Chains, Tensioners and Studded Tires?
I'm still pretty new to plowing, this is only my second winter. Last winter, mid-season I ditched the old plow truck I bought from the previous homeowner as it was becoming a money pit.
Now I'm plowing with my 2013 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, with a Fisher V-Plow.
Combined I have about 3/4 of a mile of driveway and Class 6 town dirt road to keep clear. (In NH a "Class 6" road is owned by a town, but not maintained). My challenge is the top 500 feet of my driveway are paved asphalt, and VERY steep. Last winter only the top parking apron & about 100' of driveway were paved, and the rest of the hill was dirt. We paved another 400' or so late this past summer. Reasons being that, a) torrential rains in the spring and summer washed nearly all of the top layer of the driveway off, and b) the hill faces southwest, and the old parts of the paved driveway always melted nicely in the sun, even in sub freezing temps, so we figured the pavement would help keep the driveway ice free.
I have 2 sets of V-Bar chains that I used last year. On the dirt hill, it was a monster. This season I've have to plow twice, and I've had traction issues. The first time, I tried to plow without chains at all, as I was afraid the V-Bar chains would tear up the new asphalt. The guy from the company who paved the new section claimed he never uses chains to plow, even on driveways as steep or steeper than mine. I should NOT have listened to him, as that was scary. I should point out I don't have snow tires, as I figured last year with the chains they would be moot. The second snowfall this season, I used some ladder chains I had bought as back ups. They turned out to be inferior and the truck threw them on the first pass down the hill, I had them as tight as I could, but they didn't really fit that well. So I went to the V-Bar's, rear only.
Side note, the V-Bar's tore up the back of my wheel wells. I had them as tight I as could make them (I thought), but once the truck got rumbling UP this hill to get back on top, all hell would bread loose...
I still had moments where I totally broke traction & that is scary on my hill.
So, there's my long background story.
What I'm interested in hearing from you all is
1 - What can I do to get better traction?
2 - Should I use the chains of the front as well? (I have another set of V-Bars I used on the front last year on the dirt hill)
3 - Should I consider studded snow tires instead?
4 - What are the best chain tensioners to use? The chains have 3 cams on them & I use the rubber type 5 arm tensioners. Would the spring type work better?
5 - On the inside the tire link-up, should I just put the hook on the last link on the other side of the chain, or is it appropriate to "choke it up" a bit for better tension on the outer side? I guess I'd have to wire up the loose links or cut them off...
Lot's of questions, I know, but I'd like to stop tobogganing down my driveway with a plow. Bad things happen.