Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Yosemite Valley

The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (68% of Full)

JanSport - Accept no Imitations. The Original Backpack since 1967.


Advanced

Using snow chains (cables)

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

avatar Using snow chains (cables)
January 06, 2008 12:39PM
as often as i've been to Yosemite in the winter, i've never had to put chains on... i'm not accustomed to using chains, though i know how to put mine on.

my question is this: i have 4WD Honda Element, but if the snow is super bad, is it best to buy and put chains on all four tires? or is that over kill? will it perform better? has anyone ever done that?

any suggestions are welcome.

btw, i was told that these chains were one of the best, anyone have a set of these?

http://www.scc-chain.com/Traction%20Pages/Trac_SGZ.html



Post Edited (01-06-08 14:45)



Like I always say, "if you can't laugh at yourself, let me do it".

My Yosemite Blog: http://yosemiteforrest.blogspot.com/
Re: Using snow chains (cables)
January 06, 2008 03:42PM
Several things:

This is well covered at:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/chains.htm


1. If you have 4wd or AWD, you only need to put the chains on one axle

2. There are no cables that are anywhere near as good as chains. I've been caught in areas where they would let people with chains go, cables no go.

From the yos website:
"Chains provide better traction than cables, however cables are easier to install; both are acceptable under the law. Your vehicle's owner's manual may specify that you use cables, not chains."

3. Even if you have 4wd, if chain controls go up, you MUST be carrying chains/cables, and they will generally inspect you for them. If you don't have them, you don't go through. This is a common control level.

From the California Dept of Transportation website:

Chain Requirements:
R1: Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles.
R2: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.

(NOTE: Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)
R3: Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.

R1 and R2 are the most common conditions. The highway is usually closed before an R3 condition is imposed.
Re: Using snow chains (cables)
January 08, 2008 07:33PM
I have a 2wd honda element and those resemble the chains I have.
Re: Using snow chains (cables)
January 09, 2008 07:24AM
I've had great luck with cables on everything from modest fresh snow to ice; and chains just won't fit on my vehicle without mashing up the paint job. The clearance is just too close.

I won't go driving through heavy unplowed snow anyway.





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Using snow chains (cables)
January 10, 2008 06:27AM
i just read my owners manuel, and i can't use chains, i have to use cables.
avatar Re: Using snow chains (cables)
January 10, 2008 07:09AM
forrestranger wrote:

> as often as i've been to Yosemite in the winter, i've never had
> to put chains on... i'm not accustomed to using chains, though
> i know how to put mine on.
>
> my question is this: i have 4WD Honda Element, but if the snow
> is super bad, is it best to buy and put chains on all four
> tires? or is that over kill? will it perform better? has anyone
> ever done that?

Two is usually enough. You're rarely going to need chains/cables with AWD unless there's a lot of ice. You won't want them on one axle if there's no snow/ice, as they'll bind the AWD system. When there's low traction, I understand it's fairly easy on an AWD system as the tires slip.

Of course real winter tires would be an ideal solution, but the expense can be justified only if you spend a lot of time driving in the snow.

> any suggestions are welcome.
>
> btw, i was told that these chains were one of the best, anyone
> have a set of these?
>
> http://www.scc-chain.com/Traction%20Pages/Trac_SGZ.html

I've been thinking of getting a pair of SCC Super Z6 tire cables. They're the next step up from the cables you referenced, and can fit ultra-low clearance applications (less than half of "class S" requirements). In any case, the diagonal cables are considerably easier to install, and don't require/accept an adjustment once you get them on with the chain tightener (essentially a big rubber band with clips). The procedure is to sweep them under the tire, fasten the two clips at the top, fasten the clip on the bottom, hook up the tightener to take up the slack, repeat on the other tire, and off you go. I saw someone installing a set of Super Z6 cables on a 2WD Toyota Tundra last Feb just before the South Entrance station. I'm thinking of getting a pair for my WRX and maybe one for my wife's Civic (although we're probably not taking it in the snow). I played with a set at Wilderness Exchange in Berkeley, and they are relatively easy to install compared to ladder-type cables. Amazon.com has some great prices on them.

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&search-alias=automotive&field-brandtextbin=SCC

I've got some ladder cables, which I've tried installing in my garage for practice. Big honking pain trying to get them on tight (and reaching the back at the bottom). I stuff them in the trunk, but have never been asked to show them. I've been past chain checkpoints on US-50, I-80, CA-89, and Wawona Road - always one look at my left front tire, see the Subaru logo, and a wave through. I've never been asked to show the chains, but when I ask they usually tell me that I'm supposed to have them. An LE ranger was manning the checkpoint last Feb from the Valley to Wawona Road.



Post Edited (01-10-08 10:17)
Re: Using snow chains (cables)
January 10, 2008 11:03AM
ypw wrote:

"I've got some ladder cables, which I've tried installing in my garage for practice. Big honking pain trying to get them on tight (and reaching the back at the bottom). I stuff them in the trunk, but have never been asked to show them. I've been past chain checkpoints on US-50, I-80, CA-89, and Wawona Road - always one look at my left front tire, see the Subaru logo, and a wave through. I've never been asked to show the chains, but when I ask they usually tell me that I'm supposed to have them. An LE ranger was manning the checkpoint last Feb from the Valley to Wawona Road."

I usually install the ladder chains so that I attach and then snug them at the top, with the tire turned inward or outward for better reach. Easy and quick. Give it a try.

Last week on Friday afternoon, there was a ranger on that same roadway at about 5,000 feet 2 miles beyond the tunnel, apparently enforcing the R1 restrictions for the roadway to the south. I could not understand why - it was not yet snowing *anywhere*, and it was far too warm to ice. Chains were certainly not needed except on Glacier Point Road at the time. Why do they do these things?

Interestingly, the more important motorist problems were along 140 below the Valley - rocks as big as tires kept on bouncing down on to the road.





Wilderness forever,
Bruce Jensen
avatar Re: Using snow chains (cables)
January 10, 2008 11:32AM
bpnjensen wrote:

> I usually install the ladder chains so that I attach and then
> snug them at the top, with the tire turned inward or outward
> for better reach. Easy and quick. Give it a try.

The instructions that come with my cables say one should lay them from the top, fastening at the bottom (bottom rear is a pain to reach), drive about 20 ft, and readjust. They also say one can use chain tighteners, although I've got 18" bungee cords with a single knot - 12" is too short and I couldn't find 16" which would be ideal. I know traditionally one lays cables/chains on the ground, drives over them, fasten at the top, then drive a few feet and tighten further. OTOH - I hear the big pain is centering properly and stopping at a point where you can easily reach the fasteners.

> Last week on Friday afternoon, there was a ranger on that same
> roadway at about 5,000 feet 2 miles beyond the tunnel,
> apparently enforcing the R1 restrictions for the roadway to the
> south. I could not understand why - it was not yet snowing
> *anywhere*, and it was far too warm to ice. Chains were
> certainly not needed except on Glacier Point Road at the time.
> Why do they do these things?

I remember in Dec 2005 Glacier Point Road had R1 conditions but I never saw a single chain checkpoint on the way to Badger Pass. It was unseasonably warm in the rest of Yosemite.

I went through a chain checkpoint on CA-89 once. There was no snow/ice and barely any slush. I did see one escaped tire cable (you see a few of these on US-50 going through South Lake Tahoe too). I guess the difference between Yosemite and Tahoe is that at the latter you'll find tons of independent licensed installers along the side of the road just before the chain checkpoints. In Yosemite you'll either have to do it yourself, although I think the service station in Yosemite Village might be able to do it for you.

> Interestingly, the more important motorist problems were along
> 140 below the Valley - rocks as big as tires kept on bouncing
> down on to the road.

OK. Sounds like fun.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login