Tire chains

thoughts regarding use of chains on 1198 subaru forrester AWD…

i don’t live in a snow laden area, yet frequent areas of snow;

snow chains on all wheels, only two…

Have you confirmed that there is adequate clearance for tire chains?
The amount of clearance can be affected by the size of the tires, i.e.–some models of car can come with various size tires, and some will have more clearance than others.

This type of information is contained in the Owner’s Manual for my 2002 Subaru, but I don’t know what type of info was included for the models made back in the year 1198.
Check the sheepskins scrolls in your glove box.

Incidentally, your maximum driving speed with tire chains is 20 mph, which is not exactly ideal for mobility, and the chains have to be removed once you reach dry pavement–not exactly convenient, especially if your clothing is not conducive to lying on the ground to remove the chains.

A much better, more practical idea is to mount a set of 4 winter tires. The new technology winter tires are effective on ice as well as snow, and do not have the limitations of tire chains.

I would not think of mounting chains on a car like an awd Subaru under your circumstances. Good winter tires as VDC suggest…it it’s excellent in all conditions you should even think about taking the car. If you’re really worried, consider cables on all four wheels which are cheaper, easier to install and safer to operate. Keep them in the back but you’ll have little need for them.

The search function is your friend.

By the time you managed to install 4 sets of chains, the need for the chains will be over…You paid for an AWD vehicle. Let it do what it was made to do…

Some people don’t change between winter tires and summer tires. I assume you have multi-season tires which aren’t very good in snow and ice.

Chains are significantly better than even the best studded snow tires.

I am inclined to recommend putting your chains on the front since the front wheels provide 70% of braking power and 100% of the steering. But this comes at the cost of a slippery rear end.

If you put them on the rear, steering will be very poor, braking will only be 30% effective, but you are virtually prevented from spinning around.

As a former professional emergency vehicle driver, I consider myself an expert driver and I can cope with oversteer. Less experienced drivers should err on the side of understeer. But the best bet for supreme traction and control is chains on all 4.

BTW, I am a big believer in chains. I have been since I was 20 years old. I had a Jeep and I bought 4 brand new studded snow tires the first winter I had it. I just about totaled it one day because I incorrectly thought that studded snow tires were comparable to chains. Narrowly avoided an accident at the bottom of a long hill I shouldn’t have been on without chains.

Can you help us understand why you feel you need chains?
Will four good winter tires not meet your needs?

I got chains for my car 35 years ago instead of buying good winter tires. I spent one winter around Vermont ski areas and another around Colorado ski areas. At first the chains worked great. I couldn’t wait to install them in deep snow, and with chains on, I could go anywhere. I was thrilled with them.

Then human nature set in. I got tired of repeatedly getting out of a warm car with dry clothes and installing/removing the chains in the cold wet deep snow. I ended up buying overalls to put on in the car before I got out. I did this all with enthusiasm at first, but it did slowly get old.

I found I had to put them on when the snow got deep, and then take them off once I hit plowed pavement, then reinstall them once I hit unplowed roads again. You can’t drive more than 20-30 mph with them on.

I’m a believer that once you buy a set of chains for your car instead of good winter tires, it doesn’t take long to learn how good those winter tires look.

I too have driven military emergency vehicles. Though you’re right that the right chains give the potentially ultimate in traction aid…
It’s the weight of the vehicle that often required the traction aids. I’ve found chains ice skated worse than tires alone on some ice conditions. A Subaru they’re not. I have to use chains to sand and plow with 4 wd trucks and tractors while Subaru with studded snows had no problems traversing the hills I struggled with. Again, trucks are made for them and need them more often while other vehicles may only in emergencies, but “lauris” does not. If you have to ask the question, you probably don’t have the will or inclination to learn when and how to safely mount them.