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!)

Idiots without / who can't put on chains & think winter tyres will be ok

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Charliegolf Yes, any chainset will have a list of tyre sizes it will fit. But that is unrelated to whether there's enough space left behind the wheel - i.e. between the wheel and the wheelarch, suspension, brake pipes and (if FWD) steering - for the tyres and chains to spin without hitting or fouling something. It's only the Owners Manual, or your dealer's service department, that will definitively tell you whether that specific combination of wheel and tyre (and on performance models, the brake assembly) on your car leaves enough space to fit chains.

On many UK SUVs and performance models there isn't enough space to fit chains on the standard spec' out of the factory. So this is why I always tell people to first check their Owners Manual, and if that's ambiguous, ask their dealer's service department.

And even in Alpine countries and US mountain states, as I observed, many rental SUVs will be fitted with oversized wheels that can't take chains. I now explicitly don't rent SUVs, 4x4s or AWDs and won't take them if offered, unless they can absolutely guarantee chains are available. Even then, I'd be sceptical that on the day, I'd get a vehicle that really could take chains.

Basically, just because the chains fit the tyre, it doesn't mean they will fit the specific car. For example, this is my old Audi A3 wheel arch interior with its original equipment 'summer' wheels and tyres on and as you can see, there's not really the space free between the tyre wall and the suspension for chains to rotate at even modest road speeds. The blue thing half way down is the brake hydraulics pipe and connector and I doubt that would escape being hit, especially if the chians got a little loose.



Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 10-11-21 9:59; edited 4 times in total
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The Roofbox Company are very clued up on which snowchains will fit your vehicle.
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?
It's not just SUV's. One of my cars has 265-40-R17 rear tyres. The owners manual specifically says to fit 235-45-R17's if/when using chains, but that needs a different set of alloy rims (two more the same as the fronts). So obviously that needs to be sorted before you leave home - no one carries two spare wheels.

I did try fitting chains to the 265's at home once. The issue is clearance between the inside edge of the rear tyres and the suspension shock absorber/strut. Thankfully of all the times we drove skiing in that car we never needed chains, or we'd have been stuffed. I don't use that car anymore for skiing - it's 30 years old. However, I expect it'll retain my personal record for the Tanrantaise to Calais for a long long time Very Happy
latest report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
I've said elswhere that I couldn't fit chains to my ordinary (i.e. not a sporty!) diesel Peugeot 306 because there wasn't enough space between the inside of the tyre and the suspension strut. This wasn't a problem whilst I was using the 306 on a daily basis around Chamonix because I had excellent Nokian snow tyres all round.

If I had thought that I might need to fit chains I would probably have bought a set of wheel spacers from a place such as https://wheelpartsdirect.com/ who sell 15mm thick spacers for about £15 each.
The usual caveat about checking clearance still applies, but with spacers and chains it would be the outside of the wheel on the arch and wing lip with full lock both left and right.
snow report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@LaForet, As someone who has a 'front-fit-only-chains' car, I shoulda known that.
ski holidays
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
..... and sometimes chains will only fit a car if you put on narrower winter tyres (as opposed to the summer tyre size). This means that fitting all-season tyres (instead of winter tyres) may prevent the use of chains.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
My Seat Alhambra is fitted with 17" wheels and the instruction manual demands smaller ones if the chains are to be used.

I instead went for Michelin Xclimate and RUD Centrax which are fitted externally. I can't be bothered buying a separate set of wheels (or tyres for that matter) for a car that I have no intention to keep.

I suspect this will be the case for many people these days, with widespread usage of contract hire and PCP.
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I can recommend Maggi Traks if you have clearance issues.
ski holidays
 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.
Hells Bells wrote:
I can recommend Maggi Traks if you have clearance issues.


Roofbox told me recently (I was after spares) that Maggi have gone under. I have used them, they are brilliant- so simple to use.
latest report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Oleski wrote:
My Seat Alhambra is fitted with 17" wheels and the instruction manual demands smaller ones if the chains are to be used.


Fitting smaller wheels won‘t automatically give more clearance. The ext. diameter of the tyre remains much the same, meaning if you fitted 16“ wheels the tyre wall would be 0.5 inches deeper. It‘s the narrower width of the wheels/tyre that gives the improved clearance for snow chains.
snow conditions
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
DB wrote:
Oleski wrote:
My Seat Alhambra is fitted with 17" wheels and the instruction manual demands smaller ones if the chains are to be used.


Fitting smaller wheels won‘t automatically give more clearance. The ext. diameter of the tyre remains much the same, meaning if you fitted 16“ wheels the tyre wall would be 0.5 inches deeper. It‘s the narrower width of the wheels/tyre that gives the improved clearance for snow chains.


yes, I meant both smaller and narrower.
snow conditions
 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.
Oleski wrote:
DB wrote:
Oleski wrote:
My Seat Alhambra is fitted with 17" wheels and the instruction manual demands smaller ones if the chains are to be used.


Fitting smaller wheels won‘t automatically give more clearance. The ext. diameter of the tyre remains much the same, meaning if you fitted 16“ wheels the tyre wall would be 0.5 inches deeper. It‘s the narrower width of the wheels/tyre that gives the improved clearance for snow chains.


yes, I meant both smaller and narrower.


It's the "7J" for example that denotes the width at rim where the tire bead fits. VAG group cars (along with others) use "ET" followed by a number in millimetres to indicate the wheel offset from the vehicle's hub face (effectively a datum) to show how far the rim sits inward relative to that mounting face.

Usually the wheel casting will display all that info cast into it, either rear face or underneath wheel nut cover in something like "17 7J ET 43" as an example.
latest 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
DB wrote:
Oleski wrote:
My Seat Alhambra is fitted with 17" wheels and the instruction manual demands smaller ones if the chains are to be used.


Fitting smaller wheels won‘t automatically give more clearance. The ext. diameter of the tyre remains much the same, meaning if you fitted 16“ wheels the tyre wall would be 0.5 inches deeper. It‘s the narrower width of the wheels/tyre that gives the improved clearance for snow chains.


It's not even that 'simple' You also need to consider the offset of the wheel. This is usually shown as an 'ET' number. A 235 tyre will be (about) 30mm narrower than a 265 regardless of the rim size (16", 17", 18"), but if the rim has a different offset then you also have to work out whether the 30mm is on the inside, or outside, or (as is likely) shared between inside and outside.

My current car (Merc C class) manual says I can fit 205-55-R16 (7.0JxET43), 225-45-R17 (7.5JxET47), 225-45-R18(7.5JxET47), 235-40-R18(8.0JxET45) or 255-35-R18(9.0JxET54) winter tyres. However, all the 18" options are specifically excluded for snow chain use - which is fine by me because I've only got the poverty spec base model 16" rims Laughing
snow report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Judwin, " but if the rim has a different offset then you also have to work out whether the 30mm is on the inside, or outside, or (as is likely) shared between inside and outside."

The ET value can be positive or negative eg -30 to indicate which way the rim is being offset.

Mostly current vehicles use positive ET to place the rim mostly central over wheel bearings for geometry and load reasons.

A vehicle with a very deep front "dish" type wheel on front face would be a minus ET value as it sits so far outward from mounting face.
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ski3 wrote:


Mostly current vehicles use positive ET to place the rim mostly central over wheel bearings for geometry and load reasons.



Yes - what I meant was some rims can take multiple tyre sizes. Fitting the smallest/narrowest tyre (on the same rim) that is (say) 20mm narrower will probably give you (about) an extra 10mm of inside and outside space. But if you also change the rim to one with a different offset (or start using rim spacers rolling eyes ) then there is more to check.
snow report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Judwin wrote:
ski3 wrote:


Mostly current vehicles use positive ET to place the rim mostly central over wheel bearings for geometry and load reasons.



Yes - what I meant was some rims can take multiple tyre sizes. Fitting the smallest/narrowest tyre (on the same rim) that is (say) 20mm narrower will probably give you (about) an extra 10mm of inside and outside space. But if you also change the rim to one with a different offset (or start using rim spacers rolling eyes ) then there is more to check.


An eminently pragmatic suggestion, and with minimal cost in not needing to buy a seperate set of wheels to equip the vehicle.

Has the additional attribute of small reduction in circumference too, such that front wheel turning clearance will also be maintained if the aspect ratio wasn't shifted.

And so, if someone had non suitable (fine weather tires) and chose a "all season" type while making a reduction in width say from 225 to 205, then they'd get the benefit of being reasonably equipped for varied weather conditions AND to equip with 9mm chains for extreme grip situations. That would seem to make a very decent compromise in practical user terms.

I just wonder why the manufacturer doesn't adhere to something similar in original specification given the likely conditions across their northern European market.
snow report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
ski3 wrote:
Oleski wrote:
DB wrote:
Oleski wrote:
My Seat Alhambra is fitted with 17" wheels and the instruction manual demands smaller ones if the chains are to be used.


Fitting smaller wheels won‘t automatically give more clearance. The ext. diameter of the tyre remains much the same, meaning if you fitted 16“ wheels the tyre wall would be 0.5 inches deeper. It‘s the narrower width of the wheels/tyre that gives the improved clearance for snow chains.


yes, I meant both smaller and narrower.


It's the "7J" for example that denotes the width at rim where the tire bead fits. VAG group cars (along with others) use "ET" followed by a number in millimetres to indicate the wheel offset from the vehicle's hub face (effectively a datum) to show how far the rim sits inward relative to that mounting face.

Usually the wheel casting will display all that info cast into it, either rear face or underneath wheel nut cover in something like "17 7J ET 43" as an example.


Yes, you are right, this is what the manual says:

205/60 R16 - 6 1/2 J x 16 ET 33
Stock size is 225/50 R17

Anyway, it is something I decided I have little time for, so x-climate + socks + external chains it is. Socks are probably redundant, but I bought them before switching to x-climate.
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?
Oleski wrote:
My Seat Alhambra is fitted with 17" wheels and the instruction manual demands smaller ones if the chains are to be used.

I instead went for Michelin Xclimate and RUD Centrax which are fitted externally. I can't be bothered buying a separate set of wheels (or tyres for that matter) for a car that I have no intention to keep.

I suspect this will be the case for many people these days, with widespread usage of contract hire and PCP.


We have an Alhambra as well and we went for the Konig SNow CHains that attach to the wheel nut.
snow conditions
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
I've got 3PMSF tyres on my AWD Volvo... never had a problem... having read this thread, I'm now ordering snow chains as well...!
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Just to complete the comments, so to speak. If your vehicle's spec is such that it can't take (conventional) chains, then you're left with two options:

(a) get a second, new set of wheels and winter tyres¹ in a spec that can take chains or
(b) get front-fitting (i.e. on the front of the wheel) chains e.g.

• Spikes Spider Easy / Alpine / Sport
• Thule K-Summit
• Weissenfels Trak Auto / Trak SUV / Automatika
• König K-Summit
• Polaire (can't seem to get their website to render properly)

and various others (don't assume my list is accurate - this is just from memory)

Best thing is to go to the manufacturers' websites first, and get a list of the ones that are front-fitting. Most sites also have a configurator. Then do a web search for the specific products you're interested in. I know there are many good specialist chain distributors but not all are competent and some specialise only in certain manufacturers, so I'd always go to the manufacturers' site first.

Don't just go just by product names, like 'easy' or 'quick' - this may just mean that the chains self-centre or self-tension.

[1] It doesn't make sense to get a new, separate set of winter wheels and then fit new all-seasons. Even if they are all-seasons with the 3-peaks-and-snowflake designation. These still won't be as snow-biased as 'pure' winter tyres because they have to concede some snow capability in order to be usable in the summer. And since you're not going to use them in the summer, why make the concession?


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Tue 9-11-21 21:28; edited 1 time in total
latest report
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
rjj501 wrote:
I've got 3PMSF tyres on my AWD Volvo... never had a problem... having read this thread, I'm now ordering snow chains as well...!


By definition in reasonable logic, being equipped as you are, then if you do urgently need more traction you'll be further into it than less well prepared "others" making chains the only serious option.

I carry them too in similar setup vehicles. Not used yet but certainly gives another layer of proven potential if it should be needed.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Having been in Madonna Di Campiglio with a car with winter tyres on 3 years ago after an enormous dump of snow the day before leaving I found that winter tyres are great with just normal snow cover but it wouldnt go up the hill to get out of the village without fitting the chains ...I believe that if you are traveling round mountainous Europe in the depths of winter you ideally need both...I bought a set of Spikes Spider for my new 18" wheels ...I better look at the video again as its a year since I bought them ...
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Even though i have winter tyres on their own rims, I have recently ordered 2 pairs of snow chains for my RWD car and will be practicing fitting them before we head out to the alps this winter...
snow conditions
 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.
@nbt,
Two pairs? If the 2nd pair is for steering/braking in bad conditions then my reaction would be to stay indoors until the snow ploughs had made their first pass!
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@nbt, RWD? Are you sure you need both? Check the manual of your car.
ski holidays
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
During the winter of 2019, I think that was the year, we had our 4WD car with winter tyres in Austria and frequently had to use chains as well - as were local residents. Generally the winter tyres have been sufficient but not then, and when you need them you need them.
latest 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.
@mooney058, oh dangly bits, I just assumed that 2 pairs would be neeed - RWD for power and front for steering. Manual actually says rear only. Just outside of the returns period too, grrrr, not had time to even test fit them with being busy.

Still they were only £50 a pair so not exactly breaking the bank

https://www.snowchainsandsocks.co.uk/ideal-9mm-black-snow-chains-9.html
snow conditions
 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
@nbt Yes, you're fine with un-chained fronts on your RWD, because you've got winters on the front, so you will usually have enough traction to steer.

The problem for people with RWD cars and summer tyres is that when they put chains on the rear driven wheels, the fronts are still slick summer tyres and they can't steer in the snow. Snow socks will help with this, so they would first put their socks on, then resort to chains if the socks aren't enough. One reason why socks alone don't obviate chains. The problem is not quite so bad for FWD cars with summer tyres on, as when they fit their chains to the front it's the rear wheels which are skating over the snow. However, even then, there will be a tendency for the rear-end to oversteer badly on corners.
latest report
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I've been following this thread as I'm driving to the alps this Xmas for the first time, so thanks for the advice all. I've got a VW CC with 18inch rims and not much space above or behind the tyres for chains, in fact the manual said change the wheels to thinner steel wheels.

snowchainstore.co.uk website said I could use some Polaire sidewall fitting chains instead and I've put on some winter tyres also.

So for my first time driving to the alps I'm kinda hoping for a heavy dump to try them out in anger!

So now I've got winters and chains sorted is there a reason for socks also? Would they be better than just winters tyres on their own or am I over thinking it.
ski holidays
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@JohnF, in broad terms, socks are effectively trying to match a winter tire but for occasional use.

I can't see that they'd offer you any realistic advantage over your stated equipment level above.
snow report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@JohnF, don’t bother with socks if you have proper (3PMSF) winters. They are not better than winter tyres. Proper winter tyres are OK for most of situations, chains at low speeds, local access roads only.
snow report
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
There was a post in another thread about a tyre place near LHR that was renting out winter tyres for 10p a mile. Does anyone have the link as I thought this may be a viable option (for those of us who make a single trip per annum to the alps by car and don't have excess sorage space for a 2nd set of wheels).
snow report
 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?
@ski3, @mooney058, aight the socks would be overkill on winters, makes sense. Ty
latest report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
FrediKanoute wrote:
There was a post in another thread about a tyre place near LHR that was renting out winter tyres for 10p a mile. Does anyone have the link as I thought this may be a viable option (for those of us who make a single trip per annum to the alps by car and don't have excess sorage space for a 2nd set of wheels).


It was here...

https://www.felthamtyre.co.uk/services/1/tyres.html
snow report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
JohnF wrote:
@ski3, @mooney058, aight the socks would be overkill on winters, makes sense. Ty
not overkill - it would make a worse solution than any good 3PMSF tyre.
snow conditions
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
My partner had an Audi A3 with no space behind the wheel and we bought Thule k summit and they fitted very easily and did the job
She had Michelin Cross Climate tyres as well but the police wanted us to fit the chains so we did. very quick job as you only place the chain on the road contact part of the tyre and lock it to a wheel nut and drive off slowly and it self centres itself

We used the same of a Land Rover Discovery 3 with Michelin Cross Climate, again at police request

I've since bought a Range Rover Sport and it has the same issue of big wheels with no space behind but due to big wheel sizes and the stupid price of winter tyres and wheels, we've bought another set of K Summit to fit this car

The times we have had to fit chains have been when it was still dumping snow on a busy transfer day when the police are out plus getting around the car park in the resort which they tend to leave until transfer days
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
JohnF wrote:


So for my first time driving to the alps I'm kinda hoping for a heavy dump to try them out in anger!



I know you're joking, but trust me, you really, really don't want that. Even if you've got enough gear to drive up the north face of the Eiger, there will be enough other people skating around on summer slicks to bring the whole place to a halt causing gridlock. It can take 6 hours from Chambery to Tignes on a busy half term weekend in good weather. I dread to think how long it would take during a Snowmageddon event.

The first time we drove - winter before Christmas 1991-92 IIRC - was such a Snowmageddon. We arrived in Chambery around noon (to buy some snow chains for my brand new Vauxhall on summer tyres rolling eyes ) and didn't roll into La Daille till nearly 8pm. Chains were needed from Aime onwards. The down hill bit in Bourg to the station could have hosted that years Olympic bobsleigh. Our car was nearly buried in the 30 minutes it took us to check in at the P&V before we could move it to indoor parking. None of the Tour operator coaches made it, and the punters ended up sleeping in schools and army baracks for 3 days/nights eating pot noodles. Said punters weren't HP when they finally got into resort on the Tuesday afternoon. And some of the cars abandoned in the snow had a nice 'kiss' from a snow plough blade by the time they'd emerged from the snow drifts.

You want a weather window of 24h before your arrival and departure times to allow the resort to clear the roads. Outside of these times let it snow. And many resorts have an ice driving track if you really want a go. Probably best to not use your own car there though Very Happy
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Judwin,
Very "off topic" but in the circumstances you cite of 1991, wasn't it all the fault of the tour opertors that so many coaches didn't arrive until the Tuesady?
ski holidays
 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.
I did a season in Val Thorens some yrs ago and just used winter tyres (pneus contact, they were called) on my XR3i Smile Didn't even own or use any chains...
snow report
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Nemisis wrote:
@Judwin,
Very "off topic" but in the circumstances you cite of 1991, wasn't it all the fault of the tour opertors that so many coaches didn't arrive until the Tuesady?


Don't know the full story, but IMHO not really. I think the flights all got delayed/diverted, and by the time the transfer coaches had been sorted out and got into the Tarantaise valley the police had closed the road out of Bourg up the hill(s). Certainly at the end of La Daille they had rolled a huge sausage shaped snow ball (probably 10 foot tall) across the road to stop anyone getting in or out. It was there for 2 or 3 days. We were in resort but it was mostly locked down so no skiing till the Tuesday anyway, and even then only the 'safer' runs were open.

Any 'fault' would have been not making proper provision for (tens of?) thousands of stranded punters. However, short of driving them all to Marseilles or Paris I doubt there would be enough hotel rooms anywhere in the area anyway, even today. Act of god to me, but probably not a good year to be a rep. Motto of the story is to always pack some toilet roll in your luggage. The toilet roll to any commodity exchange rate can be surprisingly good Shocked Very Happy
ski holidays



Terms and conditions  Privacy Policy