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When are snow chains really necessary with a 4x4?

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Old 02-13-2012, 02:51 PM   #1
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Question When are snow chains really necessary with a 4x4?

For those of you with 4x4's and have snow / ice experience, when do you feel that snow chains are truly necessary?

Have you ever had to use them while off-roading?

Look forward to reading your responses.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:03 PM   #2
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I have never needed chains on 4wd trucks on the streets.

However when I was a kid my dad and his buddys during deer hunting would chain up on all 4 tires when it was muddy to get around the hills. It worked really good.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:07 PM   #4
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When the tires no longer get traction...
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:08 PM   #5
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...... Well, they're nice if you like stopping.

Its four wheel drive, not four wheel stop.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caduceus View Post
...... Well, they're nice if you like stopping.

Its four wheel drive, not four wheel stop.

Oh, it has four wheel stop too.

Pretty much every motor vehicle does.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:11 PM   #7
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Yes, I have a neighbor who needs them to get up his driveway in winter conditions...either on a FJ60 or a Rubicon with 33" Duratrec's with studs.

And when studs are prohibited, chains are your only way of moving with ice under snow.

Howard
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:17 PM   #8
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Off the road, no idea, never had to use chains.
but on the regular roads, if there is a need for chains on 4x4's then most likely the road is closed for everyone. Hate chains... and the weird annoying rattly ride hehehe.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:18 PM   #9
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i have never needed them for any on road conditions.

i did get stuck one evening last winter trying to get back up a curvy section of a steep hill on a non-paved (dirt) trail leading to a family lakeside cabin. there was a layer of ice underneath a few inches of snow and my tires were somewhat at the end of their useful life. i would get about halfway up the hill and as soon as i had to start turning, forward progress would stop and i would start to slide back down the hill sideways.

i first bought a set of chains for the rear tires. that "almost" worked. with a front set of chains in addition to the rears i was able to finally climb out. i am not positive, but with newer tires i might not have needed the chains.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:22 PM   #10
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chains actually do not help you stop faster, from what i have observed. i could be so wrong. in my understanding, the chains make it easier to gain traction in moving... again i could be so off, so correct me if i am...
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:03 PM   #11
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There are a few angles to this question. When I lived in heavy ice country I ran studs in the winter. 4x4 with studs with get down any road that is open for travel.

Now I spend a good deal of time in ice/snow country, but do not make daily commutes in it. I no longer have studs but I run centersiped tires that have proven themselves in these conditions. Without studs you pretty much have to slow down no matter what. Chains require slower speeds and it is very rare that a 4x4 will need them at slower speeds IF you have good tires for the purpose. Wide profile tires are a disaster in these conditions. You need narrow tires with soft rubber and siping. If you have wide tires, especially mud tires, you will need chains for conditions that others find quite managable without them. Good chains with a diamond pattern provide braking, acceleration, and lateral traction. I have seen conditions involving freezing rain that were so bad that vehicles were down to a crawl with anything but chains or studs, but those conditions are rare and you best to not drive unless you have too..

Offroad chains make a huge difference in both mud and snow. I run very narrow tires and I carry good chains that I use in these situation. A tall narrow chained tire is just about unbeatable in snow unless you are running arctic tires.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:05 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zimaura View Post
On the regular roads, if there is a need for chains on 4x4's then most likely the road is closed for everyone. Hate chains... and the weird annoying rattly ride hehehe.
X2
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:42 PM   #13
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last time i went snow wheeling i wish i had them, damn hill was like a skating rink but at a 15 degree angle, with a ditch on one side and a 150 foot cliff on the other. that was scary shit. now i never go snow wheeling without my chains. but i have never had the need to use chains on the streets even with my mud tires.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:43 PM   #14
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I have been stuck up before with chains on all four wheels in snow and mud.When enough snow or mud gets under the truck traction is lost.Time to dig out the come along.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:50 PM   #15
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There are times when the road is open but chains or studs are needed. I was caught in such a situation going down the Sylvan pass into Cody, Wy one winter and I was the last vehicle down the pass before it was closed for the winter. That was one white knuckle drive let me tell you. Anyone hwo has driven that stretch knows what I mean. I had no studs or chains and I drove the whole stretch at 20mph. If you travel in the winter in the mountains, you are wise to carry chains. You may not need them often but when you do, you'll be glad you had them.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:27 PM   #16
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I prefer to chain up when highway patrol says, "Chain up, or don't drive here. Or don't chain up, drive here, and get a $1500 fine. Also, if you don't chain up we don't tow you out; you're on your own."

I can only think of a couple times when we actually needed chains though. Growing up in Colorado, driving through the mountains we'd need them occasionally, during some storms the road is open and it's legal to drive as long as you have chains. My dad even used his in Oklahoma once, after a Christmas Eve ice storm. I was supposed to go to their house for Christmas dinner, and there were 2 hills between my house and his that were impassable with the ice. My dad chained up his truck and came to get me.

Also I was advised to buy some when I moved to North Dakota, and I did, but this winter was kind of a dud in terms of weather. Not that I mind.

But really... when it's that icy, I don't care how badass my truck is, I kinda prefer to stay home. I may be able handle the ice, but there are plenty of people who can't.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:47 PM   #17
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A lot depends on how well your local road dept. is prepared to handle freezing road conditions. Last year, the whole freaking city of ATL was closed for a week due to a lousy 6" snow "storm". Being an ER doctor - staying home from work was not an option for me. Fortunately, I had a set of chains for my truck and for two days during the week I commuted 50 miles round trip on I75 with my chains and only only shared the road with about 6 other vehicles each way. I lost count of all the "4WD" or "AWD" SUVs lying sideways or in the road ditches. That $90 set of chains paid for themselves 1000X over during those two days.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:05 PM   #18
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I have "V" chains for all four tires (although front ones don't fit between tires and UCA's on my tacoma) and have found that while offroading the chains are useless in deep snow and dry powder. They are great for super compact and solid ice conditions however.

In deeper snow they want to dig through the snow and end up getting the truck high-centred in the snow. In these conditions you're way better off airing down and going slow in an attempt to float on top of the snow.

I have found chains to be more useful in deep slippery mud where you need to dig down to grip on to solid ground when climbing, etc... However if the mud is over a foot deep, you might run into the same high-centering problems as with the snow.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jandrews View Post
When the tires no longer get traction...
x2

I always have them on winter road trips. Don't usually need them, but when you do it's them or a wrecker. A lot of roads here aren't maintained in the winter, so if you slip off the packed center you're mostly done. So far I haven't needed a wrecker since carrying chains...I've read they are like a 300% traction improvement!
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crom View Post
For those of you with 4x4's and have snow / ice experience, when do you feel that snow chains are truly necessary?

Have you ever had to use them while off-roading?

Look forward to reading your responses.
You will know when you get there young grass hopper
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