Snow Chains

Discussion in 'RLC' started by Slightly_Nasty, Jan 1, 2010.

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  1. Guys,
    Been having a few problems with a bit of snow lately, and have to regularly travel on un-gritted country roads. Obviously, I would prefer to avoid the expense and hassle of buying winter tyres just for a few weeks per year, but a set of snow chains to keep in the boot wouldn't stretch the budget too much.
    Problem: I drive an X-Type auto "All Wheel Drive", and have been told that I can't fit snow chains, either because of the permanent AWD or the auto, I forget which as I was slightly drunk when it was explained to me.
    Rather than spending several weeks researching it to find out if it's true and why, I thought I would ask the experts.
  2. I'm not an expert but I recall that so-called AWD cars need the tyres to slip and if you fit them with chains, they can't slip. So, the gearbox gets all wound up - or something like that!

    If you need an improved winter capability, why not fit winter tyres? Take them off in the spring, though!

  3. Ah well, thanks for explaining it, mate.
    And like I said, winter tyres not worth the cost or hassle, so I'll crack on with what I have.
  4. Got told this one with the Chrysler 300 that I have, something to do with it being an auto. Only reason I had to look in the first place was that I had to drive to an outskirt of Wolverhampton where apparently gritting lorries were a thing from the future and snow was a pretty thing to leave on the roads.

    Looked around on the net and was basically told it was b0llocks, the limited slip difs and all the other contraptions will work just fine if you turn the traction control off, it was something to do with the extra traction that snow chains give putting extra stress on the dif when the TC was trying to assign drive to wheels.

    Turned out i never had to go there so never put it into practice, so don't blame me if your axles explode, it was off the web.

  5. Its late and I have been at the malt, however, IIRC,AWD vehicles have a centre differential in gearbox to overcome this, part time 4WD like early Lrover,Suzuki SJ suffer from what you state
  6. I've just put my chains on a spare set of tyres for the landrover. On normal tyres we are effectively iced in, 400m up a farm track with several lumps and bumps, all sheet ice.

    I can't see a problem with chains on permanent 4WD vehicles - all LR 90/100 are permanent 4WD. Auto box should not be a problem either.

    What might be a problem is the legality of using chains on the road. I'm using mine on a private track - but I doubt Plod would be happy if I drove into town on them.... We've parked another car with friends at the road-end, next to the nice tarmac...
  7. as someone who has put on chains over a 100 times on various vehicles (I worked at a ski hill where access on many days required mandatory chains and I drove a staff van) I can say the best thing is to check with the manufacturer of your car as there are a few a factors to consider. Wheel clearance, type of wheel, chains can wreck alloy wheels. and also all wheel drive.
    In the UK you are most likely better off getting a set of winter tyres or just staying off the road for a couple of days. chains would be overkill.
    If you do buy chains make sure you buy the chain type and not the wire ones which do not last. A correctly sized set of chain can be fitted in 10 minutes but expect to get muddy, burnt from the exhaust and wet a cold. They are a pain in the arrse to fit. you also need a good set of bungies to stop them knocking the hell out of the wheel well. also practice doing it during he summer when it is dry, you do not lay them down and drive over them. You throw them over the top of the tyre and hook them up, there is not reason to move the vehicle during installation.
  8. Although I have no familiarity with your car I come from a snowy part of the US and work for a city government that has lots of vehicles that truly have to go out in the snow. The trend is very stongly against chains and for winter tires. 20 years ago, at the start every storm, all police, fire, public works vehicles would get chains put on. Most of the sedans for police and fire are Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors (CVPI) and they get through all but heavy snow quite well. There has been a trend, due to a very green city council, to go to Toyota Prius and Honda hybrid vehicles. These are front wheel drive and in general FWD vehicles really do not do well in snow.

    Chains can do a lot of damage to a car, esp disc brakes and the drive train in FWD vehicles. The 4WD sports utilities are the best in snow and police and fire still have a few. I take a city car home and had a 4WD SUV assigned for years but a few years ago was changed to a CVPI in the interests of greenness. The result is that if the snow is bad I drive my own SUV to work. If the chains get loose they can chew through a fender or brake line in a few minutes. We still use chains on fire trucks as they have excellent fender clearance and HAVE to get where they are going. Public works keeps chains for all plows and salters but most of the time do not need them. By the way, we usually use salt in preference to sand or a sand/salt mix as sand is cheaper but clogs storm drains and drain cleaning costs more than buying salt. We do add a liquid calcium chloride to the salt if the temp drops below 0 F (-18 C).

    By the way, we always mount snow tires on their own rims so in spring and fall the wheels can be switched without mounting tires and rebalancing the wheels.

    I would strongly suggest that you buy winter tires and rims. More money than chains but less than paying for fenders, brakes etc damaged by chains. I am not a car expert but I have racked up a lot of miles driving in the stuff.
  9. I had a look at these things a while ago. It seems that there can be problems with them. No one seems to want to say how effective they are on sheet ice. The things are good on fresh snow but on compacted snow it seems that's a different matter; which is why a lot of the alpine resorts will not allow them.

    My bold

  10. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    Depending on your wheel size/displacement a friend of mine has a set of winter tyres with one season's use that he is looking to sell, based near Southampton. Let me know if you are interested.
  11. I've driven Land Rover Discovery 3 with snow chains for a couple of years (not in the UK), including with the funny 'Snow and Ice mode' traction control gizmo enabled.

    Only had one drama when the chains were attached to the front wheels, whereby the edge of a chain caught a fuel line near the wheel arch. Minor issue as it pissed fuel everywhere.

    Lesson learnt....snow chains on the REAR WHEELS!!

    Edited to add: it was an auto LR3 too.
  12. Dorissimo had little trouble getting her socks on I note (in vid)
  13. I have an impreza which is AWD, and the owners book encourages the use of snow chains but only on the front two wheels, not on all four, so I cant see your AWD being a problem??