Snow Chains

Submitted: Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 11:23
ThreadID: 5737 Views:1610 Replies:10 FollowUps:3
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Hi all,

I will be taking the family to the snow for the first time in a couple of months (Falls Creek).

The question I have is do I need to carry snow chains for the front & rear wheels ?

Is it worth buying my own chains so I could also use them in the mud, rather than just hire them for 1 trip ?

I have a Nissan GU Patrol.

Phil P

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Reply By: Tony - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 11:45

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 11:45
You are required to carry chains even in a 4WD and when instructed to fit the front is the best end, it gives you the abillity to steer the vehicle.

I belive you are best to have your own chains, diamond pattern if you can afford them, as they are the best for mud and snow. I have used both types of chains but with the diamond pattern it reduces the risk of sideways slip you can get with the ladder chains.
AnswerID: 23833

Reply By: Leroy - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:41

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:41
Hi Phil,

You only need one set of chains and if you need to fit them put them on the front wheels only. The roads to Falls Creek are usually fairly clear and I would be surprised if you had to fit them to a 4wd.

AnswerID: 23840

Reply By: Patrol22 - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:46

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 12:46

I was up in the NSW snow fields last season and 4WD were not required to carry chains - this included the softroaders like the forrester etc. You might like to check with the Cooma Visitors Centre (Freecall 1800 636 525) to see if the law has changed.
Enjoy your trip.
AnswerID: 23843

Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 13:02

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 13:02
If your only going to use them once a yr, hire them.
AnswerID: 23845

Reply By: Phil P - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 14:20

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 14:20
Thanks for your help !

AnswerID: 23852

Reply By: shaky - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 16:14

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 16:14
out of interest, what's the cost to hire / buy the (diamond) chains? thanks
AnswerID: 23865

Reply By: Michael - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 17:24

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 17:24
Hi Phil, you are not required to carry chains in most snowfields, but you can still get into trouble without them. Its easy to overcook on tight bends, snow needs your constant attention, even in 4 wheel drive. (speakng from experience). Most people suggest that you only need chains on the front, stands to reason i guess but i have not used chains BUT Nissan in the GU Patrol handbook suggest that you only use them on the rear, or you may damage the drivetrain. Hope this helps Michael.
AnswerID: 23868

Follow Up By: andy - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 19:59

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 19:59
This comment is actually untrue for victorian ski resorts. It has been passed through an act of parliament (over 15 years ago) that ALL vehicles entering Alpine resorts must carry chains and use them when directed. Fines last year were $165 and 3 demerit points. I have heard that this year the fine has been increased. You would be mad to not carry them as I have seen 3 foot of snow at victorian resort roads that have even stopped 4WD vehicles with chains on.
In NSW the rules are a bit different. For 4WD vehicles it is at owners discretion but all 2wd vehicles need to carry chanes and fit them when directed. You probably wont need to use them in a 4WD but I have lived and worked in the Vic and NSW resorts for 18 years and occasionally have to fit them. I was actually checked by the Vic Police on Saturday at 7.00 p.m. for chains and it hasnt snowed here for a week. I hope that this clears up any misconceptions. Andy
FollowupID: 16015

Reply By: Billf - Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 21:03

Monday, Jun 30, 2003 at 21:03
Andy, do you have a vested interest?
If you are correct??? do 4WD have to have chains on all wheels or only driving wheels (lazy axles) Bill
AnswerID: 23890

Follow Up By: andy - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 18:43

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 18:43
Hi Bill. No I dont have a vested interest. I manage a business in the snowfields that is not involved in chain hire or sales. I am just stating the facts about law in Vic and nsw. You dont have to follow my advice at all but you may be risking a fine and danger to yourself and other vehicle occupants if you dont use chains as directed. I have seen many vehicles go off alpine roads with and without chains. Some have ended up being fatal accidents and I have been on the scene to 2 bus crashes (both full) with chains fitted going off the side of the road. I have seen heaps of 2 and 4wheel drive vehicles roll off the road in all conditions. The worst time for cars is when the roads are clear of snow but have a wet layer on them. When the temp gets below zero (usually at dusk) the road turns to ice and all cars 2 or 4 WD have a heap of problems. In this situation chains can help but often they dont. The best way to drive in this situation is as slow as you possibly can. No sudden braking and give a gap of 50 metres. It can take 50 metres to stop even when travelling in first.

When fitting chains to 4wd vehicles the law says that you only need to fit 1 set. Front wheels are usually the best as it aids steering and traction. I actually have found that going uphill chains tend to give better traction when fitted to the rear wheels (steering is compromised though). When going downhill fitting to the front wheels usually gives the best results. Fitting 2 sets in icy conditions or deep snow will increase traction and lateral slip tremendously however noone ever does this. I fit 2 sets in extremely muddy conditions as it saves you having to use the whinch.
Hope this helps. Andy
FollowupID: 16089

Reply By: Steve L - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 08:18

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 08:18
It is law to carry snow chains - regardless of the vehicle type - in Victoria.

It is NOT required in NSW for 4WDs to carry chains.

If only carrying one set, put them on the front tyres to provide steering as well as power (when in 4WD or constant 4WD).

Best combination is ladder pattern on rear for power, diamond pattern on front for steering.
AnswerID: 23924

Reply By: Thommo - Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 16:09

Tuesday, Jul 01, 2003 at 16:09
You will need snow chains in the car regardless if there is snow or not (during the official snow season). If you are able to fit them on the front (check your manual) that is best. My Prado manual clearly states rear only.
Diamond pattern chains are also the best, and you can drive up to 80 kph with them fitted (good for in the bush between very muddy sections), however sensible driving is required at all times.
If there is ice around, just think that you are driving down a very, very slippery hill, you can't use your brakes, and every other car is a potential accident, even at very slow speeds. Take you time, allow heaps of room, and brake very slowly only if you have to. Lost of people do it well, some unfortunately don’t. You will find them off the road, against a tree or another car.
AnswerID: 23963

Follow Up By: Steve L - Wednesday, Jul 02, 2003 at 08:23

Wednesday, Jul 02, 2003 at 08:23

As per my email above, you do NOT have to carry chains in a 4WD in NSW, even during the official snow season. If you are inexperienced at snow/ice driving and feel they would be beneficial, you can CHOOSE to carry them and/or use them. Standard cars must have chains in the vehicle. I have never had to fit chains to a 4WD in NSW.

Victoria is another matter, and they must be carried by all vehicles.
FollowupID: 16144

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