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Which Kind of Tire Chains or Traction Devices Is Best

I am going to buy a second pair of tire chains for my 4WD F-350. I have read a few discussions here about chains and understand that spending almost $1000 for good winter tires on rims is functionally better. However, needing to use the F-350 to get to the grand-kids on Christmas probably will never happen again.

If you were not driving residential side streets in Portland, Oregon on Christmas, please refrain from stating again that chains are for wimps. It was awful. I desperately needed chains for the front wheels as well as the ones on the rears. My AWD Subaru with good studded snow tires does not have enough ground clearance for those conditions. Fire trucks and ambulances were wearing chains. They really did need them.

The question is, which kind? I am leaning toward either diamond pattern alloy chains (with the semi-rigid housed-cable on the inner sidewall) or diagonal cable chains. If I have to use the damn things, it will very likely involve driving on bare pavement because of the scarcity of places to take them off.

I hope some fire fighters, law enforcement officers, or the like, who regularly use tire chains or other traction devices to get around in emergencies can give their opinions as to which kind(s) really work best.

Thanks, folks!

V-bar reinforced chains work best. They are the most expensive. Your speed is limited to 20 mph with ANY type of chains. If driven on bare pavement, they will be destroyed in a few miles. The taxpayers pay for the chains police and fire departments use so they are a disposable item for them…

Thank you! I had new, quality V-Bar chains on the back, a bed heaped with wet snow, in 4 wheel drive, and just barely made it through streets about 1.8 F-350s wide, lined with parked cars on both sides and filled with impressively deeply gouged frozen slush. Scary. Ho ho ho; the grand-kids were happy.

I was forced to use up a good portion of those V-bar chain’s lifespan on dry pavement at 30 MPH on Interstate 84 on the way back up the mountain, because I was too chicken to take them off in traffic you probably can imagine on Christmas afternoon. (I would have had to put them back on again at least twice.)

Happy New Year,