quote:Originally posted by joker
If the 99 crv is like my 2007 crv, the front wheels are the primary drive wheels and the rears kick in when the crv thinks you need them. SOP is to put the chains on the drive wheels.
Just got an '09 Escape Hybrid with awd, and the manual says to put chains on the front only. These slip&grip systems, as joker said, primarily drive with the front wheels. It may overstress driveline components to let unchained front wheels spin while transferring power to the chained rear wheels. There may also be a limit on how much power can go to the rear, while presumably 100% can go to the front.
Today's small suv's, with the exception of the Grand Vitara, have most of their weight on the front end, so that's another reason to have the chains on the front. I've always put the chains on the back of the GV because of its perfect weight distribution and sturdy 4x4 drivetrain.
Some vehicles, like the X-Trail, or the Hylander Hybrid awd (using a third electric motor to run the back axle) can overheat their power transfer mechanism causing it to disengage.
However, I have one problem with this advice. It MAY be better to have the chains on the back for going down slippery steep descents. I'd rather have the vehicle "hanging" from the chained back wheels than lock up the unchained back end and have it come around. In this age of ABS, however, this may not be a valid concern. Having chains on the front helps maintain steering also.
Be sure to keep chains tight. If they're loose you can damage bodywork or cut brake lines. And don't even think about buying any chains except the Alpine/diamond back models. The simpler chains are just junk in comparison. Make sure you fit your chains before driving away from the store. After a bad experience last week at the Grandview Canadain Tire, I know that at this time of year chain displays can be in total disarray with wrong chains in the bags.