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Chains or studded snows?

Discussion in 'Residential Snow Removal' started by Lee1, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. Lee1

    Lee1 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Hello, I have a very steep driveway in upstate NY. I bought a 1995 f-250 (4 wheel drive) with a fisher plow. Can I get away with tire chains on the rear wheels on ice, or do I need 4 studed snows? Thanks in advance Lee1 :help:
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    While tire chains may actually give you better traction, I'd suggest studs. I tried chains last year, but wound up breaking the chains, which then got rapped around a brake line and snapping it. They broke cause I got a call after a 14" snowfall to plow out a neighbor who lived on a steep hill. These weren't the cheapies either: http://www.tirechain.com/HEAVYTRUCK.htm

    I use studs on my sanding truck and get along fine on pure ice on some pretty steep roads.
  3. plowed

    plowed Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    To add to what Mick said, plenty of ballast will help as well. Enough ballast is a requirement in your situation.
  4. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    I say chains. If good quality (that wont brake) if truck is a daily driver. If only used during snow then studs would be just fine.
  5. Hiwire

    Hiwire Member
    Messages: 76

    Is there blactop involved in any of your plowing? It doesnt take much to spin a wheel whether its on ice or not. I work in landscaping as well as plowing snow and I see a lot of driveways and its obvious when someone has studs. They really do a job on blacktop. With todays tires, I dont think you really need studs unless your drive is excessively steep. If it was me, Id pass on the studs and stick with the chains if its that steep. More Ballast would definitely make a difference too.
    Syracuse, NY
  6. Lee1

    Lee1 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks for the advice, my driveway is shale and dirt and is very steep. I suppose I will buy a good set of chains and put them on when I need them. As a follow up can I get away with one set, and where would go with them (front or rear)
    Thanks again guys! Lee1 :cool:
  7. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    You could probably do with just the rear. But without knowing your driveway thats something you will need to decide.
  8. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Chains, good chain type chains (not cable type) properly installed and tensioned are the better choice because they can be removed when not needed and can be used in mud, dirt, etc. Studs are only good for a limited life where chains can be rebuilt, tires cannot be re studded when the wear out or throw them. Highway travel will often throw studs, and different locals have limits on when studded tires can be driven on the roads.(here is Dec 1 through Apr 1) Plus, they loose traction on dry roads.

    I would suggest putting the chains on the front first- that's where the weight is on the truck from the engine and plow. Even with ballast the front should be more effective. Get the V-bar reinforced chains and buy extra cross bars. Buy the spring type tensioners, not the rubber band type, and you want the spring type that are star shaped. The rubber ones break often, and the circular springs break and become useless where the star shaped (all attached at the center ) are still useable on the road when a spring breaks.

    If you don;t put them on properly, don't put on tensioners, and don;t re-adjust them as they stretch you will have problems like Mick had.
  9. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    Justme i thought about advicing on front use. But think back would be best becuase with ballast and no plow which would be most times of comming in and out of his driveway the back would be better. Plus most times wont even need 4x4 where if on front he would have to have in 4x4 to be able to use.

  10. Lee1

    Lee1 Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Thanks again, Ill put chains on the weighted end of the truck (when needed). Lee1 :rolleyes:
  11. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I took it to be for plowing, not all the time. He got the idea tho. Chains when needed, and the Vbar reinforced will give better traction on ice than regular chains.

    Besides, if he needs the chains he'll need 4x4. It's possible to drive through things in 2wd with chains but why not use the 4wd and benifit from it too? I was always taught chains are for when 4wd isn't enough, not a replacement unless you don;t have a 4wd truck.

    When my drive ices up (often) I treat it like any customers drive- ice melt.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2005
  12. PSDF350

    PSDF350 Senior Member
    Messages: 577

    I hear ya. But really chains are for when your not getting traction. once the chains are on traction is acheived. Which really makes it not a necessity for 4x4. Not that using it wont help just in all probability not really needed. But like you said he gets the idea and will do what works best.
  13. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 209

    I prefer chains on the front for one reason: I've gotten into sticky situations while stacking, or at the end of a paved surface. I lift the plow to back up, and and the rear wheels just spin due to lack of weight. (granted, this is with a Jeep: light truck/short wheelbase = worst of both worlds)

    With chains on the front tires, I can push back banks as far as I want, and I've never encountered anything that I can't back out of with ease.

    Just food for thought.