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Are snow tires mandatory with a Suby?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 captainehh

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Posted 01 December 2003 - 11:59 PM

Hi guys-
Coming from driving a 4WD Chevy truck for several years, I never had to run chains on the HWY in winter. Does anybody know how the hwy department handles Subarus when there is a mandatory chain advisory for other vehicles? Basically I'm hoping I can get around buying a spare set of wheels and snow tires. I just want to make sure that when I get to the top of Willamette Pass, I wont be turned around because I don't have the right setup. I'm sure snow tires help, but albeit the AWD does a heck of a lot more!

#2 alias20035

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 12:13 AM

Originally posted by captainehh
Hi guys-
Coming from driving a 4WD Chevy truck for several years, I never had to run chains on the HWY in winter. Does anybody know how the hwy department handles Subarus when there is a mandatory chain advisory for other vehicles? Basically I'm hoping I can get around buying a spare set of wheels and snow tires. I just want to make sure that when I get to the top of Willamette Pass, I wont be turned around because I don't have the right setup. I'm sure snow tires help, but albeit the AWD does a heck of a lot more!



Snow tires that feature the mountain/snowflake logo on them should be exempt from snow chain requirements. Ask a police officer! I am fairly certain that Oregon and Washington exempt these newer snow tires from requiring chains. Utah is chains or 4wd, no chains required if you have AWD/4WD.

Some police will ignore Subaru's altogether, but this may not always be the case. I got into an argument with a Colorado officer over not having chains, but I did have snow radials on, and you should not put chains on snow tires as they can damage the soft rubber. I finally one the argument by switching to Canadian french and pretending not to undestand. The only reason that I got questioned was that I stopped to help him get his rear wheel drive summer performance tire equipped (with snow chains) Ford Crown Vic out of a ditch!!

Most Subarus can use the cable type snow chains on the front wheels only, but the 2000-2004 Outback can NOT use chains at all. Foresters might have the same restriction. Check your users manual in the tire maintenance section.

AWD will get you going in snow and ice, but does nothing for braking. Snow tires do improve the AWD performance significantly, and also greatly aid in braking.

#3 Ranger83

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 05:33 AM

From the ODOT:

When you drive in winter conditions, you may see signs telling you to carry chains or traction tires and when you are required to use them. In some areas, lighted message signs also will advise you about chaining up. To view the signs or learn more about Oregon's chain law and the vehicles that may be exempt from it go to Oregon's Chain Law.

Under some conditions vehicles rated at 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW) or less and not towing or being towed may be allowed to use traction tires in place of chains. In very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used. This is known as a conditional road closure. A conditional road closure may occur on any of Oregon's higways and are frequent in the winter on Interstate 5 through the Siskiyou Pass south of Ashland.

A "traction tire" is one that meets the Rubber Manufacturers Association definition as suitable for use in severe snow conditions, which are marked with a snowflake/mountain emblem on the sidewall:

When allowed in place of chains, traction tires are to be placed as shown on Minimum Chain Requirements.

Studded tires are legal in Oregon from November 1 to April 1. The studs must be made of a rigid material that wears at the same rate as the tire tread. Studs must extend at least .04 inch but not more than .06 inch beyond the tread surface.



#4 applegump

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 07:46 AM

I'd prefer to be in a FWD or RWD car with snow tires than an AWD car with summer tires.

#5 mtsmiths

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 12:02 PM

But not nearly as much as an accident from driving on summer tires in snow condiions.

Bite the bullet and spring for a set of studded snows and some wheels. It will make your winters a joy, instead of a concern.

#6 99obw

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 12:26 PM

Originally posted by captainehh
Hi guys-
Coming from driving a 4WD Chevy truck for several years, I never had to run chains on the HWY in winter. Does anybody know how the hwy department handles Subarus when there is a mandatory chain advisory for other vehicles? Basically I'm hoping I can get around buying a spare set of wheels and snow tires. I just want to make sure that when I get to the top of Willamette Pass, I wont be turned around because I don't have the right setup. I'm sure snow tires help, but albeit the AWD does a heck of a lot more!



My FWD car with snow tires will run circles around my wife's Subaru with all-seasons under most conditions on a paved road. I run snow tires on both cars, because I think snow tires are a necessity for this part of the country. When we first bought the subaru I was surprised at how poorly it cornered with the factory all-seasons. The rear wheels want to push you straight when you are trying to turn. AFAIK most people around here run all-seasons.

The AWD does not do a heck of a lot more IMHO. Once you are moving AWD doesn't do much, other than keep you moving, which most FWDs don't have a problem with. Snow tires are most important for things like steering and braking.

I drove in some incredible winter conditions this morning with my FWD. No problems thanks to my winter tires. I hate lake effect snow!

#7 BlueTrain

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 01:23 AM

i hope you were jokin when you said you hated lake effect snow...:D i used to live in the upper peninsula of michigan right on lake superior, and when the cold arctic express would come rollin over the lake out of canada, the snow machine would dump 12-18 inches of beautiful lake effect snow overnight. ahh .. kinda miss those dumps...




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