Snow chains, front or back?

Submitted: Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 18:55
ThreadID: 14290 Views:8404 Replies:6 FollowUps:5
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Hey Guys, just quick one, whre would you put your chains when driving on the snow (in 4x4 for mode of course) front or back wheels?
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Reply By: floyd - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:07

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:07
Depends if you want good traction or good steering.

When I go uphill in snow and mud I put em on the back wheels. Great traction. The only disadvantage is that the steering is compromised in this configeration.

If I am going downhill in slippery conditions I put em on the front wheels and it gives you better steering and braking.

It is really unusual to have to fit chains on a 4WD with good tyres. Only once in 20 years of working in the Australian/North American mountains have I ever had to fit them at all.

Most soft roaders and cars like WRX's and the like are fitted with a street tyre only and will need them when 2WD vehicles have to fit them. Saw a brand new WRX write off the whole front and left side on the Mt Buller rd last weekend. He had not put chains on and it was as slippery as a warm eel. BANG!!! Major damage.

Most AT tyres are pretty good in the snow and will not need chains if the tread is reasonable.
AnswerID: 66005

Follow Up By: floyd - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:15

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:15
Forgot to mention that the new Holden 4WD vehicles are struggling up here. 4 were smashed after the first snowfall by experienced snow drivers. The tyres are the main problem with them not being suited to the snow. I saw one being lowered down a slippery section of road by a Troopy in low range.

The second problem is the 4WD system. It apparently only cuts in when the vehicle is going above 8KM's per hour. As a lot of snow driving is done at low speeds the vehicles are trying to drive in slippery conditions only in 2WD.

The major companies up here are looking at tyre options for these vehicles and so far there does not seem to be a suitable option. We have 15 of the new holdens in wagon andduel cab versions and they go like the clappers on the highway but are struggling in the snow.
FollowupID: 326844

Reply By: Dave from Fraser Coast 4WD Club - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:14

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:14
I came across a story last year that demonstrated a 'what if' with the chains on the front, it essentially said that the rear of the car can overtake the front, by sliding out.

I've only driven buses with chains, never needed them in the 4by (yet), I'm sure people from higher altitudes than I will give you a definative answer!
AnswerID: 66007

Follow Up By: floyd - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:20

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:20
Have seen that up here. It may happen if the vehicle was put in a full brake lock situation. Putting them on the rear would stop this however then you would loose any steering advantage going downhill. In fact the steering downhill would be pretty bloody dangerous in icy conditions.

Last night I saw about 5 vehicles do 180s when driving home. Usually I cruse down in 3rd and it takes me 20 minutes. Last night we had a big freeze on top of 3 hours of rain with 3 inches of snow on top. As slippery as hell. took me 1 hour to do the same 20 minute trip. Just cralled down in second.
FollowupID: 326845

Reply By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:32

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:32
I remember an earlier post a in the last few months talking about softroaders and chains. It is causing the Alpine cops all sorts of grief working out the definition of 4WD/AWD because of rules that say you only have to carry chains in a 4WD but all other cars have to actually stop and fit them at the fitting bays. Things like the Honda CRV that have the on-demand AWD that cuts in too slowly are making the cops redefine thier interpetation of the rules in order to protect the overconfident from themselves. Cars like the entire Subaru range are fine but some of the Volvos are apparently not. Adventra, as mentioned above, seems to be struggling.

My Prado had steering components behind the front wheels with only about 10mm clearance to the tyre which precludes fitting chains to the front. Getting a set in the right size for 17" wheels may also be a challenge. With A/T tyres I should not need them at all but it is really important for each vehicle owner to find out the most approriate fitting for their individual vehicle depending on the type of drivetrain and tyres.

One of these days I may actually have a chance to get to the snow and try it all out!!!

AnswerID: 66011

Follow Up By: Member - Camper (SA) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 22:06

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 22:06
Just goes to show you. The more responsibility you hand over to technology the more strife you have
FollowupID: 326909

Reply By: Swerv - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:55

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 19:55
Personally I would place the chains on the front. There doesn't seem to be much point of having all this traction in the snow if you can't point it in the right direction. You sure as hell don't want to be clawing your way over the edge of the road and down a steep embankment. Just an observation though.
AnswerID: 66022

Follow Up By: Well 55 - Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 07:18

Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 07:18
I work on front for snow and rear for mud and hill climbing.

But always drive to suit the conditions.
FollowupID: 326945

Follow Up By: ToyMotor - Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 19:13

Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 19:13
Personally I would NEVER put chains on the front. In a slide, you will end up going downhill backwards! If you find that you've lost steering, at least you can slow down enough to regain control, or stop.

FollowupID: 327011

Reply By: Member - Dragan T (VIC) - Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:21

Thursday, Jul 01, 2004 at 20:21
Looks like I'll have to get 2 sets : )

Thanx for the advice everyone!!!!
AnswerID: 66032

Reply By: DARREN - Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 13:08

Friday, Jul 02, 2004 at 13:08
Not actually an aswer to your question but Last Sunday went for my first snow drive, there were 3 GU's. Leroy with 285/75/16 BFG MT fared much better without chains that us other two with cooper 285/75/16 ST with chains (on rear)!
AnswerID: 66137

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