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Chains on All Wheel Drive SUV

We are told we cannot safely use chains on our all wheel drive Pontiac Aztek as it will supposedly wreck the all wheel drive computer.

You can alo find people that will tell you that Elvis is alive and that you can put your teeth under your pillow and that they’ll be replaced with money as you sleep.

As for tire chains on your Pontiac, refer to your owner’s manual.

In this case, be cautious and don’t use chains. I do recommend them for a 2WD F-150 made in 1984 if you are towing cars through 18" of snow. They worked great with a 25’ tow strap and a running start.

The computer will survive but the F/R differential/power divider might not. The power-trains in these AWD vehicles are somewhat fragile. Were you considering chaining up all 4 wheels and limiting your speed to 20 mph? (That’s the safe speed limit for chains). Chains can be difficult to install and will have a short life if driven on clear pavement…

All of the advice given so far is valid.

When newbies buy tire chains, they are usually not aware that those chains are only for very low-speed driving (as Caddyman said, 20 mph and less), and they need to be removed as soon as you come to pavement that is not snow-covered. They can be a bit of a pain to install, both literally and figuratively.

So, you have to ask yourself if chains are a good idea for own needs. If you were driving exclusively on a deserted snow-covered country lane for miles and miles, they might make sense.

On the other hand, if you will just be driving for a short distance until you come to plowed roadways, then the effort of mounting the chains and then quickly removing them (while parked on the side of the road??) is really a ridiculous exercise, IMHO. Do you really want to be lying on the pavement, inches away from traffic, in order to remove those chains once you come to dry pavement?

Then of course, there is the issue of the AWD system on that vehicle, and whether it is built for the rigors of driving with chains. My best guess is that it was not designed for that type of driving, but as Jay stated, the best way to find out the answer to that question is to…are you ready? the Owner’s Manual and read what GM said regarding this topic. Word of mouth, urban legends, and Old Wives’ Tales cannot substitute for the information contained in the Owner’s Manual.

My suggestion is to invest in a set of 4 winter tires. Winter tires make an incredible difference in being able to STOP the vehicle, as well as to get going, and to stay on course when making turns. Best of all, they can be left on the vehicle for several months, until there is no more danger of a major snow storm. I strongly recommend the Michelin X-Ice tire, which I use on my AWD Outback, despite the fact that it also has traction control and vehicle stability control.