Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Snow tire chains - Colorado Rockies - 2009 Chevy Equinox

I have a 2009 Chevey Equinox, V6 FWD, and live in Denver, Colorado. In anticipation of learning to ski, I bought Blizzak WS80 snow tires for winter driving. I also need to carry a set of chains or alternative traction device.

Now my owners manual states clearly “Do not use tire chains. There is not enough clearance” and even though it looks like there is a lot of space around my tire, I’m sure there’s something otherwise the manual wouldn’t state this.

Anyway, the CODOT web site says I can use “alternative traction device (like AutoSock).” (

Does anyone else have a 2009 Chevy Equinox out here in Colorado?
Would the autosock remove all benefits of having a Blizzak snow tire when I need it most?
What are some other options to chains and the autosock?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Is that front wheel drive or four wheel drive?

He said FWD

Here are some alternatives. Check with Colorado (probably the state police) to see which ones are acceptable.

Sometimes the clearance issues are at the back of the tire, where the chains might interfere with the brake hydraulic lines. Which is something best avoided.

Since you live in Denver, I expect any Chevy dealership shop should be able to offer some suggestions on which traction devices won’t cause the interference problems. Then you can check with the Colorado road department to see which of those meets their requirements.

And it might be the case for this vehicle that there simply aren’t any traction devices available that meet both Chevy’s requirements for clearance and Colorado’s requirements for traction. Seems difficult to believe, but, hey, this is modern living now.

Sorry for the late reply, not sure where the notifications went.

I looked around the front tires a little closer and the suspension looks to be in the way so I purchased the autosock. They are an approved alternative traction device by CDOT and a quick search on youtube showed tractor/trailors (18 wheelers) using them. I’m sure some of it is marketing material, but who knows.

The Blizzak WS80 snow tires. Before I state my opinion, know that I’ve never had snow tires before in my life. I’m used to all-season sliding on stops and spinning on starts. I just accepted that was winter driving.

These tires are amazing. I found some wet ice and tried taking off/stopping. With just minor slippage, I was off. And I had to almost panic stop to get the anti-lock brakes to engage. Took them up I-70 last weekend to go skiing and they performed equally as well.

They do, however, feel a bit “soft” on drive pavement and need a bit more braking distance than all-season.

Anyway, anyone else thinking of snow tires, I say do it.

And if your car does not allow chains, check out the autosock.

(and be aware of the traction law here in CO, the fines are stiff!)

icedogchi wrote:
These tires are amazing. I found some wet ice and tried taking off/stopping. With just minor slippage, I was off. And I had to almost panic stop to get the anti-lock brakes to engage

We often tell people here that winter tires are noticeably better than all-season tires, but it’s nice to see some independent confirmation of that.

To be clear, the tires are literally softer. They use a different rubber compound designed for lower temperatures. (If you ever do use them in summer temperatures, the tread will wear quite fast.)

I have used Blizzak and Michelin X ice, both are fantastic on ice and snow. Avoid dry pavement and take them off in the summer otherwise you will wear them down quickly. Many folks say the Blizzaks only give half the life of the Michelins, but they are still better than all season tires

Sorry for the late reply, not sure where the notifications went.

You might check your “notification preferences.”

icedogchi- You might want to read the link you posted, the second paragraph says that snow tires are acceptable. Also a 4 wheel/all wheel drive vehicle doesn’t need those.

oldtimer- read the very next paragraph…

Twin Turbo- I respectfully suggest that you go back and read the first part of the second paragraph whic shows that any of these, chains, 4 wheel drive, or snow tires meet the requirements of the active traction requirements in the first paragraph.

@“oldtimer 11”

I did. Did you actually go back yourself and read the paragraph I pointed out? It trumps the mitigations listed in the prior paragraph (bolding is mine for emphasis)-

Passenger Vehicle Chain Law (Code 16) During severe winter storms, CDOT will implement a Passenger Vehicle Chain Law, also known as a Code 16 — this is the final safety measure before the highway is closed. During a Passenger Vehicle Chain Law, every vehicle on the roadway is required to have chains or an alternative traction device (like AutoSock).

I apologize profusely, of course you are right, I was not discerning the difference between the traction law and the chain law. Sometimes I see the fine print and miss the headline.

No biggie. We all succumb to that on occasion!