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Discussion Starter #1
I know quite a few forum members here are from Northern Oregon, Southern WA.
I’ve had my ’13 Outback for about a month now and decided to go up to Mt Hood\Timberline.<O:p</O:p
When I get up there the signs are flashing chains required on Timberline Rd and Hwy 35.<O:p</O:p
Not the usually “Carry Chains” or Traction Devices, but “chains required”. I mean, it was snowing pretty good, but it certainly wasn’t heavy on the roads really at all.
I got around Government Camp and areas really well and the Subie felt great.<O:p</O:pBut I wanted to head up to the lodge.

With the stock Conti’s on the car I actually do have a set of the SCC SZ143 cable chains in the back.
So I pulled over by the “Chain Installer” guy and put the cables on myself. But I was not happy about it, especially when I was going up the hill with them on and cars are passing me and I know they didn’t all have snow tires on. <O:p</O:p
I felt stupid, brand new Subaru….anyway I left them on for the trip up the hill and then later down.

So..All of you that are familiar with that road, what’s the deal with that, did I really have to chain up or was the sign just on from a heavier snow day or what.<O:p</O:p
Thanks<O:p</O:p
Jon<O:p</O:p
 

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Who or what compelled you to install chains?
If it's just a sign, keep driving. Chain installers cannot tell you to put chains on.
Was there an Oregon State Trooper at a chain control check point?
 

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2013 Outback 2.5i Limited CVT w/ SAP, Brilliant Brown Pearl
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What was the drive like with the SCC SZ143 chains? Any issues with altered traction with the AWD? I picked a pair up myself recently just in case I was ever 'required' to use them. Did you mount them on the front or back?

Edit: Whoa, total word jumble on my part. Fixed
 

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What was the drive like with the SCC SZ143 chains? Any issues with traction altered traction with the AWS? I picked a pair up myself recently just in case I was ever 'required' to use them. Did you mount them on the front or back?
Should be on front only.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Who or what compelled you to install chains?
If it's just a sign, keep driving. Chain installers cannot tell you to put chains on.
Was there an Oregon State Trooper at a chain control check point?
No..it was the overhead flashing ODOT sign, I didn't say the installer told me. There was a Trooper at the chain up site, but not being familar with the road up to the lodge, I wasn't sure if there was a check point or not.


It drove just fine with the cable chains...put them on the front. Went on and off really easy. Funny thing though, the Subie dealer tried to sell me SZ139, but I had done my homework and said it took the 143's. He later told me that people that had tried the 139's couldn't get them on.
 

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I know on the passes here when they say chains required means only on front or rear wheel drive cars,AWD with M&S (mud/snow)on sidewall all season tires means these are considered a traction tire and only having chains or approved traction device in the car. WSP has approved the Autosock in place of chains also they will allow AWD/4wd to cross the passes. If it is to bad they just shut the pass down.
 

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I go up there once a month atleast, and i have never chained up. but the conti's do suck in snow(the threads not wide enough to give decent bite).
Just drive like a normal person(not like all the WRX/STI's with studded snow tires) in snow should and you will be fine. :)
 

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I like that Timberline lodge up there - what an architectural marvel up there. If I am not mistaken it was built during the great depression, about the same time as Hoover Dam. I am jealous of you guys, who live close by!
 

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There was a Trooper at the chain up site
There you go, when in doubt, ask authority.

You didn't need to chain up according to this ODOT excerpt.

  1. A four-wheel or all-wheel drive passenger vehicle if all of the following statements are true:

    a) It has an unloaded weight of 6,500 pounds or less;
    b) It is operated to provide power to both the front and rear wheels;
    c) It is carrying chains;
    d) It has mud and snow, all-weather radial, or traction tires on all of its wheels;
    e) It is not towing another vehicle;
    f) It is not being operated in a manner or under conditions that cause the vehicle to lose traction.
 

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There you go, when in doubt, ask authority.

You didn't need to chain up according to this ODOT excerpt.

  1. A four-wheel or all-wheel drive passenger vehicle if all of the following statements are true:

    a) It has an unloaded weight of 6,500 pounds or less;
    b) It is operated to provide power to both the front and rear wheels;
    c) It is carrying chains;
    d) It has mud and snow, all-weather radial, or traction tires on all of its wheels;
    e) It is not towing another vehicle;
    f) It is not being operated in a manner or under conditions that cause the vehicle to lose traction.

That excerpt lists conditions for exempting certain vehicles from conditional road closures.

The situation on Hwy 35 was 'chains required' and that condition requires chains unless the tire is a traction tire, which the stock Conti ProContacts are not. If Hwy 35 was conditionally closed, then only vehicles meeting the above criteria would be legally able to use it.

So IMHO the OP got it right by chaining up to comply with ODOT rules. If the vehicle had either "M+S" or "snowpeak symbol'd" tires, then no chains would need be installed. But or and, if Hwy 35 had been conditionally closed, chaining the AWD car with all-season Conti's would have made travel by that vehicle permissable since the OP would have met conditional closure exemption conditions (a)- (f) [assuming the vehicle was being operated in a road condition appropriate manner]. If the vehicle were equipped with traction tires, same result, as long as chains were on-board but un-installed.

So, basically, traction tires = M+S (NOT all-season) = chains for all purposes. If no traction tires, then chains are required for all chain-up and conditional road closure situations. Lastly, all conditional road closure require chains either installed or on-board.

I live in the Gorge and have had to deal with these conditions constantly on both sides of the river winter after winter, and we have M+S rated tires on all of our cars during the winter months to avoid chain-up requirements. Three of our cars are AWD/4WD, and those also carry chains to comply with the conditional closure rules in case we get caught on the wrong side of the Gorge.
 

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I like that Timberline lodge up there - what an architectural marvel up there. If I am not mistaken it was built during the great depression, about the same time as Hoover Dam. I am jealous of you guys, who live close by!
Also looks familiar because the exteriors were used in the movie "The Shining".
 

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Exemptions

In typical winter conditions, the following vehicles are completely or partially exempt from the chain law. However, in very bad winter road conditions all vehicles may be required to use chains regardless of the type of vehicle or type of tire being used (this is known as a conditional road closure). A conditional road closure may occur on any of Oregon's highways and are frequent in the winter on Interstate 5 through the Siskiyou Pass south of Ashland:
The first paragraph in the Exemptions section makes it seem like the previously quoted list is completely or partially(?) exempt from chain laws except during a conditional closure where chains would be required.

What does partially exempt mean?

Are the stock conti's considered "all-weather radials"?
 

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Ah yes, Timberline. Brings back memories. June 7th, 1960 I graduated High School and our class rented the whole lodge for the night, swimming pool and all. Getting old......but still remember Timberline Lodge
 

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The first paragraph in the Exemptions section makes it seem like the previously quoted list is completely or partially(?) exempt from chain laws except during a conditional closure where chains would be required.

What does partially exempt mean?

Are the stock conti's considered "all-weather radials"?
They arent.....but may be "considered"
 

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That excerpt lists conditions for exempting certain vehicles from conditional road closures.

The situation on Hwy 35 was 'chains required' and that condition requires chains unless the tire is a traction tire, which the stock Conti ProContacts are not. If Hwy 35 was conditionally closed, then only vehicles meeting the above criteria would be legally able to use it.

So IMHO the OP got it right by chaining up to comply with ODOT rules. If the vehicle had either "M+S" or "snowpeak symbol'd" tires, then no chains would need be installed. But or and, if Hwy 35 had been conditionally closed, chaining the AWD car with all-season Conti's would have made travel by that vehicle permissable since the OP would have met conditional closure exemption conditions (a)- (f) [assuming the vehicle was being operated in a road condition appropriate manner]. If the vehicle were equipped with traction tires, same result, as long as chains were on-board but un-installed.

So, basically, traction tires = M+S (NOT all-season) = chains for all purposes. If no traction tires, then chains are required for all chain-up and conditional road closure situations. Lastly, all conditional road closure require chains either installed or on-board.

I live in the Gorge and have had to deal with these conditions constantly on both sides of the river winter after winter, and we have M+S rated tires on all of our cars during the winter months to avoid chain-up requirements. Three of our cars are AWD/4WD, and those also carry chains to comply with the conditional closure rules in case we get caught on the wrong side of the Gorge.
You got it wrong. There was no conditional road closure. The OP is NOT required to put chains on because we are driving an AWD car with M+S tires. Pretty much all tires aside from Ultra High Performance summer tires have M+S rating nowadays. Oregon's requirements are similar to California. AWD with M+S = regular car with chains.
 

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You got it wrong. There was no conditional road closure. The OP is NOT required to put chains on because we are driving an AWD car with M+S tires. Pretty much all tires aside from Ultra High Performance summer tires have M+S rating nowadays. Oregon's requirements are similar to California. AWD with M+S = regular car with chains.
I didn't get anything wrong - if the OP's tires are M+S rated, then they're traction tires and substitute for chains under all conditions. Since it's an all-wheel drive car, it's also capable of traveling on conditionally closed roads.

Hwy 35 wasn't closed; it was chains required. So, the key fact is whether the tires are stamped M+S. I didn't think the OPs tires were M+S rated, but as it turns out, the stock Continentals are stamped M+S rated, so no chains.

As for the "all season" v. "all weather" issue, the state law says "all weather" and not "all season", but an "all season" tire stamped M+S meets the requirement b/c of the M+S stamp. Sounds like some people think that all "all season" tires these days will be stamped M+S anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I didn't get anything wrong - if the OP's tires are M+S rated, then they're traction tires and substitute for chains under all conditions. Since it's an all-wheel drive car, it's also capable of traveling on conditionally closed roads.

Hwy 35 wasn't closed; it was chains required. So, the key fact is whether the tires are stamped M+S. I didn't think the OPs tires were M+S rated, but as it turns out, the stock Continentals are stamped M+S rated, so no chains.

As for the "all season" v. "all weather" issue, the state law says "all weather" and not "all season", but an "all season" tire stamped M+S meets the requirement b/c of the M+S stamp. Sounds like some people think that all "all season" tires these days will be stamped M+S anyway.
And that's also what I missed. I looked at the stock Conti's and for the life of me didn't see the M S, but sure enough it is there.
Not like the other M&S I'm used to seeing, but it is and I didn't notice until after this thread.<O:p</O:p
The Conti's didn't do bad at all on the flatter ground around Government camp etc..even with heavier snow, but on the hills like going up to Timberline they weren’t the best. So I will probably get different tires for winter or when the Conti’s get a little more mileage on them.<O:p</O:p
 

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I'm sure this is a dead thread but with winter approaching, but OP I'm curious how many times last winter you took the Outback up to Hood/Timberline and how you felt about the stock tires? I just purchased a '14 outback, and I usually make 20-30 trips up to timberline in the winter. In past years I've driven a FWD with chains when required and never had an issue. Part of the appeal of the outback was the AWD but I'm not naive enough to think that AWD=invincible. I've been all over the map between getting dedicated winter tires, just buying the same chains you had, and just rolling stock brand new tires. I'm not so worried about the police turning us around, as the exemption law applies to the AWD. Just looking for some real world experiences from someone driving the road up there in an Outback :)

Thanks!
 

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I work in an area near by that may or may not receive some hardcore snowfall. I can tell you that 90% of the time when the roads are bad enough that ALL vehicles require chains, most often the agency responsible just closes the road. I see a lot of Outbacks (and other all wheel drive vehicles) traveling snow and ice covered roads all the time.. Studded tires help, but nothing is invincible. All wheel drive is good, however your success depends a lot on how you drive and what tires you have. Most vehicles do just fine by using a little extra caution and having decent tires. Where I work out chain signs stipulate wether the "chains required" applies to all vehicle except for wheel drive, or wether it applies to all vehicles including four wheel drive.

Hope that helps a little.
 
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