Snow Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid?

   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #1  

SmallChange

Platinum Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
668
Tractor
New Holland WM25 with 200LC front end loader, filled R4 tires 43X16.00-20 and 25X8.50-14 (had a Kubota B6200D with dozer and R1 tires)
I think I need chains this winter for safety's sake, but I'm almost afraid to ask. Just spent hours looking at threads here on the subject and it seems very complicated and potentially expensive.

The only goal is to handle ice and hard packed snow while clearing my driveway, part of which is steep and runs down to a fast road. The driveway is gravel, real gravel, round pebbles, not crushed stone (it's the native soil here). I get at least 2 or 3 snows most winters, maybe 8" but over the last 40 years have seen several 20 snows and certainly quite a few over 12".

I'm using a New Holland Workmaster 25 with filled R4 tires, rear 43X16.00-20 NHS and front 25X8.50-14 NHS. This is a 4WD manual transmission machine with a front end loader and an 800 lb ballast box, about 5000 lbs total. There seem to be a few inches sideways clearance between the rear tires and fenders and the dealer says chains will fit no problem without spacers. It'll be my first winter with it.

On my old, smaller 4WD Kubota, with ag tires and no chains, I would sometimes slide down the hill until I pushed the dozer blade down. In maybe 15 or deeper snow I would sometimes bog down entirely and be stuck at home for days until I could talk somebody with a backhoe into rescuing me with their FEL. I used that one about 30 years and it usually worked but I wanted better.

Where do I even start? I've looked at tirechains.com, tirechainsrus.com, (Temporarily blocked due to reports of company closure), and elsewhere. Some vendors say they can fit my rears or my fronts, some say they can't, and some are unclear. I saw some chains for $66 and some for $1500. Here I find threads that say you want them tight, you want them loose, you want them somewhere in between, et cetera.

I was guessing it might be $500 or so total, and if it had to be $1000, then OK, but I don't want to waste money. I sure hope I can do OK without going above that.

I could just try it without chains, but that wild ride down the hill would not be good...
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #2  
I’ve had chains for the foam filled rear tires of my MF1540 since day 1 - about 15 years now. Think I got them at tirechains.com four about $350. They are definitely necessary. I have just basic chains, not v-bars or anything extreme

My advice would be to find some chains for your rear tires at tirechains.com, buy them, and be done with it. Like ripping off a bandaid - get it over with and move on.

Good luck!
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #3  
I could just try it without chains, but that wild ride down the hill would not be good...

Don't even think about that. How much is your life worth!? Ice and R4's do not mix and hills just compound the problem. Chains are expensive but they make a tremendous difference in traction. I recommend them for both front and rear tires.
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #4  
What to avoid?

Loose chains that grab and tear up the fender supports when you hit road speed.

Not double securing the chain end clasps with wire or ty-wraps.

Rapidly spinning chained up wheels trying to get "unstuck".

Thinking chains are going to provide grip under every situation. Side hills can kill a fella.
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid?
  • Thread Starter
#5  
Well, yeah, I'm pretty set on getting them. I really want help figuring out *how* to pick. If more money is always better, I could spend about as much as I wouldn't feel too bad about -- but is it that simple?
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #6  
Be sure your chains are quality hardened steel, not mild steel. Mild steel wears out quickly though it is much cheaper. Make sure your chains can fit tightly on the tires so the tires won't spin within them and the chains won't fly out and hit your fenders.
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #7  
OK, you asked so here we go again myself and a few others have and use and believe in the ability of the "Euro"style chain.
There are posters that will say you don't need them, all I can say is that I have over the years used most every style of tire chain available.
From 4 link spaced street chains to 2 link space bar reinforced, including the so called duo-grip and even the big double ring chains.
On a frozen dirt/gravel driveway the OFA's, Aquiline Talons, TRYGG's studded chains can not be beat, you will have more traction then you do in the summer.
They are expensive but they will grip better then any thing else available, the traction for driving and stopping is excellent, also side hill traction including side grip is also excellent.
Branson chains.jpg100_4291.JPG
The 2wd plowing was pushing around 16" of snow with that style of chain.
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #8  
Well, yeah, I'm pretty set on getting them. I really want help figuring out *how* to pick. If more money is always better, I could spend about as much as I wouldn't feel too bad about -- but is it that simple?

More money isn’t necessarily better.

I’d look for chains that give you the most contact with the road/ground - in that they don’t fall between the lugs and become ineffective

You want something that you’re not going to regret getting when you’re pushing two feet of snow in a blizzard.
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #9  
CalG mentioned side hills, and I just want to reiterate. On icy side hills they are just like ice skates; and going sideways out of control is a good way to dump it, hard.
 
   / Chains for snow & ice -- what mistake is it most important to avoid? #10  
I assume you've seen this selection chart?:

Tractor Tire Chains-Comparison-Application

As others have said, any type of chain is better no chain. From there, it's pro/cons & trade-offs of each type of chain. (Marring pavement, price, ride, traction, lateral (sidehill) stability/traction, etc..)

I run 4 link ladder chain on my "garden tractor " snowblower that only sees a paved driveway. About as basic as chains come. They work fine-to-great. When I get "off driveway", I tend to run out of rear weight, or lack of diff-lock, before lack of traction (if that makes sense)

I run a non-studded, non-v-bar, "duo grip" on the rear tires of my ~8000lb (w/ ballast, FEL) 4wd tractor. I've never worried about going anywhere with them and they were the right price, plus I wanted "some" sidehill stability more than a ladder type chain, while at same time I wanted the option to sometimes drive on pavement without leaving marks.

As others say: Secure the clasps so they don't come undone.
I think a little loose is better to self clean and not get stuck between tire lugs, but worse for whacking fenders if at a speed where centrifugal force overcomes gravity.
On the garden tractor turf tires, I deflate the tire a bit, put chains on tight and inflate tire afterwards to tighten more.
On utility tractor with loaded tires, I get a 10 ton jack, lift rear tire, and put it in neutral to spin tire to put chain on, and spin a few times more so slack can "equalize" and retighten as necessary.
 
Last edited:
 
Top