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Can the CHP require/force you to have chains with an AWD car?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   red2010limited

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 12:07 PM

I own a 2010 Flex Limited that came with the 255/45R20 20" wheels. The manual clearly states don't use chains, cables, or any other traction devices on the vehicle. I've examined the wheel well area and there is almost no clearence (the front struts actually go out over the top of the tire!).

My worry is if I'm going to the mountains in a blizzard, can the California Highway Patrol stop you and prevent you from going on if you don't have chains in the car, even though the car is AWD? I've driven up to the local mountains and up to Mammoth in blizzards, but have always owned two wheel drive vehicles and used chains when needed.

Also, how does an AWD vehicle do when the roads are real icy? Can you crawl along and not get stuck (hills, parking lots, etc)?

Does anyone have experience with the Thule K-Summit XXL Premium traction devices that just clamp onto the outside of the wheel/tire? They look like they could work on this car, but they are rediculously expensive ($540).

Thanks
Mark

#2 OFFLINE   absolutboy20

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Posted 28 December 2010 - 11:20 PM

I'm actually facing the same issue with my Flex AWD. As it seems like you live in California where you seem to only experience snow issues when you go boarding, my recommendation would be REALLY good all-season tires and no chains.

I think in terms of the CHP and the requirement for chains, I've never had to place the chains on an AWD or 4WD vehicle at the checkpoints. I have heard of the checkpoints sometimes requiring that you show you have chains in possession for AWD/4WD vehicles, and I'm thinking of just carrying the chains from my old Nissan Murano (chains still brand new and never used) to satisfy this requirement if it were to happen. I do not intend to place any chains on my Flex due to the clearance and owner's manual recommendation.

I can see that if the officer were a true stickler that he may get you with the requirement that if chains requirements are enforced, that it doesn't apply if you have an AWD/4WD vehicle WITH SNOW TIRES. Since I live on the coast in California and only experience snow when I go to Tahoe, switching to winter tires for my weekend trips to go skiing didn't make sense.

One more thing. My 255 45 20 tires were Goodyear Eagle RS-A's. They are horrible on snow and you can see the reviews to that effect on the tire review sites. I've gone ahead and purchased the Continental ExtremeContact DWS tires and I'm actually getting them tomorrow via FedEx. The problem is finding the tires, they are so popular they are back-ordered and are not expected to come into stock for another 60-90 days.

Never had any problems getting around with AWD. As always, it's the stopping/sliding that gets tricky =) . You can have AWD, traction control, and stability control on but it still wont' compensate for black ice. Bottom line = drive slower.

Good luck!



I own a 2010 Flex Limited that came with the 255/45R20 20" wheels. The manual clearly states don't use chains, cables, or any other traction devices on the vehicle. I've examined the wheel well area and there is almost no clearence (the front struts actually go out over the top of the tire!).

My worry is if I'm going to the mountains in a blizzard, can the California Highway Patrol stop you and prevent you from going on if you don't have chains in the car, even though the car is AWD? I've driven up to the local mountains and up to Mammoth in blizzards, but have always owned two wheel drive vehicles and used chains when needed.

Also, how does an AWD vehicle do when the roads are real icy? Can you crawl along and not get stuck (hills, parking lots, etc)?

Does anyone have experience with the Thule K-Summit XXL Premium traction devices that just clamp onto the outside of the wheel/tire? They look like they could work on this car, but they are rediculously expensive ($540).

Thanks
Mark



#3 OFFLINE   frpda205

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Posted 30 December 2010 - 06:28 PM

these should meet the CHP requirement
http://www.scc-chain...s/Trac_SZ6.html

#4 OFFLINE   VitesseFLEX

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Posted 09 January 2011 - 01:46 PM

I own a 2010 Flex Limited that came with the 255/45R20 20" wheels. The manual clearly states don't use chains, cables, or any other traction devices on the vehicle. I've examined the wheel well area and there is almost no clearence (the front struts actually go out over the top of the tire!).

My worry is if I'm going to the mountains in a blizzard, can the California Highway Patrol stop you and prevent you from going on if you don't have chains in the car, even though the car is AWD? I've driven up to the local mountains and up to Mammoth in blizzards, but have always owned two wheel drive vehicles and used chains when needed.

Also, how does an AWD vehicle do when the roads are real icy? Can you crawl along and not get stuck (hills, parking lots, etc)?

Does anyone have experience with the Thule K-Summit XXL Premium traction devices that just clamp onto the outside of the wheel/tire? They look like they could work on this car, but they are rediculously expensive ($540).

Thanks
Mark


It all depends on the individual stateís policy about such things. California is pretty well documented on all this. Iíve inserted some links to their various resources (below) that you can review.

Importantly, most often itís R1 and R2 controls. If you have AWD and M+S tires, they will let you through without chains. You will wait in line for evaluation with everyone else, but, you will get waved through when the checker verifies the facts. Not much faster, but saves putting on the traction devices. When I lived there, while that was true, you were nonetheless required to carry traction control devices between a certain date in Nov and Mar as I recall. Guess that was for unusual circumstances of the rare "R-3". Anyway, see snip below for their general ďR-levelĒ controls:

Chain Requirement Levels and Traffic Control Definitions

R-1: Chains or snow tread tires required. Snow tires must have a tread depth of 6/32" with a "M & S" imprint on the tire's sidewall.
R-2: Chains required on all vehicles except four-wheel drives or all-wheel drives with snow tread tires on all four wheels.
R-3: Chains required - ALL VEHICLES- no exceptions

R-1 and R-2 are the most common chain controls. The highway will often be closed before an R-3 control is imposed.

http://www.dot.ca.go...hainRequire.pdf

http://www.dot.ca.go...wRemovalOps.pdf

Your other questions:
- As for crawling along, now living in MI, our 2011 FLEX LTD AWD has had zero issues surviving this winter's conditions to-date as equipped from the factory. Very nice winter vehicle.
- The Thule devices are reported to be very nice to install and use and, yes, are quite dear. I haven't purchased them yet. If I still lived in the Sierras, they would be my choice with this car.

#5 OFFLINE   ACDII

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:12 PM

One more thing. My 255 45 20 tires were Goodyear Eagle RS-A's. They are horrible on snow and you can see the reviews to that effect on the tire review sites


Those must have been the old style Goodyears. The ones on my Ecoboost SEL have VERY good traction, the ones on my Fusion SUCK! They are both clearly different tire designs, but both are the Goodyear RS-A model tires. Looks like they changed tire designs some time in late 2009. If you in fact had those old style tires, yes, the traction would be horrible.

#6 OFFLINE   eosBlue

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 09:53 PM

Without getting into whether Ford apparently says (see previous posts) not to put chains/cables on a Ford Flex due to limited wheel clearance, IF someone did decide to "cable" up, should all 4 wheels on an AWD be cabled?






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