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Old 07-24-2012, 05:56 PM   #1
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Towing in 4 wheel drive?

What are the laws in your state regarding towing, if your tow vehicle is a 4x4?

What are the laws here in Calif?

I don't do well with chains. :P
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:57 PM   #2
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

just out of curiousity where would you be towing that you would need 4wd and chains?
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:15 PM   #3
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmac
just out of curiousity where would you be towing that you would need 4wd and chains?
Chains or 4x4 with snow tires required every winter over the passes that are open (half the passes are closed in the winter, due to snow). Sacramento is 25' above sea level but within 80 miles east you're up over 7,500'.

Mt. Rose Hwy., the highest year around pass over the Sierra Nevada mountain range is 8,260'.

The up side of living in Sacramento......the mountains just to the east of town, the Pacific ocean two hours west.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:29 PM   #4
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

You can snow ski in the morning and water ski in the afternoon. As far as the op's question, I'm not sure I'd like towing any sort of distance. I can see having to use 4 wheel if you get stuck. I guess it depends on the vehicle, I know Jeep has 2 kinds of 4 wheel, one is full time and one is part time. So using the full time should be acceptable but check your manual.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

I'm sorry......I don't think I was communicating clearly.

I'm asking are there any laws that prohibit towing a trailer (the 5.0 in particular) when chains or 4x4 with snow tires are required?

In Calif. when the chains/4x4 restrictions are on, the speed limit is 35 mph. I'd also like to know if there are any laws like that in other states?
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:58 PM   #6
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

I know that so called all-season tires don't count as snow tires.. The law in most States and Provinces, You must have snow rated tires. and if your towing a trailer I would suspect that it must have snowy's as well. That is the only way to appease most insurance companies. Or they will find you at fault for one thing or another If you happen to spin out and do some damage.
BF Goodrich AT's is the only tire rated for rain and snow. Have you noticed how many light trucks use them.?
I don't know it they have trailer sizes. But it would be a good combo if doing some of season driving.
One note is, there not cheap and some times have balance issues. I'm on my 4Th set with different trucks and have had two tires that where unbalanceable.If you catch it early they will replace them. But watch out they put them on the rear axle so you don't notice till you first tire rotation. And then its trouble.So rotate early to find out.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:16 PM   #7
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

Hi there, in British Columbia there are no laws prohibiting using 4x4 to tow a trailer. Doing so will not damage the tow vehicle or the trailer. The trailer does not need snow tires as it does not provide traction to the tow vehicle.

In addition, there are no regulations prohibiting using chains while towing a trailer in snow conditions. If you go highway speed, you risk them coming off and damaging at the least, your quarter panels, if not injure someone. So slow speed only. Also if you have chains on and get out of the snow conditions you must take them off. Leaving them on on wet pavement will cause you to lose your braking and steering if you apply the brakes or accelerate too hard. It is also hard on the pavement and the vehicle.

So there you go in a nutshell.

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Old 07-24-2012, 11:31 PM   #8
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

If I need chains on the snow tires on my RAV 4.

I'm staying home. Or staying put.

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Old 07-25-2012, 12:24 AM   #9
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

I guess this a good example of we all have different situations to deal with, i have a 4wd truck and run michelin ltx at2's in the summer and nokian hakapilta studded in the winter, but i don't think i would ever tow my escape trailer in the winter as i wouldn't want the road salt any where near it. i do tow a enclosed snowmobile trailer in the winter but thats a what it is for. I have never heard of any laws regarding this issue in alberta or bc. I do know that quebec does require winter tires on all cars and light duty trucks but not sure about trailers
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:59 AM   #10
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

This is what I'm looking for and good info on BC. How about Colorado, Montanna, Idaho, Wyo in the winter months......any members can help out with the requirements for those states?

In Calif. anytime the "Chains or 4x4 with snow tires only, beyond this point" is out, the speed limit is 35 mph regardless of what's posted. Not saying that people don't drive faster.....I see it every winter......and see them in the ditch or over the side.

Also, if the tire has "M&S" on the side wall it qualifies as snow tire in Calif.

Another thing about California.....they can't use salt on the roads here.....just sand. So we don't have that to deal with.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:10 AM   #11
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

On our return trip from Chilliwack in Sept/Oct 2009, we encountered early wintry conditions of cold & snow right when our path took us thru Yellowstone & the Grand Tetons. Due to snow conditions, Yellowstone Park required vehicles to have chains or tires rated for mud/snow (M&S) as well as 4x4 in order to travel on the park's roads. There were no requirements regarding trailer tires though. However, the rangers stressed extreme caution & slow speeds especially if pulling a trailer thru the park.

We camped for two nights on the west edge of the park to give a little extra time for the road crews to do their work of making the roads as safe as possible before travelling thru the park to get to the Tetons. It wasn't white knuckled driving but it also wasn't a relaxing ride either. I personally try to avoid having to driving in conditions like that. We didn't expect to hit that kind of weather on our trip but knew that it was possible. I was glad we had a 4x4 with M&S tires so we didn't have to hunker down for longer than the couple days that we did.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:31 AM   #12
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmac
just out of curiousity where would you be towing that you would need 4wd and chains?
I took these pics Memorial Day weekend (May 26, 2012) in Austin, Nevada. Hwy. 50 is billed as the Lonliest Road In America, for a reason. The forecast was for "possable scattered showers above 7,000 feet".







However, in all honesty, I dream of spending at least a couple of weeks in the winter, in Yellowstone when every thing is all white! Photography is a hobby of mine and I never leave home without my Nikon.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:39 AM   #13
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCZ


In Calif. anytime the "Chains or 4x4 with snow tires only, beyond this point" is out, the speed limit is 35 mph regardless of what's posted. Not saying that people don't drive faster.....I see it every winter......and see them in the ditch or over the side.
Thanks, didn't know that. Is that posted? At any rate, its been drilled into me that "go as fast/slow as road conditions (and the speed limit) allow".



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Old 07-25-2012, 12:57 PM   #14
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by justmeinbc
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCZ


In Calif. anytime the "Chains or 4x4 with snow tires only, beyond this point" is out, the speed limit is 35 mph regardless of what's posted. Not saying that people don't drive faster.....I see it every winter......and see them in the ditch or over the side.
Thanks, didn't know that. Is that posted? At any rate, its been drilled into me that "go as fast/slow as road conditions (and the speed limit) allow".
I didn't know it either. Just a few years ago I got pulled over and was given a friendly "notification" from the CHP when I was headed up skiing. Skiing used to be almost a weekly event for me so I headed up that mountain nearly every weekend winter for years and didn't know that.

Since then I learned that it's posted on the back of the truck where they stop you to check for chains or M&S tires. I always thought that just meant 35 mph right there where they were pulling you over.....back on the freeway was OK at 40-45 mph. Not the case.....35 mph in the entire restricted area.
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Old 07-25-2012, 01:21 PM   #15
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

To answer one of your original questions;
In California, when chains are required, the trailer must have chains if it has brakes (which all Escapes do) AND the tow vehicle MUST have chains also. The usual chains exception for four wheel drive does not apply when towing.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:06 PM   #16
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

I'm wrong.....the speed limit in California is 25 mph in restricted areas! How did I get away with exceeding that for so many years?

A buddy of mine that's a CHP officer down south just got back to me and sent me this link (see the notes at the bottom).... http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/ChainRequire.pdf

keager.....you're right! The 4x4 and trailer (if it has brakes) has to have chains. How did you know that.....there's got to be a story there.
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Old 08-14-2012, 12:48 AM   #17
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

I was in the tire industry with various companies for about 8 years, so I want to say a few things about the tire discussion.

That "M&S" rating on tires is garbage, they stamp it on everything, don't trust it. It is based off of some formula that uses the ratio of void space to tread blocks on the tire. Some high performance tires are rated M&S and you REALLY wouldn't want to drive in either the rain or snow with them!

What you want to look for is the mountain/snowflake symbol on the sidewalls.
If it doesn't have that stamp on the sidewall, it is not rated for winter conditions. And this is a legit rating, unlike M&S.
There are an increasing number of tires that have come out with this rating in all season models in recent years, the BFG A/T is one of the oldest, but as it is, the design has gotten old and they are no longer what I would consider the best option right now.
I've got the Goodyear Duratracs on my Cherokee and love them in the warm and cold months. In the winter they grip just like other true winter tires that I've had on other vehicles of mine. I live in the Edmonton region, and it gets COLD around here in the winter. And the cold is what kills the traction on normal tires, they can't warm up and stick to the road. Also winter-rated tires have a lot more siping (thin cuts/divisions) between the tread blocks to improve grip over larger tread blocks. That's why mud tires really suck in icy conditions. It's like trying to get a grip on something with your fist closed, and you're pawing at the surface with your knuckles, it just doesn't work.
I know there are a few other tire options out there, just can't think of them off the top of my head.
I've been pretty happy with my GY's so far, and have had at least one other friend run them on his F-350 for about 100,000 km's and he was very happy with them as well. They do hum a bit on the road as they are a bit aggressive, but you're not likely to get stuck in snow or mud unless it's really deep, in which case you just have to pull out the winch.

As for trailer tires, I've never heard of winter-rated trailer tires, I doubt they exist.

Chains - you always want to put them on all 4 tires of the vehicle so you have grip on all 4 corners. If you just put them on 2 tires, then the other tires won't have grip and you will fish tail or spin. It would be like putting 2 brand new tires on one axle, and two bald tires on the other axle and then driving in rainy conditions, you're going to slide eventually.
Bearing that in mind it makes complete sense that they require chains on the trailer as well, given the hazardous conditions. Without chains on the trailer, it would slide off the road and then pull your truck off too.

And the situation regarding snow tires in Quebec is really interesting (to me anyways) - the gov't compiled a list of all passenger car tires that were rated for winter conditions and handed that to the police that were then told to hand out tickets to anyone that was driving with tires that were not on "the list". Well, you may be able to see where this is going...
The gov't bureaucrats that did the compiling of that list were not 100% accurate, so some members of the public were handed large fines because their tires were not on "the list" despite the fact that they were indeed rated for winter conditions. One of the guys that worked for the same company as me at the time got 3 tickets for this. He was going to fight it, but at the time it didn't look good for him.

I've been out of the tire business for a little over a year so my info is a touch out-dated, but the last I heard was that only passenger cars (and most small/medium SUV's) were required to have winter tires. Pickup trucks were not required because at the time the legislation was passed, winter tires were not being produced for all sizes of truck. The tire manufacturers have begun to catch up in this regard, so I imagine that the legislation may be updated as well.

My strong guess would be that similar legislation will be passed in the rest of the provinces at some point. We live in a northern climate, it just makes sense that we should have the appropriate safety equipment installed on our vehicles to be able to handle the winter conditions.
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:45 AM   #18
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

Hi: The Adam Blaster...Down here in Ontario the smart ones drive for the road conditions...the rest usually end up in the ditch. A wise man once told me "For every mile of road...there's two miles of ditches".
I haven't had a set of winter tires since my road rallying days but I always make sure my tires are really good!!! Alf
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:18 AM   #19
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by escape artist
Hi: The Adam Blaster...Down here in Ontario the smart ones drive for the road conditions...
That's no different than out here in AB - the first snowfall always provides much amusement for me as I count the "ditch cars" on the way to work. lol And it's usually the larger 4wd SUV's, the owners are so concerned about being able to get going in a hurry, they forget about the need to turn and stop! <shaking head>

I grew up in Windsor, and we never had winter tires on any of our vehicles. It doesn't get cold enough for long enough to warrant their use, especially if you just drive around in the city. The snow that falls in Windsor melts pretty quickly and the asphalt warms up pretty fast in the sun. The bigger problem for vehicles in Windsor is having your windshield washer bottle full all the time as you need to keep cleaning off the road grime that splashes up.
I would still get winter tires if I was driving the 401 on a regular basis, but sticking within city limits, and city streets (low speed) your chances of being in a "bad" accident are pretty low.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:41 AM   #20
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Re: Towing in 4 wheel drive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by escape artist
Hi: The Adam Blaster...Down here in Ontario the smart ones drive for the road conditions...the rest usually end up in the ditch. A wise man once told me "For every mile of road...there's two miles of ditches".
I haven't had a set of winter tires since my road rallying days but I always make sure my tires are really good!!! Alf
escape artist N.S. of Lake Erie
Down here in Cali....that's what the smart ones do, also. Funny thing is.....you see more 4x4 owners in the ditch than you do 2x4 and it's usually either youngsters or somebody with their first 4x4 or just not used to the steep grades and curves up there. More traction on acceleration but they don't stop to think the braking power hasn't increased a bit!
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