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Tire chains or cables for Camry Tires?

Hi all,
I have Camry 2009 LE and I stay in Los Angeles where we never see snow. I will be going towards Santa Fe for 3 days in year end. As per law I understand that I may require snow chains (or cable). I have few doubts, if somebody can help me.
1- Since I do not stay in snow area, so snow tires are not needed. From budget prospective, should I consider chains or cables ? I see large verity on amazon, so confused.
2- Law says chain/cables to be installed one rear or front or all four tires ?
3- While on travel, where should I put chains ? Once I will see some sign to put chains/cables or once I see ice on road ? Do I need to remove every time when road is clean and install it back when there is snow ? Sorry for putting immature question, but I never been to snow area.

For your vehicle a set of cable chains should suffice. Most passenger car chains are the cable type. Check your local Autozone or other parts store, they might have or be able to get for you a set of cable chains for your tire size. They might allow you to return them later if you haven’t needed to use them but check with the store.

On a front wheel drive car like this you only need a set of chains for the front wheels.But you might keep an eye on conditions on the particular passes you will travel over to see if Chains are required (you should be able to find a website that gives current road conditions before you set off) If you are going to be making this trip more than just this once then a set of chains is cheap insurance. From my previous parts-store job the more expensive chains held up better than the cheapest ones but if you are buying a set just in case than buy one for the amount you feel comfortable spending.

There should be signs saying traction devices required (snow tires/chains) or just advised. If you need to chain up then try to find a parking lot or similar so you aren’t trying to put them on at the side of the highway.

Are there chains or cables very specific to tire size (for Camry) ? I was considering to look out something craiglist. Are these adjustable up to some extent ?

It usually tells you on the box what size tires they will fit(one size will fit a multitude because they are somewhat adjustable) and practice installing them out in the open,without raising the car(because that is more then likely how you will have to use them and keep your speed down)-Kevin

Remember to buy good-quality insulated coveralls to wear while installing the chains/cables.
In order to install (and to remove) these devices you will be lying on the cold, wet, not-very-clean ground for an extended period of time, and without coveralls, you coat & pants will become wet, dirty, and possibly stained from road salt.

I recommend a visit to a store that sells Carhart products, as their coveralls are very heavy-duty.

I agree. The requirement in parks is for chains which means cables or chains. Besides, even if you can afford custom true chains for your Camry, they are harder to keep taught then cables in use and could soon damage your wheel wells. Ideally, you should have them on all fours. Just putting one on front and one on back will wear your brake pads severly using the abs which brakes the spinning wheel. If you only put chains on the front, you create big control problems going down hill going very fast…like over 5 mph. Again, abs will work over time and your stopping distances will increase just to keep you going straight.

Anyone here drive a fwd with cables just on the front and brake hard going down a slippery hill ? Tell us about the stains on the seat afterward.

I’ve never run chains on a front wheel drive only on the rear with rwd,no stability problems there,however I see were you are coming from,the old school 4wd guys around here usually always put the chains on the front in bad weather they never seemed to have problems,skill has a lot to do with it,back in the day there were stories about inept grease monkeys chaining the rear wheels on FWD Toronados with predictable results.When the snow gets deep enough all bets are off.@OP,if its over 3-4 inches deep stay put until the roads are clear unless you have no choice,because if your drive wheels wont connect with some kind of a surface that will give traction and your drive wheels are in the air,because your floorpan is jacked up with snow underneath-you are going nowhere-Kevin

I would get a set of cables, but I seriously doubt that you will need them. I-40 gets cleared pretty fast so unless you are driving during a storm. Getting to Albuquerque should be a piece of cake, I have made that trip many times in winter. From Albuquerque to Santa Fe is all interstate, I-25. I have never taken that section but I would assume that it is pretty clear too.

The cables would be helpful only if you get stuck in a parking lot. I have only used mine once (cables on FWD) and that was to get out of the parking space at a hotel, the spot had a lot of slope to it. If I had cat litter with me, I probably could have gotten out with that. I left the cables on to go down an icy road to a gas station and back, but took them off right after that.

You will find that with cables or chains, and I have used chains on RWD as well as cables on FWD, you don’t want to go over 25 mph. They make a lot of noise and it sounds like they are tearing up the car. even on all season tires on your Camry, you should be able to do about 30 mph on snow, 20 mph on ice until you get used to it, then you can go a little faster, like 35 and 25.

I think you will also find that most of New Mexico, Santa Fe included gets what we call around here, polite snow. It comes, it stays for a couple days, the kids have some fun in it, and then it leaves. According to wikipedia, they get 6 to 8 snowfalls per year, but due to the semi-arid climate, the snow doesn’t last long.

Got all your suggestions.
Ok, so I will buy insulated coveralls. I am not sure, if I will have to drive again on snow, so I am limiting my budget with not going with custom true chains.
Keith, I am planning to covering nearby areas in Santa Fe like Taos and up so I am not sure if I may get clear roads. But yes, took your point and will ask auto parts shop, if I can return tire chain/cables if those are not used. Autozone says (non returnable). I hope tire cables as well chain, both should be ok, whatever is budget oriented.

Check out local garage sales, a friend got me set of cables (the ones I used) at a garage sale for $2. You would be surprised at the number for sale by people who do some occasional skiing. They bought a new vehicle and the chains don’t fit. You might get lucky if you have standard sized tires.

A couple years ago, I drove all around the Grand Canyon when it was snowed in (about 8") never used the chains, just took it slow. The Grand Canyon is a new level of spectacular in the snow, much better than in the summer, and almost no visitors. If you have been there in the summer and if it is snowing when you go by there this time, go see it, you will not be disappointed.

Good point Keith. I will check it on craiglist. I just checked tires on my car and it is written as 215 / 60 R 16 95 H M+S. Does it mean that I should look for 215/60R ? ( Am I reading its size correctly ?)
I been to Grand Canyon in summers and you are luring me for its winters :slight_smile: I have planned something like Los Angeles-Tucson-Santa Fe. From there either I will head to Taos and up and will give a loop to Arches, Moab and back to LA or if weather is not good, I will come towards Sedona and back to home. I can imagine how GC will look in snow and would love to experience that.

@Dagosa To be honest I’ve not lived in an area where you really need to chain up all four wheels, we’ve always used a set of chains on the front if we really have to, like going over certain mountain passes. Grew up with a bunch of FWD cars the best winter one was the '78 Diesel VW Rabbit with snow tires. We used engine braking with the Rabbit and haven’t had any scares with the other cars in the fleet.

A 215/60R 16 is the size of the tire you have, most sets of cable chains will fit a range of sizes.

I know what you are saying, and if used in deep snow and driven slowly, the snow will help keep the rear wheels tracking straight. But, I can tell you from experience with all kinds of vehicles, the more traction on front on hard slippery surfaces is real scary if you brake hard.
This reference sums up the attributes and disadvantages of putting chains on different vehicles and their over all effect. The rear traction bias is essential for lateral stability. Imho, you have literally multiplied the reasoning behind the adage of best tires on rear by ten fold when using chains only on the fronts.

You know what,Baron Von Richtofen said " Its not the machine,but the man in the machine" , (he also picked his fights) sometimes the challange is best avoided,however if you are prepared you will have a distinct advantage,a winter driving school would be great,if availible.
Use your “Mark 1000”, if the meteorologists are calling for a blizzard or inclement weather ,stay put-Kevin

You are reading it correctly, but you will find the better deals by looking for garage sales on a saturday morning and going to them. Some people do that just for fun, be careful as it can get addictive and you end up with a house full of other people junk.

@Dagosa I understand your point about the stopping and the rear end sliding out, like putting snow tires on all 4 wheels, but convincing the average consumer to buy 2 sets of tire chains for the once a year or so they really need them is the hard part. Unless they go skiing or over a mountain pass on a regular basis during the snowy season most only buy a set for the drive wheels and hope they don’t need them, and the ones i know who need to buy a set of snow tires for all 4 wheels.

I’ve heard about but not seen people putting chains on the back wheels only on a FWD accord.

Interesting discussion. I’ve never thought of the idea of putting chains on only two tires. Those times when my dad used chains he always put them on all four tires. And when we lived in snow country for a few years, he swapped out the regular tires each winter for snow tires. (Both the regular and snow tires were mounted on their own wheels, making it easier to switch them out.) His point was that all four wheels should have the same type traction to maximize driver control. That said, that was on RWD cars from the 1950s through 1983 vintage.

So, if I may ask, is it still just as valid a concept on current FWD cars with ABS and TC to always have the same type tires and, if using chains, chains on all 4 wheels regardless of the tire type and season?

So, if I may ask, is it still just as valid a concept on current FWD cars with ABS and TC to always have the same type tires and, if using chains, chains on all 4 wheels regardless of the tire type and season?

Of course it is still valid. The traction aid devises can only improve on the traction you have to begin with. They aren’t miracle workers and people still get stuck and loose control and go off road and have collisions with poor chain and tire choices.

On fwd, rear chains add to lateral stability just like good tires on the rear does as well. Traction aid electronics using abs can increase stopping distance dramatically when trying to work with these
imbalances in traction. They can actually decrease braking on the front while trying to keep the rear from coming around. So, yes., it is probably just as if not more in some instances as you can still affect performance of your systems in a negative way. You dad is a wise man, even today.

Because today’s passenger cars don’t have much clearance around the wheels, I would get cables.

On the idea of tire cables…
Do they make a similar idea item that could be applied, by the user, to …
wheel chairs ?

I can envision a heavy nylon mesh, a couple inches wide, that would clip on and allow the user to roll forward and clip in place.

Our parking lots recently have been an ice rink and while talking to a wheel chaired friend at his dentist office after walking in on one of these parking lots…it hit me.
What does he have to encounter while navigating into his vehicle ?