Snow chains on 4x4?

Submitted: Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 21:44
ThreadID: 107732 Views:2273 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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Have driven the old falcon on the snow on dirt roads plenty of times, never (touch wood) come to grief using simple smart driving practice. Actually often used to get asked by passing 4x4's if 'i was ok' when i was stopped on the side of the road doing whatever!

About to own a 150 series diesel Prado. Read a bit about diesel fuels, air filters etc etc

Just wondering if I decide to venture up on the highway or the dirt, do people normally use chains or are 4x4 much more capable (driver dependent)? Obvious answer is it's a good safety precaution to carry them, just wondering what other people do. Kosciusko says 4x4's are exempt, but from what i read people lose it just as easily by bad driving practice in 4x4 as 2WD's up there.

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Reply By: mikehzz - Monday, May 12, 2014 at 05:33

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 05:33
I think the 3 most important words you wrote are "smart driving practice". People come to grief even in very capable cars because they drive as if they are on an autobahn when they are in fact driving in potentially dangerous conditions. Not all modern 4wd's have the same traction systems so it pays to familiarise yourself with how your car reacts to loss of traction so you can respond correctly for the car. Obviously you have the Falcon down pat, time to learn how a Prado responds? I'm sure you will be thinking "how long has this been going on" once you get it right, but don't get lulled into the false sense of security that may have trapped the others you have read about.
AnswerID: 532306

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Monday, May 12, 2014 at 05:41

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 05:41
Sorry, should have mentioned, I've never had to put chains on the 4wd in the snow country in NSW. I've driven on snow covered tar and dirt roads numerous times. I drive at "chain" speeds though.
FollowupID: 815546

Reply By: Les PK Ranger - Monday, May 12, 2014 at 10:19

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 10:19
Some resort roads it's compulsory for all vehicles to carry chains on their access roads, others not it seems (haven't driven NSW alps roads).
Sometimes 4wds are directed to fit chains the same time as 2wds, other times later than 2wds, sometimes not at all.

If you're going to be doing a lot of snow driving, I'd buy a set to have if needed either way.

A lot would depend on tyres you are running too . . . I imagine a good aggressive AT or MT tyre will be far better than a medium or low aggressive road type AT.

First time I drove to Falls Ck in the 4wd, the roads were clear all the way, but still had to hire / carry.

Obviously on all other roads, dirt or bitumen, or tracks that are open, it's up to you if you feel the need to fit.

I believe fitting to the front wheels on a 4wd is recommended.
AnswerID: 532324

Reply By: 671 - Monday, May 12, 2014 at 10:25

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 10:25
A few years ago while living in Tumbarumba and visiting relatives in Tumut, we took a few kids up to Mt Selwin for the day. We had chains but the road and skies were clear so we did not need them. On the way home a snow storm came out of nowhere. We were almost out of the snow line on the Snowy Mts. Hwy. and going up a long hill in a line of traffic at about 20 ks per hour {nobody had chains) when a Range Rover in front of me slowly stopped and started sliding backwards. So much for 4x4s not needing chains. I drove around him and for some unknown reason my Peugeot kept going, as did all the other cars in front of me. From what I could see of them when we got out of the snow a few minutes later, they were all either 2wds or AWDs. I don't know what happened to those following me because they were not there anymore.

It does not matter how many wheels you have driving, if the tyres can't grip the icy road surface, the car can go off in any direction. I would never take my 4x4 up there without them and would not hesitate in putting them on.
AnswerID: 532325

Reply By: lj_eco - Monday, May 12, 2014 at 18:22

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 18:22
Righto, so really having 4WD, ESC, EBD etc etc makes little difference compared to 2WD once you get on the white stuff (snow i mean, argh). Common sense snow driving with chains as backup?
AnswerID: 532358

Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, May 12, 2014 at 18:46

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 18:46
We always carry chains LJ , permanent fixture, nothing else can buy you that traction so cheaply in muddy ground or snow but more particularly in Aussie land - ICE.

The Prado's are our most top heavy big wagon and will transfer weight off the inside wheels , even around a slight bend much more than your falcon. There is not a lot the cars 4wd system can do about sideways drift in ICE as there is simply less weight over those wheels.
Government testing has shown that chains can cut into it and deliver some 400% or more traction than tyres can , so if your not planning to just follow the crowd then its a no brainer.
Robin Miller

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AnswerID: 532361

Follow Up By: lj_eco - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 02:40

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 02:40
There are some things I'm going to miss about the falcon!! Chsonsy it is.
FollowupID: 815643

Follow Up By: lj_eco - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 02:41

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 02:41
Sorry, typing on phone. 'Chains it is'. Cheers !
FollowupID: 815644

Reply By: Member - KeithB - Monday, May 12, 2014 at 21:06

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 21:06
A mate of mine recommends putting a chain on two diagonally opposite wheels and then turning on all three diff locks. Does that make sense?
AnswerID: 532377

Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Monday, May 12, 2014 at 21:37

Monday, May 12, 2014 at 21:37
I have always put them on the front(steering) wheels.
Where the front wheels go, the rear will follow :)

Worked well on an Austin 1800 many years ago too.

FollowupID: 815633

Follow Up By: Member - Allan L2 - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 12:06

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 12:06
Be guided by your vehicle handbook/manual. Some 4x4's with independent front suspension have a clearance problem between the snow chains & suspension/steering components & may cause wheel lockup. My Colorado manual warns to be fitted to rear wheels only.
FollowupID: 815658

Reply By: Sigmund - Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 06:46

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at 06:46
In Vic ski resorts you have to carry chains. At Hotham they have to be diamond pattern. I believe NSW was proposing to mandate chains too, and that would include the Alpine Way.

AT treads make a minor difference. Snow packs the grooves. Soft rubber improves the grip but that means a set of winter tyres.

You can readily hire chains if your tyres are fairly standard. Otherwise just buy some Chinese diamond pattern from eBay.

I've driven a Forester for 5 years with numerous snow trips and never needed to fit my chains - but have seen a number of SUVs lose it up there.
AnswerID: 532387

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