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Chains on a 4WD SUV

Ihave a 2008 Toyota 4Runner 4WD. I have received different advice on how to use chains on a 4WD vehicle. One says to use the chains on the back and keep it in 2WD mode. Another says to put them on the front wheels and keep it in 4WD mode. Yet another says to put chains on all 4 wheels. Can anyone help me out with the best way to use chains with 4WD. Thanks!

Since you have already made the decision that chains are required, (just using your 4wd capability will not be enough) use the chains on all 4 wheels and use you 4wd.

Its easier to put the chains on when you are not already stuck.

What would be the motivation for not using your 4wd or not chaining all wheels?

If you only have one pair of chains, you’ll get the most traction using them in the front. This is how I run them on 4x4’s and it works great.

Make sure they clear the fender wells when you turn though.

I have an 04 4Runner and have aggressive snow-muds with studs, live “off road” and NEVER considered using chains on this beast.(Only on my Kabota) It’s outstanding as is. What compels you to risk damage to the wheels and wells of such an expensive vehicle ?

Chains should not be needed. Use the 4WD to get unstuck. You are talking about driving on roads, aren’t you? If not, you may be beyond help. Got winch?

Are you doing chains because??? Maybe you drive mountain passes where they can require them? If not, are you talking on road or off? If on road, is it city or back farm roads?

Maybe you would be better off with a nice set of four winter tyres.

More information would help.

Exactly…couldn’t agree more.

I feel chains are for substandard (2wd) vehicles or vehicles with substandard tires, trying to go places in emergency situations they weren’t meant to go. We use them here for skidder and tractor work because every day is an emergency.
A 4Runner does everything that it was intended to do with proper tires and no chains…assuming you have the 4wd model.

I would suggest mounting a 2 inch receiver hitch front and rear with a hitch mounted electric winch. It will get you out of ANY short distance trouble you’ll think you need chains for w/o the change over work.

I did that with a Tacoma and used it for “driving” trailers, clearing blow downs any freeing others from ditches while still traveling off road safely and NEVER putting by truck or myself at risk.

Unless you will be driving off-road, you should never need chains with this vehicle. Spend the money on driving lessons instead.

First of all, I have never needed chains with a 4WD vehicle (this is my 4th) but there are times when the mountain passes have chains required for ALL vehicles. Now, if I have only one set how should they be used? Or should I quit going up there and take driving lessons instead?

When you say “chains are required for all vehicles” are the authorities making any rules about how they want a 4wd vehicle chained up?

Are they saying at least one axel must be chained,you decide which?

In Tucson here we have one mountain road that gets closed by snow,they say either chains or 4wd not both

In Colorado, the law reads “Chains or adequate snow tires”. The only vehicles FORCED to chain up are semi-trucks.

If you only have one set of chains and you feel you must install them, put them on the REAR axle for the following reasons. The rear axle is stronger and can take the abuse generated by chains. There is more fender clearance in the rear. Should a chain break, there is less stuff to get damaged in the rear. And keep in mind, with chains installed, maximum speed is 20mph or you risk chain breakage and all the fun THAT involves…

Before you attempt to install a set of chains by the side of the road in a snowstorm, you should practice doing it on a nice sunny day in your driveway. Remove or tie back extra links you do not need. The “hook link” goes on the back side of the tire and the fold-over locking link goes on the outside of the tire. A set of “chain tensioners” are handy but a pair of those black solid rubber bungee cords work just as well if not better to take the slack out. You want the chains on as tight as you can get them by hand…

If you off road in enough snow it is helpful to have chains. Even loggers use chains.

Skidders and tractors don’t have at risk fenders ( can stand on mine) or exposed components (brakes and lines) and are made to run with chains…the plastic liners on a 4Runner, 4 wheel exposed diac brakes, all beg assault from a broken or stretched chain. The dealer would love to see you use them…then return for the thousands in potential repair of such an expensive not designed for chains vehicle.

Just curious . . . where or under what conditions could you possibly need chains on all 4 wheels of this 4WD? I’ve only owned two 4WDs in my life but can’t imagine ever needing chains on either of them. My old ('73) Toyota Land Cruiser was such a beast in the snow I thought I could go anywhere! And it usually DID go anywhere . . . problem was STOPPING it, not going forward. Ah, youth and inexperience! But seriously . . . I live in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains and drive on FWD with a decent set of all-weather tires, and have NEVER been stuck. Rocketman

You should read up on the requirements here-

There are areas in this country the get unnatural amounts of snow. Snow chains are essential in these areas…especially when climbing hills. I had them when I snow plowed…Couldn’t do it without. 99.9% of this country…they’re NOT needed.

I concur, at Jay Peak VT(350"/year average snow fall) I noticed all the delivery trucks have chains on them. I struggled with my ultra high performance all-seasons to get up access road covered in 6" of fluffy powder late one nite. The car would go just hard to steer my Subaru ill equipped due to tires.

This person is thinking smart. Most people live in areas that, when snow happens, roads and streets get plowed. In some States only the major highways get plowed, and then, only sometimes. I can’t blame a person for wanting to be in control of a vehicle in the snow. 4WD or not, if you don’t feel like you have control, the smart thing is to chain up. Overconfidence from having 4WD will get you into more trouble than it will get you out of.

one thing i have to say about some of the ignorant people in this forum when it comes to snow chains is your all rude dumb and dont know jack about snow chains. ill admit i have a 98 4x4 chevy silverado and dont know the best way to install them. but i do know that im not worried about truly needing them but more the fact that washington state patrol in the past few days required all vehicles including awd and 4x4 to chain up or turn around over i90 over the passes. now with that said. ive always heard on a 4x4 truck you want one chain on the right front and one on the left rear or if possible on all 4 tires, but this week i’ve heard to put them both on front and i’ve been told both on the rear. i’ve come to the conclusion none of you truly know anything about chains and ill just have to call state patrol as even the tire shops gave mixed advice. so ill give some advice

dont listen tto anyone in hear but me!!! GO and call your local state or highway patrol for advice.

i couldn’t agree more with you and i think it’s only a matter of time before these rednecks get into some trouble due to the overconfidence but yet again they are rednecks and probly enjoy get stuck and shovling snow and chipping ice and winching out