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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Quick reference on this. I'm planning to go up to Mt. Baldy soon and was told that I'm gonna need (better to be safe) chains on my tires. i do not have steelies as what others would do on snowie condition. but have some questions here. 1. would may stock 4.4 XLE rims get any damaged on (paint/finish wise) when exposed to snow or if chains are attached to it? 2. my stack tires Dunlop are up the challenge?

thank you for all the help :smile
 

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Ooooo.....tire chains..... Huh...... Well, I would much rather have a good set of snow tires, maybe those specific for snow (example: Blizac or studded snow tires WAY before I would put chains on a car. If it was my old Blue '76 Datsun pickup (Old Yeller) I maybe would consider it. I actually had them for Old Yeller but never had to put them on. Chains are OK but they beat up: 1) your tires; 2) your rims/wheels; 3) your car. If I was STUCK and had tried everything else to get out, I would then put the chains on. The last time I had chains on was on my VW Square Back exactly for that reason. Slid off the road outside of Peoria, IL on New Year's eve (no alcohol involved, just ICY road) and ended up in the median of the interstate. Put them on to get out of the ditch, took them off and roared down the road to catch the pickup that had offered to take me into town.... Fond memories. Most RAV4s are AWD and do just fine in the snow without chains...... IMHO.....
 

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Depending on how recent the snow fall was you may be required to carry them and need to put them on if they haven't cleared the road.
It's only 3 or 4 miles up to the lift if I remember right.
This is SoCal Snow tires to go skiing for the day would be over the top.
 

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You would have to check with Caltrans or whichever road authority is responsible for the road on Mt. Baldy. In some areas Caltrans and other authorities require that chains at least be carried, and if there is quite a lot of snow on the road chains may be required.
 

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I see in your "About Me" it's a 4WD, so IMO you'll have no problem climbing in snow unless your tires are bald. The danger is driving down which you must do very carefully, but again with reasonably good tires and ABS you're likely OK. If regulations require chains you should at least carry them or some kind of strap-on traction enhancers.

My story: Way back when I was driving a rented Chevy Vega from Vegas to LA. Had plenty of time so I decided I'd spend the night at a ski lodge at the top of the Sierras. Road was dry at the bottom with "chains required" signs. I wondered why and kept going with the little RWD Vega and my love-a-challenge attitude. Then it got dark and wet, then snow. With no place to turn around I kept going - all the way to the top by keeping my momentum up. At the top cars had 2-3 feet of snow on them. Next morning I headed down VERY carefully using engine braking and as little brake pedal as possible. One thing that helped is there was no other traffic but I think I held my breath all the way down!

Today, with my 4WD RAV4 and new all-season tires I'd have ZERO problems going up and with ABS and keeping it under 25 mph so 4WD LOCK would stay on, no problem driving down. One condition: My wife can't ride shotgun! :wink
 

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The Doctor wrote: "I was driving a rented Chevy Vega from Vegas to LA"
For the Vega that was a heroic trip. I'm surprised that a fender didn't rust off on the way. :)
 

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Our rules here in Colorado have changed. "Snow tires or chains required" have changed (I believe) to ADEQUATE snow tires and/or AWD/4WD required. There is now (finally) a fine for those that decide to attack The Mountain with bald Summer tires. Our Ski Car is our 2005 RAV4 with good Yokohama YK-HTX tires and AWD. NO problems, even with some of the Snow dumps we have had here. My girlfriend LOVES her car; she is originally from Michigan and is used to driving in adverse Snowy conditions. If you have "Mud and Snow" label on your tires, they are probably adequate. Again, rules on CA may be different..... YMMV.....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you everyone for all your input. I've been here in Calif for sometime now but this is the first time that i thought of goin up the mountain in snow season. I'm very much a newbie driving in snow. Yes my Rav is a AWD XLE with Dunlop tires with M+S badge on it. Deos this mean mud ans snow? tire condition is till very good. only have 20k miles on that Rav+tires at the moment. So as i was reading all your comments, it sounded that it is not necessary to have the chains on from foot to top. But best to have it ready in case snow gets really thick and slippery to ride on. I'm really excited for this trip as this is the first time me and my rav are going to play. need to see and experience for my self the capabilities and limitations of Red. But please don't stop here, i appreciate all the other inputs, pointers that you can give me in driving thru snow.

Thank you again everyone. :)
 

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For a somewhat lower elevation drive to a ski hill like Mt Baldy, you're going to find yourself very well dialed in a AWD RAV and decent M&S tires. If really worried, get cable chains to have just in case--not the metal ones which are a royal pain to install. Very unlikely you will need them, but why not.

Check the weather forecast, and if possible don't drive during the teeth of a storm. Usually easier to drive mid-day instead of late night, for example. A ski resort like Baldy will be quick to clear and sand the road, it is their bread and butter to do so. Here's a report from a mountain near there. Looks windy, and only a bit of new snow forecast, piece of cake:
National Weather Service

To have some fun and enjoy your vehicle, hopefully you are lucky enough to encounter a 'snow floor' on the road surface as you get near the top. Try some stuff: double check for traffic in front and behind, then test your brakes from a slow speed--enough to activate your ABS system. Do this going up the mountain and on the way down. You will build confidence knowing how much traction you have. You will likely chuckle because it is so good! About the only thing to really fear is black ice--easily avoided by checking weather conditions, drive during mid-day if necessary and it's likely been sanded.

Going down the hill, shift into a lower gear, and let the engine gently brake for you. Don't leave in in overdrive and thus have to ride the brakes.

It's gonna be great. The RAV4 really shines in the 'occasional snow' environment. That's why AWD is so cool, it only works when it needs to. Let us know how it goes! Bonus points if you post a picture at a turnout or the Baldy parking lot.

P.S. I just checked the MT Baldy website and apparently they just went bankrupt or something! This may affect the plowing of the road to some extent, so check into it. There are other activities up there, so may not be a big concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
For a somewhat lower elevation drive to a ski hill like Mt Baldy, you're going to find yourself very well dialed in a AWD RAV and decent M&S tires. If really worried, get cable chains to have just in case--not the metal ones which are a royal pain to install. Very unlikely you will need them, but why not.

Check the weather forecast, and if possible don't drive during the teeth of a storm. Usually easier to drive mid-day instead of late night, for example. A ski resort like Baldy will be quick to clear and sand the road, it is their bread and butter to do so. Here's a report from a mountain near there. Looks windy, and only a bit of new snow forecast, piece of cake:
National Weather Service

Hopefully you are lucky enough to encounter a 'snow floor' on the road surface as you get near the top. Try some stuff: double check for traffic in front and behind, then test your brakes from a slow speed--enough to activate your ABS system. Do this going up the mountain and on the way down. You will build confidence knowing how much traction you have. You will likely chuckle because it is so good! About the only thing to really fear is black ice--easily avoided by checking weather conditions, drive during mid-day if necessary.

Going down the hill, shift into a lower gear, and let the engine gently brake for you. Don't leave in in overdrive and thus have to ride the brakes.

It's gonna be great. The RAV4 really shines in the 'occasional snow' environment. That's why AWD is so cool, it only works when it needs to. Let us know how it goes! Bonus points if you post a picture at a turnout or the Baldy parking lot.
thank you ravn4red. i'll try your tips. will post pictures after the trip too :D
 

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There is a question of where to put the chains, front, back or all four. That's enough to convince me to get good Winter tires.
.
 

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If really worried, get cable chains to have just in case--not the metal ones which are a royal pain to install. Very unlikely you will need them, but why not.
Can you give a link to "cable chains?" That's what I was thinking of but haven't seen any in years. Would be WAAAY better that the heavy duty type they use on Semis. If one of those gets loose it beats everything up!

I see only one problem for the OP - I wanna drive! Would be a blast in a 4WD RAV4 - at least until I catch up to a slowpoke.
 

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I've used cable chains on front wheel drive cars a few times. They can be a real pain putting on and taking off, and even with them on you don't have much traction. That's one of the reasons I wanted an AWD car; so I wouldn't have to use chains. But now I've read that in some conditions, in California chains are required no matter what. So I got a set of "real" chains from tirechainsrus.com. Now I'm afraid they could scratch the rims. I didn't realize there is no hub cap to take off and thus avoid scratches! I'll test fit tomorrow (they just arrived today). Hopefully I can just have them as a backup and never actually use them.
 

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I live in CA and have learned that as long as M + S is on the tire, you're good for chain controls as long as you have 4WD or AWD. However, you do have to carry chains. I found some on Craigslist but while I was investigating options, found this cool gadget that would make cables or chains easier to put on:

Discount Ramps Snow Chain Loading Ramp (Pair) | ShopYourWay
 

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