'm not messing around with something new.

Here's what I don't know... what's the grip level of good chains vs good snow tires? How fast can I go (I know it's slow...don't know how slow). Would driving them on a plowed road damage them? Heck...I hate to admit this...I can't tell if the chains on Autozone are a set of 1,2, or 4. Prices range from $50-$200. I struggle to believe that's per chain given a decent snow tire for a compact SUV goes for under $150.

I'd appreciate any real-world help. Googling this topic is not giving me much "first hand" experience/tips.
 

ThatGuy

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Snow chains are substantially less expensive than snow tires – to some folks, that fact alone may tip the scales in favor of chains.

Snow chains also provide the greatest amount of traction on ice, packed snow, and deep snow. Snow tires don’t do as well as snow chains in deep snow.

Another great feature of chains: you can easily install and remove them yourself! This makes them a fantastic option if you don’t typically need winter weather traction and are only traveling through inclement conditions temporarily.

Don’t forget: If you have chains on your tires, you should not (and in some places, cannot) drive on dry pavement. Driving on dry pavement with chains will not only damage the roadway but will be a bone-rattling experience for all inside the vehicle. Some people equate driving with chains on dry pavement to the feeling of driving with square-shaped tires.

While in use, you should plan to drive at a very low speed and should only use them when necessary to avoid potential damage to your vehicle.
 

Kingslug20

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I know snow tires might not be a good option for you but I still think overall are a better option. I have never had an issue with the Blizzaks I use in any condition. I imagine storing them will be a problem though. Chains have a lot of limitations.
Tire storage in SLC: https://wheelwerks.net/tire-storage-salt-lake-city-ut
 

Smellytele

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Tire chains are great for what they do (great for climbing slowly up LCC or access road to Bolton or Mt Ellen) but you have to drive real slow and that is when you should be using them anyway. Not for use when driving more than 25mph. As you noted they are way less expensive than snow tires. Getting them on when your hands are cold and it is snowing isn't much fun either.
 

jimk

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Chains could work well for your financial situation. They make any vehicle bullet-proof in snow. The odds are you'd only need them a handful (5) times this winter and be able to get by fine with the all seasons most of the time. You could also choose to ride the buses if needed on a snow day. My son and I have Subies. Since he lives in UT he puts snows on them in winter. I keep only all seasons on mine. Chains are inconvenient, but that's an ok tradeoff for the cost savings. Maybe at some point you'll see some kind of deal on snows that you could go for. There was a day this past April when two inches of snow fell while I was skiing at Snowbird. The drive down the access road at 3PM was slick as hell and scary. I wished I'd had chains for my Subie on that drive!
 

Edd

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I know snow tires might not be a good option for you but I still think overall are a better option. I have never had an issue with the Blizzaks I use in any condition. I imagine storing them will be a problem though. Chains have a lot of limitations.
Tire storage in SLC: https://wheelwerks.net/tire-storage-salt-lake-city-ut
Shit, I’ve looked for this kind of service in NH and failed to find anything.
 

Not Sure

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I live off road and last year was crazy even with plowing my road was horrible. I have a van with 16” wheels and used my chains daily for three weeks. There a pia but bullet proof on wet ice .
I had no problem with 2wd on ice until things got either rutted or partially melting in the sun .
I think they were $100.00 for a set .
I definitely would not use them on a hard surface for any distance. Chances are you are ok with all seasons except for a few times a year but for the money and minimal space they take up its worth the investment.

Practice for sure! I have a friend that has 2 blocks cut to fit between the chain space so when he drives forward the tire is on the block and he can maneuver the chain to tighten them around the wheel .
 

abc

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Chains are not as scary as people make it. The key is drive slowly so you don’t break it (that’s the scary part, the broken chain can do real damage to you car)

Putting it on is a hassle. Taking it off is a breeze. Keep a set of old glove (and a matt) for the task. Try it in your dry driveway, you’ll understand the why part instantly
 
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jimmywilson69

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For those of you saying he will only need chains a few times a year. Don't they regularly require snow tires or chains up the canyons when it snows?
 

Kingslug20

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After watching people on all seasons crash all over the place when that November storm hit a few years ago.. I figured all seasons were not that good in some situations...having snow tires on for 6 months a year works pretty well in all situations..I would not trust all seasons on the road up to Alta...
 

Not Sure

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After watching people on all seasons crash all over the place when that November storm hit a few years ago.. I figured all seasons were not that good in some situations...having snow tires on for 6 months a year works pretty well in all situations..I would not trust all seasons on the road up to Alta...
Lol I ordered chains that year. Took me 3 hrs to go 15 miles. I parked a quarter mile from home and walked uphill. My chains were in the mailbox 🤪
 

tumbler

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Aren't there times when chains are mandatory in LCC or is that only in BCC?
 

deadheadskier

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Only had them once for similar reasons; financial and storage. They made my FWD car an absolute tank. That said, after one winter I had had enough. It just drove me nuts swapping them on for often just an hours use before the roads were clear enough to not want to drive at a turtles pace. The following season I found the $ and negotiated summer tire storage for the same price with the place I bought the snows from. I've never not had snow tires since.
 

mister moose

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I have a friend that has 2 blocks cut to fit between the chain space so when he drives forward the tire is on the block and he can maneuver the chain to tighten them around the wheel .

This is a great idea. Putting on chains does take practice and even then there's times when they just don't want to go on easily. If they're a close fit tire inflation is a factor.

The question in your case isn't going to be so much will they work. The question is more

Will I bother to put them on every time vs risking it "for only a short distance" and having the all seasons let you down to where you go off the road.
Being able to put them on at night, or in the cold, or in soft conditions? (Like when the car is outside and an unexpected snow falls, and now you need chains)
DO NOT underestimate the increased difficulty putting on chains in soft conditions vs clean dry pavement.

If you have 17 inch 60 series tires, if/when you buy a set of snows, find a cheap set of 15 inch steel rims that will fit and buy 70 or 75 series snow tires. The difference is considerable.
 
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ss20

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And yes, I LOVE good snow tires, and that's certainly the direction I'll head in the future (as I've done almost all winters). But I don't have the time, $$, or space. I'm getting the car today, and start Monday....which happens to be the day our first storm in three weeks rolls in! So it's going to have to be chains picked up from the local Autozone.
 

djd66

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Not sure what the issue would be with getting snow tires? Think of it this way, no matter what tires you have on your car, you get a certain amount of wear/miles driven on any tire. So lets say you drive 30K miles per year and you get 30K miles out of your regular season tires before they wear out. You are buying a set of tires every year. But now, you buy a second set of tires that you use for 6 months (winter),... now you will not be buying new tires as often.

For $600, you should be able to get the winter tires you need and should be driving with.
 
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