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I have never had/used tire chains but am thinking of picking some up.I have 3 or 4 customers with long downward drives and on rare ocassoins when extra slippery or deep conditions prevail I have been stuck and have had to wait for hours for a buddy to help (a tow company wanted $275 too steep for me).I thought conditions were very poor but gave it a shot and got stuck,so on those occasions I was thinking I could chain up and not sweat it.My questions are will chains make it much easyer to get out,will a set on the back only be good or is 4 all around the way to go and what type is best.The regular chain that are parralel to each other or v-chain that are in a diamond type pattern.I assume the cable type are more for cars or light duty.Saving myself one time will pay for themselves and something to make me feel safer late at night all alone seems worth it.How many of you guys keep tire chains on hand at all times.I can get 0ne set for $75 or all 4 for $135 for parralel v-chain not new but never used just surface rust from sitting.
 

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My advise - forget the chains and go with studs (you'd need dedicated snow tires). Improperly/loose mounted chains will only damage the tires and vehicle. That's what will happen if you try to mount them only when you get stuck.

If you're dead-set on chains, go with quality "parallel" link type. I think mine were over $100 a set. I'd say only go with chains on the rear for just getting unstuck. I used them once. It wound up being a disaster. Went back to studs and sold the chains at a garage sale for $25/set (one set still in the bag/never used).

Even on pure ice, the studs worked as well as, if not better, than chains.
 

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I keep a set with me all the time when plowing....I use them usually to get unstuck..... But once in a while when there is deep snow I run them... The key is keep them tight and and if you have any extra links wire them so they don't fling around.... Also.. don't spin anymore than you have to,,,, thats a good way to break crosslinks.... I keep a few repair links with me to fix crosslinks...as Mick said good studded tires are hard to beat I only use chains as a last resort ....
 

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I've had a set of chains on hand for several years and have run them before (never plowed with them on a truck though - only plowed with chains on the lawn tractor). Usually when the snow starts flying my set of tire chains get stuck in the back of the truck and stay there until around April. Never ran studded tires partly because they're only useful part of the year and partly because my budget hasn't really allowed to have a set of studded tires sitting around.

I did, however, use my chains several winters to get around when I was off at college and had nothing but a 2wd pickup... up near Erie, PA in a town that refused to salt the roads and plowed them once a day whether it needed it or not. Without chains, I often had trouble getting out of the driveway but with chains on just the rear tires, I could go practically anywhere I wanted.

They don't work very well on dry roads, it'll rattle your teeth out. And you're limited to about 35 mph tops. But for being in snow and ice, they make a big difference. Just make sure they're properly tensioned - if you have an aggressively patterned tire, it's gonna be harder to tension them correctly. I've only run them on the rear of a truck because in the front if a cross chain breaks or something, there is a good chance it can grab the rubber brake hose and make a mess.

I've run regular chains and V-bar (aka ice bar) chains. V-bars will give some wicked traction and are long wearing, but they have worse road manners than regular chains on dry roads.

I've been told that the diamond pattern chains are not as difficult to tension over more aggressive tread patterns and don't have terrible road manners if you hit a patch of dry road, but I've never tried them.

I've always bought my tire chains from Tirechains.com (they're made in the good ol USA, right in Pennsylvania). ;)
 

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I carry a full set of chains too, but have never used them.

I also carry emergency strap on chains that I got from tirechains.com.

I've used them twice - once when I got the plow hung up on the snowpile during a heavy wet snowstorm. I was facing downhill and had zero traction. I put three sets of the strap ons on my rear drive tire and they got me out. That was the first time that I used them. I was concerned that they might fly off with the tire spinning, but they didn't. The straps and latch are pretty sturdy.

The second time I used them was after a Nor'easter last year. I threw two sets of the emergency chains on each of the rear tires, and had no problem whatsoever.

They're not for constant use, if course, but they definitely work. They don't take up much space and are a cinch to put on and off. I got a second truck this year and purchased some emergency chains for that one too.

They might be what you're looking for.
 

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In my experience, chains rule for plowing snow. With plenty of weight in the back (I ran a ton or more), the truck felt more like operating a piece of heavy equipment.

The downside is that travel speed is limited to about 25, 30 tops.

As mentioned, you need to get them tight. I ordered a special block from AW Direct that makes putting them on a little easier. I found it best to put them on, drive a tenth of a mile, tighten, drive a tenth of a mile, repeat. If you have links hanging, either cut them off or use plenty of wire tires to hold them. I used heavy bungee cords to keep then snug. Some styles are available with cam-locks, which I would get next time.

Plain old cheap parallel cross chains will work, but don't last long on the hot top. Welded V-bars do dig better, but most importantly last much longer on the pavement.

There is a brand that is highly rated, but the name escapes me. Starts with a P, I remember that.

Maybe Pewag?
 

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I run studded snows and chains on all my trucks on a regular bassis. If we're due for a large storm I will chain the trucks up before the storm and run them until the roads start to bare up. Makes a huge difference.

Like Mick says though, you need to adjust them and keep them tight. Buy a good set of spring tensioners. Put them on before you need them so you have time to re tighten them. If you plan to wait until your stuck to put them on, buy a AAA membership instead.
 

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Only way to really get chains on when your stuck is to jack up the truck. It can be done, but it won't be right. You risk more damage doing it that way, than doing it before you get stuck.

Do it on the side of the road on a plowed surface is easy compared to the other option.

I have run both the diamond pattern and the ladder type. I gave Alan the mud service ladder dual set with the 5500. They were great once you got them on, just a bit unwieldy.

I have two other options, but they are not suited for plowing:

I have these from testing I did in Colorado:
http://www.autosock.us/ YES they do work ;) They are about $99 retail
<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/zn8C5AxgpgU?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/zn8C5AxgpgU?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

And these:
http://www.rud.com/en-us/produkte/schneeketten/llkw/centrax.html They are much more expensive though..
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info guys,I plan on putting them on when conditions are very poor before I plow my fue tough drives.Sounds like many have some chains on hand and are some cheap insurance on the rare occasion needed.Im getting a full set of 4 just to be safe.But if I do buy them I will be thinking Im putting bad Ju Ju on the winter.
 

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IMHO, if I put chains on the front of a truck, I'd lean towards using a set of twisted or square links, nothing too fancy. But unless you're up to your eyes in snow or have really crappy tires, I don't see much need for chains on the front.

Then again, I don't have the plow experience some have so I'm not sure how bad the front end gets pushed around when the snow gets deeper.
 

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I've used chains in the past for plowing with great success. As mentioned, there are only certain conditions where the chains should be used, in my case I'd use them when we were getting deep heavy snow that would pack if driven on. I chained all 4 wheels, and always chained up before the storm. I can't imagine doing it after you've become stuck. You have to monitor your road speed, and traction levels while plowing. Keep wheel spin to a minimum while plowing, it will only tear up the chains, pavement and your truck.

If you do become stuck, don't try to bull your way through by spinning the wheels, rock the truck each way until you break traction, then change directions. You should be able to drive out after a few direction changes in most cases.

I sent out a waiver to my clients with paved driveways explaining that the chains would leave cosmetic scratches on the asphalt and that it was not structural damage. If the scratches were a problem, I explained their driveway would be left until the end of the route where I could pull the chains and eliminate the scratching. No one ever opted for that alternative. You must be very careful on pavement however not to spin your wheels excessively as the chains will grind the pavement, and your chains will get heavy wear too. On gravel drives this isn't an issue. You see Bill, there are some areas of the world where gravel driveways still exist.

I kept extra binders, crosslinks, repair pliers, mechanics wire and bolt cutters on the truck for emergency repairs. I had to be towed with chains only once, I dropped into a snow covered hole on the edge of a paved driveway which hung up the rear end pumkin. Rather than risk ripping up the pavement I called a tow. Chains will turn your truck into a tank, just don't let it go to your head. Plow smart and you shouldn't have any troubles.
 

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Chains work great I could not plow with out them

I use Diamond Back or Alpine chains they have 1 cable on inside of tire and then square sided chain in a diamond pattern. They can be but on in just minutes and give great traction without any rough ride on hard ground. After being stuck without chains I would never plow with out if any amount of grade is on road. I plow 10 miles of gravel logging road and is to dangerous to drive with out chains. here is link to Video on You Tube on how easy it is to install them

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YokkjfisLd0
 

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We never studded our tires, we just made sure that we had the best tires we could find. I carried a set of just cable chains in my truck in case I got stuck, because a good set of cables can be put on while in the ditch and you don't need to move the rig. At that point I'd just leave them on until I finished the job. If the conditions were to the point where I would think I needed chains just to get the job done, then on went the real chains. I never trusted the fronts of the GM's with the IFS to real chains and if I had ever planned on doing all four then it would have been Real on back and cables on the front. They are great insurance, and remember, tire chains are like any other precaution, use them if you think you MIGHT need them, because if you don't you'll probably be kicking yourself in a snowbank.
 

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In our part of the world, chains are a necessary evil. I only put them on the rears though. 2 reasons. 1- a plow truck always gets stuck going forwards. You always need to back out. Back chains enhance your chances to do that rather than front chains. (which may be over an edge or up a snowbank) 2- It is easy to get overconfident with chains and do something stupid. Rear chains help a bunch but you still have to use good judgement.
We actually write our resi contracts with a chain clause saying we will only use chains when depth exceeds 1 ft. Minor road damage is "collateral damage" in those cases.
The V bar chains are great but plain simple "ladder" type are adequate... as long as you put them on BEFORE you need them. Not when stuck. :eek: Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. :mad: also, never underestimate the value of a good relationship with a competent towing operator. I call and fork over the $250 because he has me out safely in an hour or two. Much less cost long run than waitin on a buddy that may or may not have the gear to getyou out... with no vehicle damage.
 

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I don't worry about scrapes and marks on pavement. I tell customers up front that I run studs and chains. Only had one complaint, told her to find someone else. She tried, no one would even plow it, say nothing of do it with no chains or studs.:eek::grinz
 

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LetsTalkSnow.com - Moderator
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Does anyone run this style chain? I've only used the strandard cross link type. Are there advantages to this "diamond link" type chain? It looks like it would run smoother. Any disadvantages?
 

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Does anyone run this style chain? I've only used the strandard cross link type. Are there advantages to this "diamond link" type chain? It looks like it would run smoother. Any disadvantages?
Pros
Tensioners built in..
No thump thump thump
In theory better steering control
Can sometimes get them on while stuck
Tend to be made of higher quality steel

Cons
Usually not at as sturdy as ladder chains
Not as aggressive as most ladder chains
 

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LetsTalkSnow.com - Moderator
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Another question about these diamond link chains: If a link breaks it appears the chain would be out of service, where with a standard cross link style chain I've continued to work by cutting off the broken link and then repair at the end of the run. Is this true?
 
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