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Hi,


Winter is here! I need to buy snow chains for my RAV4 (I live in Oregon!). I've seen that recently many shops carry cables as well as chains. I don't really plan to go off-road in deep snow; just the trips to ski resorts. So here are my questions:

1- Are cables as effective as chains? They seem to be much lighter and also cheaper! Good chains (like THULE) are quite expensive...

2- For a AWD RAV4, do I need 2 pairs or 1 pair will be enough? I know it's better to have 2 pairs for a 4WD but I'm not sure it would really matter that much for RAV's AWD.

3- Do you recommend any specific brand? I liked SCC's Super Z-6 cables ($70 for a pair here: http://www.vulcantire.com/cgi-bin/chainsearch.cgi?size=225/65-17&model=SZ143&f=chainz6_c.htm)

I searched a bit on this forum and elsewhere but didn't find a satisfactory advice. It would be a big help if you could comment on these queestions.

-Arash
 

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Hey! another oregonian! yay! im normally from portland.

I just bought my CHAINS for the season. I did some shopping in the store (while i was in pdx for t-day) for cables and chains but most were from $69 to $100 so that was out of the question. I went to costco online www.costco.com and found scc CHAINS for the rav at $55 before tax (had em shipped to arizona, i will be trekking from AZ to PDX in three weeks Dec 19)...

so i only got one pair (to be installed on front two wheels, its normally in FWD until it needs power at the rear wheels) of the link type chains from costco, and if i dont use them i can return them to costco for full refund.


i considered cable types and looked at them. there are two types:

--Ladder Cables are where the cables go straight across the tire tread, leaving patches exposed and without chain, these also go "thump thump" while you drive.


--Z-style are zig zaged accross the tire tread so there is always cable on the road.


types of link chains vary too:
--ladder as above, same thing but with chain link


--diamond which have diamond shape criss crosses over the tread, and a continuous chain line running the middle of the tread (constant contact) imo, much more aggressive than the z style.



i got the link type chains because i liked their pattern. some say they may be too heavy or overkill for the rav's weight and capability, but i feel with the diamond pattern the scc costco chains offered better more continuous contact with the surface, more like the All Terrain Tires of Snow Chains. once they are properly installed they will fit taught and grip well, not compromising any body panels or integral components as they are "S" rated (which means they fit properly for low clearence cars/tire wells

try checking Les Schwab also, and look at costco they have some GOOD deals...these types are all universal so the diamond pattern was not special to costco only...


if you are able to find cables in your size low priced, then i would reccomend them as they are more compact, slightly easier to install and seem great for running to ski resorts. link chain just were a good deal at the time.

beware of one thing about the cable type: there are two styles the SCC style and the knock off style. the scc have these tension coils on the cable versus flat rollers. the main difference is that the flat rollers may get squished under the weight and cause the cable it surrounds to break and fling around. the tension coil type is cut and coiled around the cable and provdes a bite less prone to just squishing on ice.
see what i mean:
 
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NYPD said:
I'm always worried about the chain breaking and destroying your entire well.
chains are much more effective and you are not supposed to drive with chains on very fast anyway. Good chains are not easy to break if you drive on snowy road.
 

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Don't waste your money on the Super Z6 cables. They are specialty cables designed for very low clearance applications - they only need 6 mm clearance. I just bought a set for my Mazda6, and they are good cables, but you can get a set of the regular Z cables for about half the cost. There are no clearance issues on the front of the RAV4.

Buy one set - you should not run them on the back:
http://www.spokanister.net/vehicles_RAV4_ABS.htm

Better yet, invest in a full set of snow tires, and you will never have to put the cables on, unless you get another Ice Storm.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
skyscam: Thanks a lot for your detailed answer. I guess I go for a pair of z style cables. Good chains are two expensive (I found a pair THULE XG-12 for $197! Oooch!).

John: good find. Those pictures put everything in perspective. That cable is dangerously close to the tire. I agree that with RAV4 probably putting chains on the rear tires is not going to help much anyway and I would trade a little bit of extra traction for a functioning break any day :)

About winter tires vs chains, well, I used to live in Switzerland for the last 7 years before moving to Oregon. There every car has two sets of tires: a winter and a summer set. Nobody uses all-seasons tires as generally they consider them sub-optimal for both summer and winter! The rule of thumb there is when the temperature falls below 7C (about 44F) they change the tires. The idea is that this is the temperature below which most summer tire become two rigid that stopping distance even on a clear, nice road increases significantly.

Anyway, there are occasions that even with winter tires you need to have chains. That happened to me back in Switzerland only once: there was this steep hill right at the parking entrance of a ski resort that was covered with ice. My car got stuck there. Luckily I had a pair of THULE chains in my car. I could install them while my car was stuck in the ice, with two wheels on the road, two wheels on the pavement (as a result car was inclined like 20 degrees), in less than 5 minutes. There was noway I could get out of it without chains. After that experience I always carry a pair of chains in my car in winter. It only happened to me once in 7 years (and I used to go to ski every single weekend back then) but that one time showed me how important it is to be prepared for emergency situations.

-Arash
 

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alefsin said:
skyscam: Thanks a lot for your detailed answer. I guess I go for a pair of z style cables. Good chains are two expensive (I found a pair THULE XG-12 for $197! Oooch!).
alefsin: Youre welcome! (i love helping ppl here, lol). Im not trying to argue with your cable decision, but i wanted to say that scc and thule make some of the best link chains around, and those scc chains i bought were only 55 at costco! find a friend (or use your membership) and just pick those up! imo better deal!
what delirium said is true, the chains are much better for traction in all conditions.

John E Davies said:
Better yet, invest in a full set of snow tires, and you will never have to put the cables on, unless you get another Ice Storm
John! i KNEW you would say that! haha, youre a classic on these boards! thx for all you do and know! :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
alefsin: Youre welcome! (i love helping ppl here, lol). Im not trying to argue with your cable decision, but i wanted to say that scc and thule make some of the best link chains around, and those scc chains i bought were only 55 at costco! find a friend (or use your membership) and just pick those up! imo better deal!
what delirium said is true, the chains are much better for traction in all conditions
Well, I've not made a definitive decision to go for cables yet. Did you pay $55 for a pair of SCC Whitestar Alloy chains? That's a great price. The best I could find was more than $90. I like the diamond pattern of that chain.

However SCC's chain has a weakness: it can scratch the ring. Notice that the THULE chains (or SCC's z-chain) are designed in way that no part comes close the surface of the ring. (look at the pictures here: http://www.vulcantire.com/cgi-bin/chainsearch.cgi?size=225/65-17).
 

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alefsin said:
Well, I've not made a definitive decision to go for cables yet. Did you pay $55 for a pair of SCC Whitestar Alloy chains? That's a great price. The best I could find was more than $90. I like the diamond pattern of that chain.

However SCC's chain has a weakness: it can scratch the ring. Notice that the THULE chains (or SCC's z-chain) are designed in way that no part comes close the surface of the ring. (look at the pictures here: http://www.vulcantire.com/cgi-bin/chainsearch.cgi?size=225/65-17).
oh i see, you mean those chains dont come in contct with the metal rim of the wheel.

yeah the ones from costco (here: costco ) come over the rim but are suspended away from the metal with the rubber ring thing. check the costco photo. but thats just my .02, i got em cuz they were cheap insurance, only need to use em once to pay for their value. and yes they were 57.99 for the pair with shipping free from costco online.

btw: these are the Eurotech alloy by SCC not the Whitestar alloy by SCC, but i looked into it and they seem to be EXACTLY the same, both made of manganese alloy and having the exact same design, i wonder what the difference is. the SCC website doesnt even list the Eurotech Alloy as a product... prob just the name for marketing...lol
 

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My understanding goes as far as:

1) Chains/cables only go on tires that are drive tires. If you have 2wd, it's the 2 wheels that moves the car. If you have AWD, it goes on all 4.

2) Chains are always better but can't go very fast.

3) Cables aren't as good but you can go faster.

4) If the roads are plowed and yet "chains required" sign is there, it's better to run cables as they are less likely to break hitting the pavement.

5) No matter, better tires and AWD go a long way. Chains/cables are a pain to put on especially in the cold. If you ever get into a situation where you MUST have chains on an AWD vehicle equipped with mud and snow tires, chances are you probably don't want to drive anyways.... or you have a set of studded snow tires.

Anyways, that's the extent of my knowledge on this topic.
 

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Has anyone tried a set of "tire socks" on the standard size Rav4 tires? They don't make socks specifically for the standard tires, but maybe they have a size that fits close enough?
 

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wheelguy said:
Has anyone tried a set of "tire socks" on the standard size Rav4 tires? They don't make socks specifically for the standard tires, but maybe they have a size that fits close enough?
Found this You Tube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zn8C5AxgpgU dealing with 'TIRE SOCKS'.

The product looks interesting! :thumbs_up:
 

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wheelguy said:
Has anyone tried a set of "tire socks" on the standard size Rav4 tires? They don't make socks specifically for the standard tires, but maybe they have a size that fits close enough?
I posted a review of my experience with the AutoSock from my roadtrip to Whistler last Christmas, when I drove through the snowstorm that Oregon DOT called the worst in 29 years.

The verdict: the Autosocks work incredibly well in getting you through some hairy/epic winter conditions, and they are very easy to install.

I used AutoSock size 765 on my Sport, and by my calculations they should fit the Limited tires as well.

Hope that helps!
 

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RAVPHO said:
wheelguy said:
Has anyone tried a set of "tire socks" on the standard size Rav4 tires? They don't make socks specifically for the standard tires, but maybe they have a size that fits close enough?
I posted a review of my experience with the AutoSock from my roadtrip to Whistler last Christmas, when I drove through the snowstorm that Oregon DOT called the worst in 29 years.

The verdict: the Autosocks work incredibly well in getting you through some hairy/epic winter conditions, and they are very easy to install.

I used AutoSock size 765 on my Sport, and by my calculations they should fit the Limited tires as well.

Hope that helps!
Thanks for that thread.

How did the autosock hold up? How many miles did you drive with them and how does it look l ike it's wearing?
 

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Yeah, durability is the main concern with those autosocks. If it's not durable, 99 bucks a pop is a big expense.

Even if it's durable, 99 bucks for two polyster covers sounds really steep.
 

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RAVPHO said:
....
I used AutoSock size 765 on my Sport, and by my calculations they should fit the Limited tires as well.

Hope that helps!
Thanks a bunch for the tip. I'm getting a pair of socks or 2, and will do my best to stay off the pavement with them :D. Seems more compact, lighter and easier than chains. I saved a couple of bucks at http://www.tirerack.com/accessories/autosock/autosock.jsp
 

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rav4two said:
RAVPHO said:
wheelguy said:
Has anyone tried a set of "tire socks" on the standard size Rav4 tires? They don't make socks specifically for the standard tires, but maybe they have a size that fits close enough?
I posted a review of my experience with the AutoSock from my roadtrip to Whistler last Christmas, when I drove through the snowstorm that Oregon DOT called the worst in 29 years.

The verdict: the Autosocks work incredibly well in getting you through some hairy/epic winter conditions, and they are very easy to install.

I used AutoSock size 765 on my Sport, and by my calculations they should fit the Limited tires as well.

Hope that helps!
Thanks for that thread.

How did the autosock hold up? How many miles did you drive with them and how does it look l ike it's wearing?
You bet! I've answered this question here, and provided some additional information from my experience.
 
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