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Old 12-22-2010, 03:09 AM   #1
wwiifanatic
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Default Tire cables? (winter tires not an option)

So I'm driving cross country from LA to DC in mid january and not sure of the road conditions that face me. I've been researching tire cables trying to figure out what's best...and obviously I'm concerned about clearance and wheel damage.

I'm running Hankook V12s 235/45/17 on my 02 WRX. I can't afford to get a set of winter tires/wheels right now as my budget is suuuuper tight.

Suggestions?
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:15 AM   #2
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i had a set of custom cables made on etrailer.com but ended up just picking up a set of snow wheels/tires. cables should be an absolute last option if your current tires wont make it.

you are already running tires too tall for your car...i'd be worried about clearance issues.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:51 AM   #3
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you cant drive across country in January on summer tires

the odds of making it without crashing are quite slim

Last edited by Uncle Scotty; 12-22-2010 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:49 AM   #4
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A plane?

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Old 12-22-2010, 08:18 AM   #5
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I ran both the SCC Super Z6 and SCC Sure Grip Z chains on my Baja with absolutely no clearance issues. I have the stock size tires on mine. I'm not sure how it'll be on yours, but I imagine if you have stock size tires, or didn't reduce the clearance, they fit in the front. Don't bother trying in the back.

People say you don't need chains on a Subaru, but I can tell you they make a huge difference, especially on steep icy hills. My Michelin Ice X2s didn't stop me from sliding to the bottom of a steep hill, but chains helped me stop with only as much sliding as you would if you slammed your brakes on a wet road.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Scotty View Post
you cant drive across country in January on summer tires

the odds of making it without crashing are quite slim
Oh, poppycock! Courtesy of the US Navy I've done cross-country trips 3 times in the last 5 years and don't see any reason one couldn't undertake the trip he's planning on summer tires.

- I drove across country from LA to CT in December 2005 in the Subaru. I went via the southern route across the country. The only adverse weather I encountered was when I went up into the Appalachians for sight-seeing purposes. Summer tires would've been perfectly fine.

- I drove from RI to WA in February 2008 in my CTS-V. I went the northern route, through SD and MT into ID and WA. I used this thing called the Weather Channel to avoid the snow that was going to be blanketing Nebraska, so going north was actually the safer route. I was running winter tires, but only had occasion to use them once, and that was because I elected to push on into the Rockies in MT/ID rather than stopping for the night as I should have. 99% of the driving I did was on dry asphalt. It was cold, but nothing that warmed up summer tires couldn't handle.

- I drove from WA to CT to DC in February 2010, again in the CTS-V, again on winter tires. I did a pretty circuitous route - down the West Coast through much of CA, then across NV into UT, then up to Yellowstone, then across the northern route (this time through ND rather than SD). The only weather I encountered that would've been dangerous on summer tires was going into the high country to visit some national parks. Again, nearly all the driving I did was on dry asphalt, with the only exceptions being in the mountains where I wouldn't have gone if I wasn't sight-seeing.

Would I choose to run summer tires if I had the option? No, I would at least run some all seasons just to give a bit more flexibility in travel planning. But to say the chances are "quite slim" that he won't be able to cross the southern US on summer tires without crashing is silly. Just looking at the Weather Channel right now I see 50s and 60s across the southern route this week. I live in the DC area, and just switched over to my winter wheels and tires, but really don't need them yet, so there's no reason he couldn't make it here to the Mid Atlantic area on summer tires.

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Old 12-22-2010, 01:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seafajr. View Post
I ran both the SCC Super Z6 and SCC Sure Grip Z chains on my Baja with absolutely no clearance issues. I have the stock size tires on mine. I'm not sure how it'll be on yours, but I imagine if you have stock size tires, or didn't reduce the clearance, they fit in the front. Don't bother trying in the back.

People say you don't need chains on a Subaru, but I can tell you they make a huge difference, especially on steep icy hills. My Michelin Ice X2s didn't stop me from sliding to the bottom of a steep hill, but chains helped me stop with only as much sliding as you would if you slammed your brakes on a wet road.
you realize that using chains (and even cables) is bad for your drivetrain?
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:56 PM   #8
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If you wanted insurance to get you out of a jam, you would probably be better off with autosocks.

Regardless, I would plan a southern route, try to stay out of elevation as much as possible, and travel during the daylight hours to avoid snow and/or frozen precip.

No traction aids are going to be suitable for a long haul in bad conditions as they will be speed limited and/or distance limited. You need to plan on only using them to get to a place were you can stop for awhile until the roads are cleared.

Also, there's a range of conditions where these traction aids will help little. If you have to travel on slushy roads, chains/cables/autosocks aren't going to help much and you are going to be a traffic nuisance due to the speeds you will have to limit yourself to.

This is mostly a planning issue. If you plan your routes and keep an eye on the weather while at the same time not minding if you are stranded for a day or two if the weather turns sour, you will be good. If you are planning on driving straight through with few breaks and can't tolerate any delays, then there's not much you can do other than get another set of wheel/tires.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:45 PM   #9
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Yeah I'm planning on taking the 40 all the way out to Tennessee and then hopping on the 81 the rest of the way out. That's almost entirely a southern route, unless it snows in texas? My major concern is if I get challenged by a few miles of light snow or "chains are required" in certain areas, what are my best bests for traction?

I looked into the "autosocks," but are these actually any good? I've never even driven in snow so I'm pretty much completely without a clue.

My concern about those SCC cables is that they cross over the face of the wheel and I'm a bit concerned about scuffs and scratches.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwiifanatic View Post
I looked into the "autosocks," but are these actually any good? I've never even driven in snow so I'm pretty much completely without a clue.
If you get into a "chains required" situation, you are going to be 100% screwed anyways. Cables on summer tires aren't going to give you the grip necessary to be even remotely safe under those circumstances.

If you get challenged by a few miles of light snow, your best bet is going to be to park it until conditions clear.

Autosocks apparently work as advertised, they just fill a specific niche and are limited. They also aren't very durable, but neither are cables from what I understand.

What you need to realize is the traction aids are going to be a last ditch, "holy crap I'm screwed", type of situation. If you encounter a dusting, it's not going to be feasible to throw the cables on and drive for the next 60 miles as normal. Its going to be more like find a good place to stop and wait out the weather.

You need to plan the trip as if you had no traction aids and then only use them to get to a place to stop until road conditions clear. Neither cables or autosocks are meant for miles and miles of highway travel, they are only meant to get you clear of a bad situation.

There is also significant 'gap' in conditions where the summer tires are dangerous and it isn't feasible to use those traction aids. Slush, as I mentioned, is one such condition, a light dusting of snow would be another. You need to be willing and prepared to interrupt your trip due to weather and wait it out. Also, I'm not trying to offend you, but if you've never driven in snow before that makes this all the more dangerous.

Edit:

Also, not to pry into your personal life, but what's the endgame here? Are you staying in DC for awhile but going to return to LA? Are you moving there?

If you don't need your car in DC and will be returning to it in LA later, you may want to look into renting a car. Rentals can be had for around $30-$40 a day with unlimited mileage. If you choose the right rental, you will probably pay for the rental itself with the distance you are driving due to gas saved.

Last edited by bull3964; 12-22-2010 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 12-22-2010, 04:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc00by4life View Post
you realize that using chains (and even cables) is bad for your drivetrain?
I only use them when conditions are bad. So far I've done it during two winter storms, total of 7 days and almost 300 miles on tire chains. No, that's not a lot, but my drivetrain is fine and never made funny noises. I imagine that folks would only use them until conditons improve enough. Of course I keep my speed way down and drive like a grandma with them on, but anyone with half a brain should in snowy and icy conditions.

I live on a very steep hill that people love to sled on when it snows. The only way I'm going to get home and safely in and out of my parking garage without risking sliding and crashing into someone, is if I chain up, or at least, I'm guessing, use studded tires. I'm impressed with my studless Ice X2s, but not totally impressed with their performance when it comes to braking going down an icy hill.

I wrote SOA a few years back, and of course they gave me the official answer of "SOA does not recommend the use of tire chains...", but they also said that if you do, to use cables in the front only, and that people have reported sucess using the SCC Sure Grips. This is before the SCC Super Z6 came out, which have an even tighter fit and more clearance.

You may be right about drivetrain issues, but there are mountain passes that will require tire chains, AWD or not, when conditions are bad enough. From my experience, using them for a short time and keeping it slow, you can do it without blowing your drivetrain. Rallying around in them, or driving too fast for extended period of time would definitely sound like a recipe for disaster.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:39 PM   #12
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Bull---I am moving to DC in search of work, which is why I need to bring the car with me. Once I get finances in order then a set of winter tires/wheels may be an option. But as it stands now I need to bring the car and pack it as tightly as possible.

Sea----I was looking into the SCC Super Z6 set. Anything on whether these are safe to use without scuffing up the face of the rim?

BTW Pat thanks, that was the first hand experience I needed to know!
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:44 PM   #13
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Unless you have really low profile tires, I don't see how the Super Z6 will scuff up the rims. I have the stock 225/60-16 tire size on mine and the only thing that touches are the plastic coated steel cables and rubber chain tightener. The metal parts that connect the chains are just outside of the rim. If they touch your rims, I guess you could wrap the metal parts that come in contact with something like duct tape to keep it from scratching your rims.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:34 PM   #14
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I'm not sure my opinion of these but... here is my .02

http://www.ecstuning.com/Audi-B5_A4-...30v/ES2129937/
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwiifanatic
Bull---I am moving to DC in search of work, which is why I need to bring the car with me. Once I get finances in order then a set of winter tires/wheels may be an option. But as it stands now I need to bring the car and pack it as tightly as possible.
where in the DC area are you moving? i say buy the chains just in case, plan a southern route, and keep an eye on the weather.
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:31 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwiifanatic View Post
Bull---I am moving to DC in search of work, which is why I need to bring the car with me. Once I get finances in order then a set of winter tires/wheels may be an option.
Driving around the DC area in the winter on summer tires is going to be really iffy, especially if you have no experience driving in snow. My advice is to get a set of all-seasons with a good snow rating eg Conti DWS. Yes if will cost some money but so will getting your car fixed when you crash it.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:33 PM   #17
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My main concern is just making sure I get into town...then I don't need to drive anywhere for a while. I'm trying to find a place just outside of the city in VA somewhere.
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