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Why Can't I Use Tire Chains?

I drive a 2005 Ford Freestyle with the optional P225/60R18 tires–big mistake. Both the tire store and the owner’s manual say that chains/cables/studs may NOT be used. I frequently drive over a mountain range where there are sometimes roadblocks requiring chains to pass. I’ve had lucky timing so far, but is there any answer besides throwing myself on the mercy of the police–and showing them the owner’s guide? I do have excellent snow tires.

one CA source
says: Vehicles are permitted in chain control areas when equipped with chains or Automatic Traction Device (ATD) as indicated. Legal tread depth for mud and snow tires is 6/32" minimum.

Note that traction control is OK, as are snow tires.

another source
says: California Regulations and Info
Types of Chain Controls:
During the winter months, motorists may encounter traction chain controls in the mountain areas within California. When chain controls are established, signs will be posted along the road indicating the type of requirement. There are three requirements in California.

Requirement One (R1): Chains, traction devices or snow tires are required on the drive axle of all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles.

Requirement Two (R2): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four wheel/ all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels. (NOTE: Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)

Requirement Three (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.

check for an alternative to chains.
they may fit on your car.

Many newer vehicles do not have adequate fender clearance for tire chains; the chains chew into the sheet metal.

If they fit w/o chewing the fenders I would say go for it, but you may have to run them tight to keep them out of the fenders, which means deflating the tires to 5-10psi, installing the chains, and then re-inflating. Pain in the ass if you ask me. Personally, I like to run chains sloppy?more traction:)

i believe your car has traction control and either 4 wd, or A wd. correct?

i think awd or 4 wd with traction control would be counterproductive with chains. the slip and grip of chains woudl confuse the electronic traction control (and would probably ruin the electronic brain of the traction control)

on a related note, but may have some applicability to your question: i have a mazda pickup truck. while borrowing a trailer last summer i hauled several loads to the dump. the trailer hitch had a 2’ ball, but my truck has a 1 7/8’ ball. (little slop and banging while driving, and stopping) this little extra banging (yes i could feel it, but though, awww what can this little banging do to hurt my truck!)

one speed sensor (and $105) later i knew better! so chains and the uneven chattering they can cause may be enough to do damage to your drive train or electronic controls too.