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Old 09-09-2014, 11:12 PM
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Any snow chains restrictions on Wranglers?

Are there any issues with buying and using snow chains on stock Rubicon tires? On any other Wrangler model+tire combos? With larger tires such as 35s?

Seems like a silly question, but I got burned by not researching this for my Jeep Liberty Limited 4x4. To look cooler, it has factory 235/60R18 tires, BUT they are so large that there is NO clearance for chains -- the Jeep manual forbids even cable or other skinny chains. I never imagined this restriction so didn't discover it up-front.

This creates a huge problem here in California. From roughly November to May, signs are displayed on all mountain roads and many other highways saying CHAINS MUST BE CARRIED. The State displays these signs not because there is actually snow/ice at any particular time, just because it's the season. Having 4WD and snow tires doesn't change the legal requirement, even if it helps avoid actual chain use. On a warm April day with no snow for 50 miles, I see the signs still posted.

Imagine owning a vehicle that is illegal to drive in major areas of the State for half the year. Jeep sold me one. To comply I must drive my minivan instead of my Liberty 4x4. I'm about to switch to a Wrangler and won't make that mistake again, so I'm asking just to be sure.

(Sure, I could buy smaller wheels and tires, or add lifts and spacers, or ignore the official signs, or dodge CHP/Caltrans checkpoints, or buy and carry chains that can't really be used. But if I'm going to throw money at the problem, a Wrangler is the solution I like best!)

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Old 09-10-2014, 11:41 AM
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From the CA DOT website-

"What are the R-1, R-2 conditions that I hear about?

Although Caltrans does not post signs with these designations nor use them to announce chain controls to the public, they are used internally within Caltrans and the CHP as a kind of shorthand to describe chain restrictions and may be included in traffic reports disseminated by various news outlets.
There are three primary categories of chain restrictions, as shown below:
R-1: Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on at least two drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires. All vehicles towing trailers must have chains on one drive axle. Trailers with brakes must have chains on at least one axle.
R-2: Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel-drive vehicles under 6,500 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on all four wheels. Chains for one set of drive wheels must be carried by four wheel-drive vehicles using snow tires.
R-3: Chains are required on all vehicles without exception.
R-1 and R-2 are the most common conditions. A highway will often be closed before an R-3 condition is imposed. Some local areas may use variations of these designations. You must follow the directions on the signs posted for chain controls or any instructions given by Caltrans or CHP personnel at chain control check points, even if these are at variance with broadcast road condition reports or information contained herein."

What I take this to mean is that you do not need chains throughout winter no matter what, only when certain weather conditions (the R- restrictions) are announced.
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:51 AM
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Re: Any snow chains restrictions on Wranglers?

What he said.
You can go to CA DOT site for details of the laws involved.

Note that it indicates you must carry chains, nobody said they must either fit or that you must install them on a 4wd vehicle with snow tires.

The reason some Jeeps don't support chains, or require a very specific type of cable chain is clearance, not just for wheel clearance, but to avoid damage to the ABS system. Your Owners Manual is the proper source of information for your model.

I have a dim memory that the snow tires may require the snow flake symbol, but don't remember if that was made into law or was just a proposal. I generally avoided driving if the roads got that bad, mainly because of the other drivers plus the 4wd vehicles that could not grasp the concept that 4wd does very little to help braking on the steeper downhills...
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:52 PM
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Re: Any snow chains restrictions on Wranglers?

From my 2014 Owners Manual:

TIRE CHAINS (TRACTION DEVICES)
Use of traction devices require sufficient tire-to-body clearance. Follow these recommendations to guard against damage.

• Traction device must be of proper size for the tire, as recommended by the traction device manufacturer.
• Install on Rear Tires Only.
• P225/75R16 or a P235/65R17 tire with the use of a traction device that meets the SAE type “Class S” specification is recommended.

WARNING!
Using tires of different size and type (M+S, Snow) between front and rear axles can cause unpredictable handling. You could lose control and have a collision.

CAUTION!
To avoid damage to your vehicle or tires, observe the following precautions:
• Because of restricted traction device clearance between tires and other suspension components, it is important that only traction devices in good condition are used. Broken devices can cause serious damage. Stop the vehicle immediately if noise occurs that could indicate device breakage. Remove the damaged parts of the device before further use.
• Install device as tightly as possible and then retighten after driving about ˝ mile (0.8 km).
• Do not exceed 30 mph (48 km/h).
• Drive cautiously and avoid severe turns and large bumps, especially with a loaded vehicle.
• Do not drive for a prolonged period on dry pavement.
• Observe the traction device manufacturer’s instructions on the method of installation, operating speed, and conditions for use. Always use the suggested operating speed of the device manufacturer’s if it is less than 30 mph (48 km/h).
• Do not use traction devices on a compact spare tire.
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Old 09-10-2014, 01:18 PM
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Re: Any snow chains restrictions on Wranglers?

So it looks like they can be used, which is what one would expect of the Wranglers more open tirework.

I'm personally quite partial to the SCC brand meself, for states where studs aren't legal but chains may be required.
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Old 09-10-2014, 02:37 PM
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235/60/r18 are only 29 inch tires, do they really leave no room for chains?
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