Tire chain recommendations? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 03:07 AM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: , BC, Canada.
Posts: 2,463
Question Tire chain recommendations?

Given the horrible exchange policies for tire chains (which is understandable,) I'd like to seek out a recommendation for tire chains before buying my next pair. This will be for a car (Subaru Outback.) I think the user's manual actually says you should not use chains but they are required on some roads (Elfin Lakes access road in particular.)

The ones I am using right now are very difficult to put on properly. It takes a lot of time to put them on and it's almost impossible to get them tight enough so they end up flailing around. Given that they are designed to fit a range of tires, my specific tires might just be too far on one side of the range.

As I was looking through chains on the Canadian Tire website I saw this listed as a feature for one of the chains:
"Easy to install, in approximately 15 minutes"

I'd prefer to avoid spending 15 minutes to put on a pair of chains. Are there any that install in less time? Even better, are there any that don't require you to reach into your dirty wheel wheel to clip the other side?
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 10:08 AM
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: May 2009
Location: , , Canada.
Posts: 1,193

As a useless fragile gimmick intended to sell a product that just won't work, probably. As a practical tool, no.

I saw a set of big truck chains that the inner side was adjusted to length just once with removable links, then easily installed with just a single strong hook. The outside (the one you can reach properly) had a camming tightener with a short threaded adjustment. Something like that would be the best solution if it can be found in small sizes.

Beware gimmicks! This is precisely the type of purchase that the marketing monster loves to sell cleverly promoted useless crap to, especially with that no-return policy.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 10:26 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Hope, BC, Canada.
Posts: 186

The inside loop of the tire chain has to be able to seperate, otherwise it'd mean lifting a tire in the air to weasel it on.
Having a few extras on hand makes putting chains on much easier & safer.
I typically have a half size blue foamy to lay on while getting down & dirty, a pair of close fitting rubber palmed work gloves, and a high vis vest (as you're usually rolling around on the side of the road, it can be very difficult for others to see you). Practice putting your chains on at home a few times, getting soaked & cold while trying to figure it all out is no fun.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 12:27 PM
Headed for the Mountains
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Location: Wetcoast
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I used Alpine Premier (Laclede) for many years and on various cars. Nice chains. Canadian Tire has them and I also bought a set used, just have to find out what fits your tires..

Reasonably easy to put on. If two people do the job and know what they are doing it can be done in less than 10 minutes. I found it helps to turn the wheel you put the chain on outward. Always messy though, I always keep an old jacket and gloves in the car.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 02:16 PM
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada.
Interest: general mountaineering/ hiking/ backpacking/ skiing/ kayaking
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Thule makes high quality chains that are easy to put on and remove. They can be pretty pricey, depending on the model, but you get what you pay for.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 07:24 PM
Hittin' the Trails
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Originally Posted by BackCountryPunk View Post
Practice putting your chains on at home a few times, getting soaked & cold while trying to figure it all out is no fun.
is the best answer. If you know what you're doing it's a 5 minute procedure.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 09:47 PM
Summit Master
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Vancouver, , .
Posts: 2,674

Beware that at Canadian Tire, where the chains are on display, people swap more expensive chains into packages and bags labelled for cheaper chains. This way they get a discount. Two years ago every bag in the bin for my size had a different size chain in the bag, and none of them were the right size. The staff were totally unhelpful in resolving this, and so I ended up buying a set that was the wrong size.

The problem arises that if you buy chains and find they are the wrong size, even if you try them in Canadian Tire's parking lot, they will not take them back. It took me an hour to convince them to take mine back.

Two suggestions to lower your risk:
At least some chains have a few numbers stamped somewhere on them, that correspond to part of the code on the outside of the package. This is true for the best chains, the Diamond pattern ones.

Second, you might consider taking your spare tire into the store with you to fit the chains. If the staff challenges you, just explain that the combination of their contaminated stock and strict return policies make it necessary.

I ended up buying a set someone didn't need, never used, for about 60% of the new price.

Meet you at DYE-II?
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 03:25 AM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: , BC, Canada.
Posts: 2,463

Thanks for all the pointers. I'll see what I can find in the store. I've put these chains on and off a number of times so I'm fairly well practiced and I haven't been very impressed. That said, it sounds like a dirty jacket, a foam mat, and a pair of gardening gloves is a great piece of advice no matter what chains I am using.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 07:30 AM
Headed for the Mountains
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Interest: Exploring BC ... preferably self propelled, self supported with free heels and a free spirit
Posts: 321

Wesco Industries in Langley sell all sorts of tire chains at reasonable prices, especially if you're in the market for beefier chains like the V-bar variety or need spider bungee cord.

The OP may be interested in the traction device mentioned at the bottom of pg 3:

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post #10 of (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 09:20 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada.
Posts: 1,753

Just a comment that for casual use, elastic tighteners help a lot with the flail.

I use bungees, but the pre-made ones are more convenirnt.
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