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Anyone used Pewag Servomatik tyre chains?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just moved back to a rear wheel drive car and looking at chains....again. My inclination was to go for one of the single sided install chains like the Thule K-Summit, Spikes Spider etc, only, I've used them before and I wasn't over impressed with the traction from the ladder chains. Oh, and they are expensive. But, having tried to install hoop-style chains on a loaded rear wheel drive, they are worth their weight in all-seasons wax.

Then I came across https://www.snowchainshop.co.uk/collections/snow-chains-for-cars-and-vans/products/pewag-servomatik which look the biz, has anyone used them? they look like they may work ok, but I don't want to find out differently in 3 ft of snow.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Be careful. These still fit behind the tyre, opposite the suspension and brake pipes, as far as I can see. 9mm is narrow but the Spiders et al don't have anything on the interior face of the tyre at all. On my car, even 9mm would be pushing it if the chains were at all loose.

Also, with winter tyres on my M235i (330 BHP, RWD) I've not needed my front-fitting Spike Spiders, even on snowy hill-starts. With winters, the odds of needing the chains is significantly reduced even if you're RWD.

Also make sure you are familiar with the right Traction settings. My BMW Owners Manual is very poorly translated and takes a fair amount of effort to understand, with a lot of confusing acronyms. After multiple pages of tehno-speak, it turns out I might as well just put a snowflake on my 'car-with-wobbly-lines' button and press that for 3 secs when I hit snow, and again when I'm back on tarmac. Hopefully your Owners Manual is a bit clearer. It also turns out that pressing the button for too long turns the car into something completely different - perhaps a Transformer, I'm not sure, anyway, it sounds Not Good for snow. Worth giving it a try to check the process before you actually need it.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Ah yes, winter tyres Sad Unfortunately I can't store wheels/tyres otherwise I'd go that way.

I'm not looking forward to piloting my grandpa-wagon on snow, it 's automatic, too many horses and controls all tucked away on a menu system. As far as I can see, there's no way to put it into second to pull away. As you say , a few minutes with the manual before it is needed in anger might pay dividends.
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@Ham,
Quote:

Ah yes, winter tyres Unfortunately I can't store wheels/tyres otherwise I'd go that way.

Why not ATS store tyres for £7.50 per season
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Run winter tyres all year round. It's no dafter than running summer tyres all year round. Arguably more sensible. You probably won't need chains then so just carry the cheapest that fit, or some snow socks.
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Put winter tyres on my 320, never had to use the chains, and it was so much fun to drive in snow.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
DJL wrote:
Run winter tyres all year round. It's no dafter than running summer tyres all year round. Arguably more sensible. You probably won't need chains then so just carry the cheapest that fit, or some snow socks.


I'm with this ..6 seasons driving about the Alps and I have never had to use my chains
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
DJL wrote:
Run winter tyres all year round. It's no dafter than running summer tyres all year round. Arguably more sensible. You probably won't need chains then so just carry the cheapest that fit, or some snow socks.


You generally get what you pay for, really cheap chains are prone to break. Snow socks are for putting on summer tyres to improve winter traction, there's no advantage to putting snow socks on winter tyres. It is highly unlikely that you will need chains but if conditions get really bad in certain european countries it's a legal requirement to put chains on in such conditions if you wish to continue your journey. e.g. If you don't have chains in Austria during really bad conditions the police are legally permitted to stop you continuing your journey = leave car on side of road, taxi & hotel.

I've run winter tyres for the last 18 winters and have had to use chains a few times.
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Ham wrote:
Ah yes, winter tyres Sad Unfortunately I can't store wheels/tyres otherwise I'd go that way.

I'm not looking forward to piloting my grandpa-wagon on snow, it 's automatic, too many horses and controls all tucked away on a menu system. As far as I can see, there's no way to put it into second to pull away. As you say , a few minutes with the manual before it is needed in anger might pay dividends.


In a RWD car getting more weight over the rear wheels helps in winter conditions. Winter drivers often get stuck trying to pull away, the more they try the more the compacted snow/ice becomes polished. Maybe a bag(s) full of grit would help. More weight over the rear wheels and the ability to throw grit on the road if you get stuck/can't pull away (esp if limited to 1st gear).
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DJL wrote:
Run winter tyres all year round. It's no dafter than running summer tyres all year round. Arguably more sensible. You probably won't need chains then so just carry the cheapest that fit, or some snow socks.


There's the voice of someone who has never had to fit rear wheel drive chains in thick snow. How difficult can it be? you might ask? Impossible, is the answer. (Spoken as someone who is mechanically adept but with the pain of experience. I once had to get the car into a garage with a lift to fit the ones I had)

As has been mentioned, French police will stop non-chained cars from driving up the mountain at the times I will be driving.

So, maybe winter tyres is an option, but I will still need chains, I think I may give these Pewag ones a try, I've had a fumble around the rear wheel and there appears to be sufficient clearance on the inside (E Class)
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They appear to make equipment at the better quality end of the technical range, so it ticks that one off as far as I know.

I think the problem you have (please correct if wrong) is that with a rear wheel drive not having space to turn the wheels as the fronts do when steering the tires, particularly with the car loaded are very close to the outer wheel arch, and doesn't allow you the normal access to get your hands/arms into place to connect the rear chain links together that are part of "normal " chains.

It looks like those Pewags allow you to just place the installation rib over the top of the tire, push the remaining structure to the back at the lower extremes of the tire nearest the road, and then tighten the central tensioner. That appears to pull the connecting wire into place without you having to access the rear of the tire.

That being the case, they look like they'd do the job for you. Perhaps worth buying now to havemail a trial install, also maybe worth a communication to supplier questioning whether suitable for your Merc. If you do it this way, if not compatible, and distance selling rules should allow you to return them if problems arise that make them a no-go.

I'd guess you'd also remove them by stopping the wheel in same position, and reverse application to pull them out the same way they went in.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Indeed, the problem arises when you have to access the rear of the wheel, linking up can be tough, as you inevitably need to seat the rear bead lower than the tyre face. When you combine the rear wheel drive with the gert big fat tyres so beloved of manufacturers these days (at least I avoided low profile) you have a problem.

Pewag quality is great, but they do make chains at all price points, given that they are much cheaper than the competition, I wonder why few people seem to have them, maybe because their distribution isn't good in the UK
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Ham, I have a w213 e-class within 245/45/18 with tyres and I checked with Merc who advised there is sufficient space and should olly fit to the rear wheel. They have chains for this model in their options (very expensive). I also had a good look behind the wheel and it looks fine. After spending a while looking for suitable chains, I opted for Thule/Konig Easy-Fit chains for tege ease of fit and quality expected from Thule. I have done practice fits at home which were easy(!) and hopefully they will live up to the marketing hype when I eventually get to use the in anger. I have AWD with Michelin Cross Climate+.

EDIT: Just looked up the Pewag Servimatik chains and they have a very similar concept to the Thule easy-fit and priced around the same.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Ham, I currently have a W212 E-class, RWD, and use the Spikes Spiders (which I've had for years). They haven't let me down yet and are very quick to fit. I wouldn't want to fit any kind of chain which wrapped round the wheel!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Alastair, is yours AMG line with wide tyrees as genuinely wondering why you wouldn’t go for wrap-arounds?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Ozboy, my tyres are only 245 wide but there's very little space to get your hands in and I worry about the damage that can be done if a chain breaks or is fitted incorrectly. I'm probably worrying unnecessarily, although I did have difficulty with some cheaper chains many years ago. The main reason for using the Spikes Spiders is the ease and speed of fitment as well as the flexibility when changing vehicles (which I'm doing at the moment).
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Alastair, also my concerns but I am hoping usage will be minimal as we are not too high at 1200m. FWIW I upgraded from w212 to w213 and they are significantly better in every aspect.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Ozboy, with AWD and those tyres I don't think you'll need chains often.
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@Ozboy, my wheels/tyres are the same size, interesting to hear your experience, yes they do look similar to the Thule, but as far as I can see the Pewag are around £70 cheaper. @Alastair, I have previously had Thule K-Summit, and wasn't over-impressed with the traction from the ladder chain as opposed to "normal" chains. Our Christmas trip is always over 2,000 (ValT this year) and sometimes you do need the bugg3rs.

The real question is, how they work in anger, I've always practiced before travel, at least with new chains, I just know from experience I just don't want to be reaching behind to fit. Both the Thule and the Pewag seem to fit that bill..... probably (hence the question in the first place)
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Always worthwhile checking your owner's manual or asking your dealer's Service Dept. to see if the size of wheels you have fitted is certified by the manufacturer to take chains. It's not always obvious visually. In my case, the 8" wide with 245mm tyre rears have to come down to 7.5" or 7" with 225mm tyres, to fit chains. So if I want to use the 'summer' wheels I need to get front-fitting chains, but if I go down to the 'winter' spec I have more choice. In the event, while I have the winter spec' I still opted for front-fitting, for ease of use.

Also an obvious point (but it took me a while to twig) is how much easier it is to practice on a spare wheel than on a wheel attached to a car Very Happy Obviously, sooner or later you want to try it out on the car.
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Well, I've done the checking and been and gone and ordered them, will report back.

Here's an idle thought - any benefit on using socks on the front of a RWD? would have thought not, but someone must have tried it.
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