Tire chains



i have a 2009 chevy malibu the dealer said i need to use cable chains but a tire dealer sold me a pair of regular tire chains and said they should work


What does your Owner’s Manual state regarding this issue?

Many newer FWD cars have inadequate clearance for conventional tire chains, thus necessitating cable chains. Your Chevy dealer may well be correct, but the information bears verifying, via the manual.

On this topic and an incredible number of other vital topics, your Owner’s Manual is the ultimate authority, but unfortunately these booklets tend to languish in most glove compartments without ever being opened.


A pair ? fwd car tire chains, where do you put them ? Front is dangerous trying to stop, esp. on a hill and on the rear they don’t help you go. You need all 4 or none, assuming they fit at all as VDC says. I wouldn’t use chains on any FWD car regardless. Dealer is closest with cables, but I’d buy 4 if snow tires are not an option. I suggest you take them back.
Tire man will sell you what he has and not what he doesn’t.


The cable/chain manufacturers sometimes recommend them for the drive wheels only. However, I agree, get them for all four wheels.

Regarding the cable/chain question, I would go with cables. They will do the job, they will weigh less, they will not damage your car if you don’t have clearance for chains, and they will not rattle around as much while they are stored in your trunk.


I don’t think you should ever be going fast enough with chains on for only having them on the front to be an issue.

Personally, I think chains are pointless on a front wheel drive car-- if the snow is so bad that a FWD car with decent tires can’t get going, chances are that the snow is deep enough that it’s iffy even with chains. My theory is that the west coast states that sometimes require them do so precisely because it makes people slow down.


Unfortunately, chains are a practical necessity for those of us who live in the western states that require them. And some cars, like mine, don’t even take them (not even cables). I’d really like to see the law changed, but I don’t sit on the Legislature.



Don’t I know it. I live in Montana where I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone chain up on the highway unless they’re in an 18-wheeler. I have to drive to the coast a few times a year and freakin’ Washington won’t let me drive my front-wheel drive Accord with four aggressive studded snow tires over the pass without chains, even though it drives like it’s on rails in the snow, but they will let me drive my 4x4 truck which is actually quite bad in on-road winter conditions.

But you get people from the lowlands who don’t know that you have to slow down when it’s snowy, so I have no doubt that the mandatory chain rules prevent accidents, but I’ll bet you’d see a similar reduction if people would just slow down.


If you’re of a mind to have one or the other, then get the cables. They’re easier to handle and don’t leave rust puddles in the trunk. In the West, we just carry the cables to get us over the passes when it’s restricted to chains. Otherwise no one uses either one.


I’m sure you can get away with chains/cables on the front only of fwd if you have abs and travel very slowly or in deep snow. If you don’t have abs, even at slow speeds, going down a hill and braking on ice or hard pack is dangerous when the rear brakes lock first.


I have not used tire chains since the 1960s. I recall not being able to go more than 35 or 40 mph with the chains. They were pretty noisy and I saw but did not experience an occasional broken cross chain that would hammer pretty hard on the fender. At some velocity chains, being a little sloppy, will not cling tightly to a tire making clearance a possible issue.

My guess is that you might be able to go faster with cable chains but link chains would have more effective traction.

Nobody uses chains here in the upper Midwest where I live. Front drive cars with decent tires do very well. I have driven in fresh snow up to the rocker panels without getting stuck during a storm before the salt/snow plow truck went through. Studded tires were outlawed years ago as they wore shallow trenches in concrete urban freeways. The law here seems to be, you are on your own and if you get stuck, the tow truck cost will be your punishment.


With all due respect to the distinct and worthwhile advantages of winter tires, tire chains and cables, I thought this was quite impressive in how they can work in concert with electronic aids.


I agree. I suspect that is one thing I will be looking for in my next car.


Get your money back for the chains you will NEVER use. If you MUST risk wrecking your car by driving in snow storms, invest in a set of winter tires instead.

In Colorado the “Chain Law” reads “Chains or adequate Snow Tires”…Only large commercial trucks MUST chain up…


I’ve changed my opinion on how effective tire chains car be. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6hv7JvoF8w&NR=1


I never thought I’d put chains on a Fwd car, but last year I did. I used cables, got stuck in a steep parking lot and needed to get out. I put the cables on long enough to get out of the parking lot, took them off and went on my way. The only reason I had them in the first place was that my mother found a pair at a garage sale for two bucks that fit my car.


These are REQUIRED EQUIPMENT in certain states. Does not matter what you think. Thye have highway signs and radio channels that tell you to put the chains on. It is not optional equipment


Get cable chains, if you really need to have them. Unless you’re going over mountain passes, you really don’t need them. If it’s bad enough out that you need chains you probably shouldn?t be on the road anyway. Even if you are a good driver how good is the guy coming at you? Do you really want to be on the road with other driver?s when the road is so bad that you need chains?

I live in ND and if it so bad that I need to put chains on my truck I find a nice motel and watch the tow trucks go get the people who didn?t stop.

My opinions are subject to change with new facts.