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Snow chains on four-wheel drive

Is it O.K. to drive my 2003 Excursion in four-wheel drive with snow chains on the back wheels only?

Ford manual does not say anything about it.

A Ford mechanic told me it would ruin the transmission.

2 mechanics from 2 different tire centers of the biggest tire chain in the Pacicfic NW) told me: no problm.

I would suggest you do a google and read for yourself. If you have traction control, I would be leery of trying. For about $100-$150 for the second set of chains, why even risk doing some potential damage to the transmission?

The optimum is chains on all wheels. Considering the cost of your car, why not invest in the chains and do it right? I would certainly err on the side of installing chains on all four wheels.

While I am not convinced the Ford mechanic is exactly right, “no problem” answers aren’t right, either. I think a lot depends on how far you intend to drive that way. A few miles is one possible answer, across the frozen north yields a far more conservative answer.

Given the fact tires should to be rotated to prevent problems from uneven tread wear chains would result in uneven tire size so logically it could be a problem. Is it an all the time 4wd?

You shouldn’t need chains at all unless you are plowing…Usually, if you need chains, conditions are so bad there is enough slippage between the axles that having chains on the rear only will not make any difference to the 4WD system…Also, you are limited to 20 MPH with chains which protects the driveline somewhat. I would NEVER install chains on the front end of a 4WD except in a short usage emergency. The steering knuckles (CV joints) just can’t take that kind of abuse and the front differential is only half as strong as the rear…

I doubt that you need chains at all. Our all wheel drive Subaru has gotten us through nine midwestern winters on regular, all season tires. The only time we have a problem with traction is if we get ourselves high centered in a snow drift. Then, even chains aren’t going to help. If you are really worried, buy a set of specialized winter tires and mount them on an extra set of wheels.