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2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
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74 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my Wildeeness is the 1st Subaru I have owned and since winter is just around the corner, one item on my list was chains.

Looking at the owners manual I see this...
Publication Font Newspaper Automotive tire Newsprint


Do any of you use chains? Recommend ones if you to? I live in Washington state and we have snow and ice here.
 

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2021 OB Touring, 2011 OB Premium
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1,102 Posts
Kimberly,

If you get a lot of snow where you live, I'd consider getting a second set of wheel rims and having snow tires mounted on them. If not, then cable "chains" are about all you'll be able to use. I hate cables as they tend to break easily, sometimes just by accidentally spinning a wheel when trying to get traction on icy roads. I've heard fairly good things about "Z chains" which are cables with a diagonal criss-cross pattern. They hold up a bit better than regular cables. There is also something called a tire sock, which is made of relatively heavy fabric and fits over the outside of the tire and wheel.
 
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2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
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74 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kimberly,

If you get a lot of snow where you live, I'd consider getting a second set of wheel rims and having snow tires mounted on them. If not, then cable "chains" are about all you'll be able to use. I hate cables as they tend to break easily, sometimes just by accidentally spinning a wheel when trying to get traction on icy roads. I've heard fairly good things about "Z chains" which are cables with a diagonal criss-cross pattern. They hold up a bit better than regular cables. There is also something called a tire sock, which is made of relatively heavy fabric and fits over the outside of the tire and wheel.
It sounds like I probably won't need them, but places like Mt. Rainier NP require that we have them.
 

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2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It sounds like I probably won't need them, but places like Mt. Rainier NP require that we have them.
So my Wildeeness is the 1st Subaru I have owned and since winter is just around the corner, one item on my list was chains.

Looking at the owners manual I see this...
View attachment 523496

Do any of you use chains? Recommend ones if you to? I live in Washington state and we have snow and ice here.

I found the answer and wanted to share...from my local dealership...

Font Screenshot Parallel Electric blue Number
 

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Winter tires on dedicated rims are the way to go. Over time, the expense is small because your tires used in the other 3 seasons will last longer. Dedicated rims are cheaper to install twice a year than mounting and dismounting onto the summer tire rims, and easier on the wheels and tires.

Have the right cable chains with you in the car "just in case" as the authorities may sometimes require, but you'll likely never need them with proper winter tires and Subaru AWD.

Once you experience dedicated winter tires with Subaru AWD in snowy / icy conditions, you'll never go back! Modern studless winter tires like Michelin X-Ice Snow, Bridgestone Blizzak WS-90 or DM-V2, Vredestein Wintrac Pro, Continental Viking 7 all have impressive test results. Studded tires aren't good on or for dry roads and I don't recommend them).
 

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2017 Outback 3.6 Touring, which replaced '05 Outback XT
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Western Washington sees one or two snow days a year. It doesn't make sense to have dedicated snow tires here just to run up to the mountains to play in the snow. Get some chains or Autosocks. Chances are you'll never actually use them, but you can show them to the ranger at the entrance gate.
 

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2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
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74 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Western Washington sees one or two snow days a year. It doesn't make sense to have dedicated snow tires here just to run up to the mountains to play in the snow. Get some chains or Autosocks. Chances are you'll never actually use them, but you can show them to the ranger at the entrance gate.
Thank you! I am a Subie Newbie so I have never driven her in the snow yet. I work from home so the only time I really take her out is on the weekends when I go play in the woods.

I winter backpack in MRNP so I have to have them. Plus it wouldn't be a bad idea to have them just in case. I have MaxTrax if I really need it. And I hike in the mountains all year so I will be in the snow.

I just learned about lowering the tire pressure when off road. Something new for me.

Can't wait to get her out in the cold.
 

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2018 Outback Touring 2.5
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Interesting. CalTrans will just close mountain passes in NorCal if it deems it's unsafe for 4wd/AWD vehicles with snow tires to drive in snow conditions. There are a lot of Subarus in Tahoe, I don't know anyone who carries chains and we drive in snow Nov-March.
If those tires on the Wilderness have the 3peak symbol, they should be good enough in Winters that don't see snow often. Agree with Radar, I'd just carry cables to comply, doubt you'd ever have to put them on.
 

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2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Interesting. CalTrans will just close mountain passes in NorCal if it deems it's unsafe for 4wd/AWD vehicles with snow tires to drive in snow conditions. There are a lot of Subarus in Tahoe, I don't know anyone who carries chains and we drive in snow Nov-March.
Yeah I get that. There are just a couple areas where it is required to have them or use them in WA. Mount Rainier is one of them. They even call out Subaru! lol

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...There are a lot of Subarus in Tahoe, I don't know anyone who carries chains and we drive in snow Nov-March...
I once had to chain up in early June going back down the hill on I-80, in a good snow year!

Yuk! putting on chains always a wet dirty operation
 

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Good snow tires and proper driving will get you where you need to go.
Chains can be required by lawn in some areas. I have a set of cables that live in the car for those winter months but at the same time also plan trips accordingly to avoid conditions that would require them. In CO there are many levels before awd w/ snow tires would be required by law to install chains
 

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2006 Subaru Outback Wagon LLBean 3.0R Automatic
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the requirement is to "have chains" in the car... So if asked, do you have chains in the car, say "yes". Traffic control is too busy to actually ask to SEE the chains you "have in the car".

in practice, Subarus are not required to PUT chains ON the tires. They just get waved forward in places that require chains be installed on 2wd vehicles.

IF I did install the cables I have, I would put them on all 4 wheels. The only time that might be needed, would be if I ventured down a snow covered dirt road (bad idea). Snow over dirt is essentially not driveable.. The tires will spin, the snow melts into an ice basin, and the car goes nowhere..

Maxtrax can help you back out.. but they are big and clumsy, and Im not willing to carry them.

Airing down is primarily for Dirt Roads with no snow, especially washboard and rocks.. Airing down in Snow is not a helpful "thing" to do.
 
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