Ski Club 2.0 Home
Snow Reports
FAQFAQ

Mail for help.Help!!

Log in to snowHeads to make it MUCH better! Registration's totally free, of course, and makes snowHeads easier to use and to understand, gives better searching, filtering etc. as well as access to 'members only' forums, discounts and deals that U don't even know exist as a 'guest' user. (btw. 50,000+ snowHeads already know all this, making snowHeads the biggest, most active community of snow-heads in the UK, so you'll be in good company)..... When you register, you get our free weekly(-ish) snow report by email. It's rather good and not made up by tourist offices (or people that love the tourist office and want to marry it either)... We don't share your email address with anyone and we never send out any of those cheesy 'message from our partners' emails either. Anyway, snowHeads really is MUCH better when you're logged in - not least because you get to post your own messages complaining about things that annoy you like perhaps this banner which, incidentally, disappears when you log in :-)
Username:-
 Password:
Remember me:
durr, I forgot...
Or: Register
(to be a proper snow-head, all official-like!)

Hire Car Snow Chains - Don't Fit in Blizzard Shocker

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Would have to say that the time to find this out is not on the climb up to Tignes this evening; in a blizzard; with the snow chain signs flashing; and about 8" of snow on the road in places... Confused

Chains were just too small - I could tell as soon as I took them out of the box. Tried them but couldn't get them anywhere near joined up.

Thank goodness for the snow tyres - just glad to get up to Val Claret at all - it was very very dodgy after Les Boisses.

Car is hired from Dollar at Geneva. Not impressed. Will have words when I get back...

Anybody experienced anything similar?
snow report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

Anybody experienced anything similar?

yes, lots of similar reports over the years. Frankly, if you're likely to have to fit them (and the forecast was clear enough), you need to try them out before you leave the garage. As you could tell they were wrong as soon as they came out of the box.........

But I know it's awfully easy not to bother and trust to luck. wink

Snow tyres rock!
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@mountainaddict, I've never checked mine and have always relied on the winter tyres. Thanks for the heads up!
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Back in the 90s the police used to check tyres for chains fitted. Don't they do that now?
snow report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@mountainaddict, we are hiring from Thrifty in Geneva on the 11th - will definitely check fitting chains before leaving the airport. As well as, poring over the car with phone LED to check for dents/scratches/window chips that the 0.3 lux of garage lighting never illuminates... rolling eyes
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@mountainaddict, er...there was someone on SH who commented that my (admittedly a few years' old) experience of hiring in Italy was unusual - me: I ordered winter tyres. We haven't got any. me: have you got any chains. No...buy them and we will re-imburse you. At 11pm at night, where the +++$$ do you get chains from in Italy....and I needed to be up the Aosta valley and through the tunnel into CH - just made it going sideways up the last 2km into the tunnel, white-knuckle descent to Martigny, and then the car baulked at 800m in slush, below our place, 2 hrs later. GRRRRR.

It is very good that your winter tyres got you there - some winter tyres (not snow tyres note - snow tyres are studded (pedant alert)) are much superior to others - it sounds as if yours were decent. We have used winter tyres in around 6-8 inches of fresh and not needed chains, good winter tyres are really excellent. And yes, I would heartily complain that there's no point in having chains which don't fit. Mental note - check not only that there ARE chains next time hiring from GVA, but also that the blasted things fit.

We had a Peugeot 8005 auto last time from GVA - used the little button with snow traction marking on it - 2km up the snow-covered road to Aminona, horrible smell of burning brakes - stupid system uses the brakes to stop wheelspin in snow! Ridiculous. Immediately turned it off and just did the normal slippy-slidey-on-winter-tyres-creepy-up-the-slope thing. Was fine.
latest report
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

Back in the 90s the police used to check tyres for chains fitted. Don't they do that now?

they sometimes simply stop you from proceeding without them - happened to me on the way back up to resort on the "snowmageddon" day on the road back from Albertville up to Beaufort. There was a truck slewed across the road and the police were above and below it, sending traffic one way at a time past it, all compulsorily fitted with chains. Without their work the road would have come to a swift halt. The down traffic was far heavier - I was headed back up - I'd have had no chance against a solid stream coming down.

I didn't even bother to talk about my snow tyres - just fitted the chains as instructed and got on the way. And was glad of them when, several times, I had to take to the deep stuff at the side of the road to get past stuck vehicles.

The time to put chains on is when you first think of it (as in - sailing - the time to reef is when you first think of it). Then you can feel superior as you get past all the people who left it too late. wink
snow report
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:
You need to try them out before you leave the garage
I know that now...With the gift of 20:20 hindsight!...However, the box was sealed with a big yellow Hertz sticker (despite being a Dollar car) saying 'Only to be removed in anger' (so to speak) - Dunno what that's about...
Quote:
Back in the 90s the police used to check tyres for chains fitted. Don't they do that now?
That was my fear. Did see one police car with lights flashing seemingly assisting someone but that was it.

Probably (and thankfully) because it was 6pm on a Monday and the road was very quiet.
latest report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Skiwi 55 wrote:
@mountainaddict, we are hiring from Thrifty in Geneva on the 11th - will definitely check fitting chains before leaving the airport. As well as, poring over the car with phone LED to check for dents/scratches/window chips that the 0.3 lux of garage lighting never illuminates... rolling eyes

Would a torch not be easier? Very Happy
snow conditions
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Quote:

6pm on a Monday and the road was very quiet

IME it's on busy transfer days that the gendarmes are out in big numbers trying to keep the traffic moving by insisting on chains. They probably don't care much if a few people get stuck on a Monday. wink
latest report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I ordered a pair of snow chains when I made reservation for a SUV (2WD) when I went to Pyrenees early this year. When I picked up the car at Madrid airport, I was told that they don't have snow chains for the car and I was told to buy some (if required) before going up the mountain. I was also told they never have winter tires on rental cars in Spain.
snow report
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Snowchain links may well need adjusting to fit your particular wheel+tyre circumference. If the chains show that they fit a range of sizes, then it is likely that they'll come with the links set to the minimum circumference i.e. the smallest size they fit. The term 'self adjusting' refers to the secondary tensioning once they're the right size and running on the car - not that they'll adjust over the full range of wheels they fit.

I got some new chains this year and because I was ill, didn't have time to fit them ahead of driving down to the Alps. Fortunately, I was able to fit them in the underground garage, at leisure. It took over an hour to adjust the individual links to get them to the right circumference: not something I would have been able to do, frankly, if I'd been caught en route up the mountain. I realised that the manual section of 'trying them out first' wasn't just talking about good practice - it was essential, because for most owners, the odds were that they'd need to do link adjustments before fitting.

I'd been caught out because my previous chains* were specifically for a very limited range of wheel/tyre size, so when I tried them on in the UK, they fitted first time. Given there is actually a video on how to adjust the links for my new chains, I should have twigged this was likely an essential prerequisite. The new chains are advertised as being much more versatile because they fit a wider range of wheel sizes than conventional ones. So the odds of them fitting my second/next/friends car are much higher. The links adjust by up to 220mm in circumference, and the main unit also adjusts across 17"-19" diameter wheels. So I should have realised that getting them set up specifically for my size was likely to be a bit more protracted, hence the videos from the manufacturer.

So my advice is yes, try them on when you collect, especially if it looks like they fit a range of sizes. And then ask for help in getting the links adjusted if it's clear this needs doing. If you do need to adjust them, try and remember how many links you extended (or whatever the mechanism is) so you can quickly do the second chain the same way. And it is far easier to do these adjustments using a spare wheel if there is one, as you can lay the wheel flat on the ground and quickly see if the adjusted chain fits (you'll probably do this a number of times). Obviously, it has to be an actual spare i.e. not a space-saver.

[*Anyone need some chains for a 2013 BMW 3 Series? Fitting 205/55-R16, 205/50-R17, 225/45-R17 part no. 36.112.296.312, but not M Performance Brakes. Never used!]


Last edited by And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports. on Tue 7-03-17 10:09; edited 2 times in total
snow report
 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
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
One of my friends, to the utter bemusement of a French onlooker, tackled his first go at fitting chains (in the car park of the supermarket where he'd bought them) by jacking the car up. Another, who bought (v expensive) chains for a Volvo in a French "Feu Vert" was very pleased that the guy in the shop offered to do the initial adjustments to make them fit his particular tyres. He said it took the guy a good 40 minutes - and he was an expert!
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Car Hire: This is the argument for the driver to go on ahead of everyone else waiting for baggage; get to the car; and try the chains out, before the passengers arrive. Otherwise there's a lot of pressure not to bother if you've got 3-4 passengers waiting with all their luggage, in the chaos of the car hire pick-up area. We now try to do this after, on one occasion, I got there first and realised that we'd never get everyone and their luggage into the car we chose: I was able to swap to a bigger car for what turned out to be a quite reasonable surcharge, all before the others reached me, with no hassle.
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Carry a head torch as well, essential if fitting at night. Ask me how I know this.
snow conditions
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
TQA wrote:
Carry a head torch as well, essential if fitting at night. Ask me how I know this.

Good advice. But as an absolute minimum, people should think about carrying a torch in their car (and not just when hiring a car). The naff LED on a mobile is no substitute.
latest report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I never go anywhere in a car without a head torch and a toilet roll (plus other clart, but those are the essentials!)
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
My own current snow chains (& x2 previous sets) have a table on the box showing what tyre combinationsafety they fit.

No such information on the box for the hire car chains - just a number (which must mean something to the hire company) in marker pen.

I've never had to add or remove links from my aforementioned 3 sets of chains so had just assumed that (as for previous hire cars the chains would 'just fit.' Surely customers can expect that to be the case?? Regardless, there are no spare links, tools or anything like that - & the chains really are tiny compared to the wheel size. I'd need to extend each side by about 3" to get the rubber hook and the ratchet that it pulls through on the opposite side to be on the front of the wheel - both were no more than half to two thirds the way across the tread of the tyre... rolling eyes
latest report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
LaForet wrote:
Car Hire: This is the argument for the driver to go on ahead of everyone else waiting for baggage; get to the car; and try the chains out, before the passengers arrive. Otherwise there's a lot of pressure not to bother if you've got 3-4 passengers waiting with all their luggage, in the chaos of the car hire pick-up area.


It also means you're earlier in the queue, so they are less likely to have run out of whatever you're after (particularly at an airport like Grenoble where there's a rush of flights together).
snow conditions



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy