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2-4 inch of snow, are chains needed?

Discussion in 'California' started by mattack4000, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. mattack4000

    mattack4000 Active Member

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    I am looking to get up to Donner Pass this Saturday, which is calling for snow showers and 2-4" of snow. Does anyone know if they will require chains or snow tires for that? I have no problem driving in the snow with AWD and all season, but I don't want to get turned around because I don't have chains
     
  2. miimura

    miimura Well-Known Member

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    If there are chain controls you will be turned around if you don't have chains and your tires don't have the M+S designation. Even better would be tires that have the mountain and snowflake symbol.

    Caltrans - Chain Controls
    What is the Three-Peak Mountain Snowflake Symbol?

    Why not just call the Rocklin service center and see if they can hold a set of chains for you to pick up on your way up?
     
    • Helpful x 1
    • Informative x 1
  3. mattack4000

    mattack4000 Active Member

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    I just won't go, but I am just curious to see if they will require it with 2-4" of snow. I don't know what's the norm is.
     
  4. Lasttoy

    Lasttoy Active Member

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    Stay home watch tv. I have been there, police stop you, put on chains. Call highway patrol.
    Be very safe. I drove on ice and it was fun, but all control lights were on. It all worked.
     
  5. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that link, I didn’t know about that type of tire.

    I wonder how much additional energy usage an X would incur running 3PMSF tires compared to the stock tires? It’s probably been discussed on TMC before, I’ll do a search.

    Tesla sells these tires for winter use on the X and they have the 3PMSF rating https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires.jsp?tireMake=Pirelli&tireModel=Scorpion+Winter&partnum=65VR9SCORWXLV2&vehicleSearch=true&fromCompare1=yes&&autoMake=Tesla&autoYear=2017&autoModel=Model+X+100D&autoModClar=265%2F45-20F+275%2F45-20R&&autoMake=Tesla&autoYear=2017&autoModel=Model+X+100D&autoModClar=265%2F45-20F+275%2F45-20R&cameFrom=WinterSection
     
  6. cwied

    cwied Member

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    If you have M+S tires and AWD, the only time you need chains is in R3 conditions. However, they shut down I-80 if there are R3 conditions, so you'd only need chains if you're going to drive on back roads that require them. The bottom line is you don't need to worry about getting turned around on I-80 for lack of chains. You may get turned around because the highway closes, though, although that would be unlikely with only 2-4 inches of snow.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  7. mattack4000

    mattack4000 Active Member

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    CA drivers are not exactly great snow drivers, at what inch do they implement chains usually?
     
    • Like x 1
  8. cwied

    cwied Member

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    They're pretty conservative. I'm not sure I know the exact numbers, but I think chains will probably be required at least part of Saturday (R2 conditions). I think the best place to get up-to-date information is the CHP-Truckee Facebook page. You can get an idea of what's been happening over the past week by reading the past posts.
     
  9. mattack4000

    mattack4000 Active Member

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    argg that sucks. if i check in the morning, last thing i want is drive 3 hours and have to turn up when they change all of a sudden.

    I can't believe people are freaking out over 2" of snow
     
  10. cwied

    cwied Member

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    As I said, you won't have to worry if you have AWD and M+S tires. It just means you might have to drive slower through the chain control area, but you shouldn't need chains.
     
    • Like x 1
  11. mattack4000

    mattack4000 Active Member

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    True, hope its not that bad.
     
  12. Need

    Need Active Member

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    I bought chain for my MX last time I went up to the mountain. Turns out it did snow but nobody stopped anyone to put on chain. Although many many cars had to stop at the side to put them on as the they were sliding left and right. One truck could not make it up a 30 degree slope to get out of the parking lot. My MX drives like it is normal road with all season tires. I only had one close call as I was driving pretty fast on a local street going downhill and there was a stop sign. I can feel the traction control was working really hard to make the stop but it did stop in time.
     
  13. abasile

    abasile Conscientious investor

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    In California, if you have AWD and M+S tires, you'll only be required to install chains in R-3 conditions, but you'd generally want to avoid being on the road anyway if the conditions are bad enough for the authorities to designate R-3. However, during the winter season in the mountains, you are required by law to at least have a set of chains available in your vehicle. My advice would be to buy yourself a set of chains, keep them in your vehicle and know how to install them, and if you have AWD, hope that you never have to use them.
     
  14. ucmndd

    ucmndd Well-Known Member

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    Per the letter of the law, if you’re in a chain control zone you must HAVE CHAINS in your possession, even if you never have to put them on.

    That said, if you have AWD and mud/snow tires (basically any all season tire meets this criteria these days) you’ll have no issues and certainly won’t be turned around for a couple inches of snow.

    R3 conditions basically don’t exist in California any more. They just close the road.
     
  15. FlyF4

    FlyF4 Son of a MX

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    That's the best answer I've seen. I do have chains for my X just in case. Factory all season tires on the car. This winter, I went over the pass 4 times in snow and each time they just waved me through, even when they were stopping some 2 wheel cars to make them pt on chains. Once, there was a LOT of snow on the ground. I don't think it is so much about a threshold of snow. It's also how icy are the conditions.
     
  16. Visscher

    Visscher Member

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    Anyone that needs to ask this should have snow and ice tires and a speed limiter.

    My neighbors, on the other hand, haven’t seen the road surface in front of our homes since December. They would be safer than you if they just had summer slicks on since they drive on snow roads daily and don’t need to ask questions like this.
     
    • Disagree x 3
  17. abasile

    abasile Conscientious investor

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    Where I live, we still have R-3 conditions occasionally. Usually they downgrade to R-2 after the plows have had time to catch up. When driving an AWD vehicle, I've been asked many times at checkpoints whether or not I have chains in the car.
     
  18. abasile

    abasile Conscientious investor

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    I don't think you understand the way the law works in California. No matter how experienced a driver may be in snow, CalTrans and possibly the CHP will stop them at checkpoints to verify that they possess snow chains, and if that driver has a 2WD vehicle, they'll generally be compelled to install chains. Because of all of the people who are clueless about snow driving, the authorities tend to be ultra conservative, meaning they'll usually require chains when a decent snow driver wouldn't need them. While I find this to be a real pain at times (I have decades of snow experience), I understand the need to protect the general California public.

    We are waiting on a Model 3 with AWD precisely so that we won't have to needlessly fuss around with chains to appease the authorities.
     
    • Like x 1
  19. Visscher

    Visscher Member

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    I lived in California for 5 years. I know well how things work when it snows down there!
     
  20. FlyF4

    FlyF4 Son of a MX

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    Yes agree. And as a side note, probably not true with every checkpoint person, one of my friends whom has that cold nasty job for the last 5 years, says if he sees Nevada plates, he sometimes doesn't ask quite as many questions. Florida plates and he gets worried. You know what he is thinking there. Of course it doesn't mean these people drive any better or worse in snow. He says it could be a rental car. , but he does look at the plates for a lot of reasons.
     

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