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Do I really need to carry snow chains? No snow in forecast for this week. Was looking at AutoSocks, but not sure they will make it before I leave on Thursday. Does anyone in SD area (I'm in North County coastal) know of anywhere that carries them locally?

Thanks
 

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I think one person on this site had said they carry a set of chains that doesn't even fit just so they can pass the "chains required" rule but not spending much $ and confident they wouldn't need them. Could always go to Goodwill and pick up any old set of chains. Although maybe I shouldn't suggest that, for I'd of course feel like crap if you did that and then truly ended up needing them and didn't have any. Ultimately everyone's gotta do what they feel best. As for myself, I don't have any yet, and haven't come close to needing them (despite a ton of snow and ice driving this week) but I want to get a decent pair to always keep in the car as a just in case we're up on Mt. Hood and the blizzard/ice storm of the century hits or whatever. Better safe than sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think one person on this site had said they carry a set of chains that doesn't even fit just so they can pass the "chains required" rule but not spending much $ and confident they wouldn't need them. Could always go to Goodwill and pick up any old set of chains. Although maybe I shouldn't suggest that, for I'd of course feel like crap if you did that and then truly ended up needing them and didn't have any. Ultimately everyone's gotta do what they feel best. As for myself, I don't have any yet, and haven't come close to needing them (despite a ton of snow and ice driving this week) but I want to get a decent pair to always keep in the car as a just in case we're up on Mt. Hood and the blizzard/ice storm of the century hits or whatever. Better safe than sorry.
Yes - was going to go similar route or just risk it, but ultimately ordered from Amazon to see if they make it in time. Drove up last year in a Kia Forte with no snow and no one ever asked, but probably better safe than sorry and avoid a ticket that cost more.
 

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You will be fine for this week. Even when it is snowing. I get flagged through when everyone else is chaining up.

I do have a bag of chains in the back of my Forester 'just in case' ...They are 8-yr old brand new, never been out of the bag they came in set of chains...

C.

- Which reminds me, I need to confirm those will fit the Outback..... :unsure:
 

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My dealer made me sign a form that stipulates that if I use chains I void my warranty. I'll take a photo and post later.
 

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My dealer made me sign a form that stipulates that if I use chains I void my warranty. I'll take a photo and post later.
Unless that was a Subaru document of some kind...'not sure it's in the purview of the dealer to do that. Many vehicles preclude use of actual "chains", but can use an equivalent like the 'socks or cables where clearance isn't an issue. But you already knew that... ;)

Even then, in the US, the law doesn't permit "voiding a warranty" because one uses some aftermarket device. Only specific damage that can be proven to be caused by that aftermarket doo-dad can be excluded from coverage. If the radio breaks, it can't be blamed on running chains.
 

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EDIT: Oops! SZ143 was for mu sister's Outback when she made a similar journey.

Peerless Super Z chains SZ435 are the ones for the Ascent. Looks like several Napa locations in San Diego do have those ones in stock too if you need to pick up something local.

FYI, we had luck finding Peerless chain at some Napa locations, part no. SZ143.

La Mesa and El Cajon have them in stock.
 

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Unless that was a Subaru document of some kind...'not sure it's in the purview of the dealer to do that. Many vehicles preclude use of actual "chains", but can use an equivalent like the 'socks or cables where clearance isn't an issue. But you already knew that... ;)

Even then, in the US, the law doesn't permit "voiding a warranty" because one uses some aftermarket device. Only specific damage that can be proven to be caused by that aftermarket doo-dad can be excluded from coverage. If the radio breaks, it can't be blamed on running chains.
Here's a photo of the form they had us sign when we bought the car;
7283
 

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Do I really need to carry snow chains? No snow in forecast for this week. Was looking at AutoSocks, but not sure they will make it before I leave on Thursday. Does anyone in SD area (I'm in North County coastal) know of anywhere that carries them locally?

Thanks
You should be fine, especially this week.

I bought the last set of cables at my local parts store. They've never been opened but I keep then in the back. We went to Big Bear last year without issues, but it wasn't snowing at the time. Exacly two years ago we made the drive up and got caught up in a pretty decent storm. We were still waved through as conditions worsened by the minute.

Here's an exact video of us going through a checkpoint two years ago.
 

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Well, that's a bit thorough. The manual already states not to use it because it will damage the AWD system, so, it's kinda redundant.

SAE Type S traction control devices (cables) and Autosocks are compatible with the Ascent. Two of them (one pair), front wheels only. Autosocks store better and are approved traction devices in all 50 states and DC. Note that non-Autosocks brands do not have full 50 state approval.
 

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Here's a photo of the form they had us sign when we bought the car;
View attachment 7283
That appears to be a "by the way" and doesn't reference the warranty. :) It's pretty much a CYA for the dealer so a customer can't say "we didn't know we couldn't use chains". It's also generic...nothing to do with Subaru specifically.
 

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Do I really need to carry snow chains? No snow in forecast for this week. Was looking at AutoSocks, but not sure they will make it before I leave on Thursday. Does anyone in SD area (I'm in North County coastal) know of anywhere that carries them locally?

Thanks
Chains are required for two wheel drive cars. Your all wheel drive car will pass if you have decent tire tread. Big trucks need chains as they are only two wheel drive.
 

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Do I really need to carry snow chains? No snow in forecast for this week. Was looking at AutoSocks, but not sure they will make it before I leave on Thursday. Does anyone in SD area (I'm in North County coastal) know of anywhere that carries them locally?

Thanks
I used to drive from OC to Big Bear regularly to go skiing during the winter. The Ascent will have no problem making the drive. The chain law is for non AWD / 4WD vehicles and big rig trucks. Also, I can attest to how much of a beast the stock Ascent is. I have the stock Falken AS tires and they absolutely handled the winter storm Washington State had this past weekend. I was driving in winter storm / blizzard conditions in the mountains, with a TON of snow. NO ISSUES DRIVING AT ALL. Just take it slow. Have fun at Big Bear!
 

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Chains are required for two wheel drive cars. Your all wheel drive car will pass if you have decent tire tread. Big trucks need chains as they are only two wheel drive.
My understanding is that it doesn't matter if you have 2WD or 4WD/AWD...if there's a chain mandate in a given area, you must have traction aids in the vehicle, even if you never need to use them. Others have commented similarly in previous threads. In some places, they check, although many will just nod a Subaru through.
 
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@LaylasWorld - Socalmountains.com: Forum is a good resource to check road and weather conditions in Big Bear. They will show alerts on the left side if there are specific alerts to pay attention to, and red/yellow/green to give an indication of the travel times for the routes on and off the mountain.

We tend to prefer taking the 38, both because we want to be on the "Big Bear City" side, but also because it's less curvy.

My understanding is that it doesn't matter if you have 2WD or 4WD/AWD...if there's a chain mandate in a given area, you must have traction aids in the vehicle, even if you never need to use them. Others have commented similarly in previous threads. In some places, they check, although many will just nod a Subaru through.
California has 3 chain designations (which should be read as "traction control devices" for the most part):
  • Requirement 1 (R-1): Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on at least two drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires. All vehicles towing trailers must have chains on one drive axle. Trailers with brakes must have chains on at least one axle.
  • Requirement 2 (R2): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.
    NOTE: (Four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)
  • Requirement 3 (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
1 Snow-tread Tires: The California Vehicle Code, Section 558 defines a snow-tread tire as follows, "A 'Snow-tread tire' is a tire which has a relatively deep and aggressive tread pattern compared with conventional passenger tread pattern". Snow-tread tires can be identified by examining the sidewall of the tire where the letters MS, M/S, M+S or the words MUD AND SNOW have been stamped into the sidewall.


An area may also be posted as requiring drivers to carry chains. Those signs are up. For Big Bear, it is somewhat uncommon to have extended R3 conditions. And for R2 on the highways, Subarus are typically waved through according to all of the local lore.
 

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I used to drive from OC to Big Bear regularly to go skiing during the winter. The Ascent will have no problem making the drive. The chain law is for non AWD / 4WD vehicles and big rig trucks. Also, I can attest to how much of a beast the stock Ascent is. I have the stock Falken AS tires and they absolutely handled the winter storm Washington State had this past weekend. I was driving in winter storm / blizzard conditions in the mountains, with a TON of snow. NO ISSUES DRIVING AT ALL. Just take it slow. Have fun at Big Bear!
You may not have gotten stopped but the law makes no exception for the requirement when level 3 is stipulated. If you are correct regarding the existing road conditions and weather forecast I doubt you will have any issue without "chains".

\
CHAIN REQUIREMENT LEVELS
When chain controls are established, signs will be posted along the road indicating the type of requirement. There are Three Levels of Chain Requirements in California:


  • Requirement 1 (R1): Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires1 on at least two drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires. All vehicles towing trailers must have chains on one drive axle. Trailers with brakes must have chains on at least one axle.
  • Requirement 2 (R2): Chains or traction devices2 are required on all vehicles except four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels. NOTE: (Four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)
  • Requirement 3 (R3): Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
 

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Thanks to you two for adding those specific clarifications...folks need to know that because "ignorance of the law" isn't an accepted excuse if they stop you.
 

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@packout,

Thank you for the clarification. I realize my comment was a misleading. I used to drive a Mazda3 up to Big Bear, so yes I always used chains if the situation required it. The second half of my comment was affirmation of the capability of the stock Ascent in adverse winter conditions. After the weekend we just had here in the PNW and the record breaking levels of snow for the area, the I can say the Ascent is very capable in winter storm conditions. Given its performance this past weekend, and having been to Big Bear numerous times, the Ascent can handle winter conditions there. However, if CADOT or any other state DOT posts a chain advisory, follow the advisory.

And its always a good idea to carry chains when you got into the mountains during the winter. Currently I have a set of Laclede 2323 cable chains, and once I upgrade to AT wheels/tires I will likely get the Peerless Auto-Trac Chains.
 
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