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Old 12-14-2020, 02:15 PM #1
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Snow chains on front tires?

I've got a 2020 4Runner and replaced tires with Falken WildPeak A/T3W in stock size, though they're naturally slightly larger in diameter.

Looking at the owner's manual, it states "Install tire chains on the rear tires only. Do not install tire chains on the front tires."

Yesterday I did a bit of mountain road driving, had somewhat basic chains on my rear tires (want to get better ones!) but not having them on my front tires felt... not so great. I ended up sliding sideway on a hill, which I firmly believe wouldn't have happened with chains on the front.

Anyone running chains on the front? Any precautions or things to note? I imagine it has to do with clearance issues in the front, but shouldn't the 4runner wheel well have "plenty" of space, especially compared to the compact/luxury crossovers that have almost none?
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Old 12-14-2020, 02:22 PM #2
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I am guessing because you will fishtail with no chains on the rear. Best case is to put chains on all 4.
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Old 12-14-2020, 02:28 PM #3
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There is actually not a lot of clearance between the tire and the mud flap on the front, even with stock-sized tires when the wheels are turned. If you remove the front mudflap and carefully check clearance, you should be OK. Toyota is stating this mainly due to the exact reasons you mentioned - not all tires are of equal actual size, even if they are listed as the same size on the sidewall.
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Old 12-14-2020, 02:50 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ahtoxa11 View Post
There is actually not a lot of clearance between the tire and the mud flap on the front, even with stock-sized tires when the wheels are turned. If you remove the front mudflap and carefully check clearance, you should be OK. Toyota is stating this mainly due to the exact reasons you mentioned - not all tires are of equal actual size, even if they are listed as the same size on the sidewall.
I put up a video of the one major slide I had:
Watch this story by Kaitlyn McLachlan on Instagram before it disappears.

Now the rest of it was... manageable, but I definitely didn't enjoy not feeling like I didn't have full, reliable traction.

I don't know if I could have changed any driving settings or my driving behavior (maybe), but would certainly love to be able to have better traction on the front...

I've seen some (crazy expensive) options that don't have any chain connection around the inside of the tire (konig/thule k-summit) but it sounds like there is still clearance issues around the diameter of the tire...
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Old 12-14-2020, 03:21 PM #5
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Have only had to put on my chains maybe once or twice on the 4runner (mountain roads in R3 conditions or whiteout conditions in Wyoming and Montana). I put them on the rear and had no issues. However, if I had to put them on the front, there is quite a bit of clearance issues with my 285 mud tires. I removed mud flaps and can barely clear them. If I had cables, that could probably fit but in my mind, if I need to chain all 4 for on-road driving, then I probably should just stay home haha.
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Old 12-14-2020, 03:22 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyKevin View Post
Have only had to put on my chains maybe once or twice on the 4runner (R3 conditions). I put them on the rear and had no issues. However, if I had to put them on the front, there is quite a bit of clearance issues with my 285s. I removed mud flaps and can barely clear them. If I had cables, that could probably fit but in my mind, if I need to chain all 4 for on-road driving, then I probably should just stay home haha.
This was on an unmanaged forestry road
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Old 12-14-2020, 04:23 PM #7
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Must have been some decent snow. I have never had a problem with traction in the snow with my falkens. I have cables for my 4runner but never had to use them.
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Old 12-14-2020, 04:32 PM #8
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Originally Posted by mustangr2 View Post
Must have been some decent snow. I have never had a problem with traction in the snow with my falkens. I have cables for my 4runner but never had to use them.
Posted a link to the video of one slide - it was let about amount of snow and more about some compacted+icy snow, plus hill.

Here in the PNW, our snow is a lot heavier/wetter... gets icy quite easily
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Old 12-14-2020, 04:43 PM #9
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I think this video answers your question, why no chains chairs on front tires of the 4runner.
Read the description text below the video.
The gist:
1. In deep snow the front end rides up on the packed snow and you lose front traction. Front chains now are useless.
2. When turning the steering wheel there is some flex in the suspension and you can contact fenders and brake lines.
3. Toyota recommends against it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly7_4_K9hmY&feature=youtu.be
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Old 12-14-2020, 04:54 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectroBoy View Post
I think this video answers your question, why no chains chairs on front tires of the 4runner.
Read the description text below the video.
The gist:
1. In deep snow the front end rides up on the packed snow and you lose front traction. Front chains now are useless.
2. When turning the steering wheel there is some flex in the suspension and you can contact fenders and brake lines.
3. Toyota recommends against it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly7_4_K9hmY&feature=youtu.be
Haha there really is a youtube video for everything!

I was mostly aware of the brake line concerns, but yeah the skid acting as a plow/lifter is interesting anyway.

Although to be fair, I think MOST of the time I'll be dealing with slick roads over deep snow
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Old 12-14-2020, 05:24 PM #11
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Are snow tires an option? If you haven’t tried them, it’s quite impressive the difference they make. Even compared to an AT.


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Old 12-14-2020, 05:32 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaitlyn2004 View Post
Haha there really is a youtube video for everything!

I was mostly aware of the brake line concerns, but yeah the skid acting as a plow/lifter is interesting anyway.

Although to be fair, I think MOST of the time I'll be dealing with slick roads over deep snow
Yeah, unless you’re in a bulldozer, driving on ice or slippery hard pack is really tricky. Especially on an off-camber incline. You have to experiment in each situation. Generally slow speed, no stabbing the brakes, and no tire spinning works best. Keep the tires rolling not sliding.

People think that “pizza cutter” thin tires will slice down through snow and ice to the road surface better than an OEM size. Or that big wide tires with big lugs will either “float” on the snow better or dig in and grip better. Maybe in certain snow conditions they will, like slush on pavement. But what I’ve seen on not-too-deep snow covering an icy/hardpacked road is that when going slow the tire lugs fill with snow and that provides a little extra grip on the ice. And if you go slow and don’t spin the tires much you make progress.

And whatever you do, don’t use tire cables. Maybe the latest versions are better and stronger. But I’ve broken and lost two of them on a FWD sedan, they failed just by normal driving.
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Old 12-14-2020, 05:39 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectroBoy View Post
Yeah, unless you’re in a bulldozer, driving on ice or slippery hard pack is really tricky. Especially on an off-camber incline. You have to experiment in each situation. Generally slow speed, no stabbing the brakes, and no tire spinning works best. Keep the tires rolling not sliding.

People think that “pizza cutter” thin tires will slice down through snow and ice to the road surface better than an OEM size. Or that big wide tires with big lugs will either “float” on the snow better or dig in and grip better. Maybe in certain snow conditions they will, like slush on pavement. But what I’ve seen on not-too-deep snow covering an icy/hardpacked road is that when going slow the tire lugs fill with snow and that provides a little extra grip on the ice. And if you go slow and don’t spin the tires much you make progress.

And whatever you do, don’t use tire cables. Maybe the latest versions are better and stronger. But I’ve broken and lost two of them on a FWD sedan, they failed just by normal driving.
Yeah would definitely love to try out various scenarios although I wasn't keen on doing it there! I wondering about giving it a touch of gas and trying to actually get some control, but although the tires probably would have propelled me forward I seemed to still have zero steering control...

Was mostly concerned about ditch at bottom of hill, but yeah if I could find a more open, safe hill in similar conditions to try various techniques on... def look forward to that!
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Old 12-14-2020, 05:40 PM #14
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That video was pretty lame IMHO. You would want to put chains on a 4Runner in icy conditions. Claiming chains don't help going through deep snow is pretty obvious. I am pretty sure like others have said it is the clearance issues that is the main problem.
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Old 12-14-2020, 06:04 PM #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaitlyn2004 View Post
I've seen some (crazy expensive) options that don't have any chain connection around the inside of the tire (konig/thule k-summit) but it sounds like there is still clearance issues around the diameter of the tire...
I would probably second the snow tires seeing as you are up in Canada but there are alternatives to snow chains as well.

AutoSock - Better Than the Best Tire Chains - Shop Tire & Snow Socks

Im not sure the laws up there but in Colorado the DOT can implement traction laws during bad conditions. As of 2019, when things get really bad they can implement a passenger vehicle chain law which requires all vehilces to have chains or traction devices on all drive wheels. I picked up 2 pairs of autosocks this year to make sure I am covered for ski season but haven't used them. They are worth looking at if you still want to have fun in your ATs and have an easy install option. Obviously chains are still king for snow wheeling.
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