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Old 03-13-2013, 02:48 PM   #31 (permalink)
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4 x 4 actually is required to carry chains. Caltrans will not ask you to put it on but they will ask if you carry chains sometimes.
In my 5 years of driving up to Tahoe I've never been stopped by cal trans and asked about chains in my 4x4.
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Old 03-13-2013, 02:59 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I drive a Subaru Forester with M+S tires and carry chains with me whenever I drive into Tahoe in the winter or early spring. I've never had to use them, though; Cal-Trans usually sees that I have a Subie and waves me through.

If road conditions are such that chains are required on AWD, well, those are conditions I don't want to be driving in anyway (I'm a wimp)
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Old 03-13-2013, 03:02 PM   #33 (permalink)
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In my 5 years of driving up to Tahoe I've never been stopped by cal trans and asked about chains in my 4x4.
I have been asked twice on my way to Kirkwood during weekday. They still let me thru even I didn't have chains. Now I always carry chains.

I don't think Caltrans check tires at all. The most important thing is to have good tires.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:37 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hellside View Post
I have been asked twice on my way to Kirkwood during weekday. They still let me thru even I didn't have chains. Now I always carry chains.

I don't think Caltrans check tires at all. The most important thing is to have good tires.
I don't think CalTrans "checks" tires...but they can see if you have those red and yellow stamps on the sidewalls. I've never been stopped, but we always rent a full-on 4x4 with M+S tires. The rental companies expressly say you CANNOT use chains on their vehicles. It's in the rental contract. If you do, and the chains break or cause any sort of damage, there is a hefty fee added on to your rental bill. Point being, even is some serious-assed storms driving through Carson up to Kirkwood, a good 4x4 with good tires is sufficient (though the drive is still hairy).
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:59 PM   #35 (permalink)
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I don't think CalTrans "checks" tires...but they can see if you have those red and yellow stamps on the sidewalls. I've never been stopped, but we always rent a full-on 4x4 with M+S tires. The rental companies expressly say you CANNOT use chains on their vehicles. It's in the rental contract. If you do, and the chains break or cause any sort of damage, there is a hefty fee added on to your rental bill. Point being, even is some serious-assed storms driving through Carson up to Kirkwood, a good 4x4 with good tires is sufficient (though the drive is still hairy).
I'm not sure what these red and yellow stamps are that you're talking about. I have M+S tires and I don't have any colored stamps. Nowadays, most if not all "all-seasons" are rated M+S. "Snow tires" are something else beyond M+S and are only good for winter driving (marked with a mountain and snowflake). It's confusing because the Caltrans regulations refer to "snow tires" but they define "snow tires" as including merely M+S. So the regs do not actually require true "snow tires." Typical M+S all-seasons are adequate.

That said, I used to put chains on my WRX when it had summer tires. At one of the chain checkpoints, the guy waved me by when he saw that I had a subaru but at the last second he told me to stop. He asked why the hell I had chains on a Subaru. I told him it's because I had summer tires and he laughed and said get the hell outta here.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:00 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Not to steal the topic, but since we are talking about cars and Kwood...how gnarly is to sleep in your car in the parking lot? The closed the hostel and I don't have a trailer...yet...so that's my only option.

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Old 03-13-2013, 05:32 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Default Okay, I got some bullshit info...

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Originally Posted by glaucon View Post
I'm not sure what these red and yellow stamps are that you're talking about. I have M+S tires and I don't have any colored stamps. Nowadays, most if not all "all-seasons" are rated M+S. "Snow tires" are something else beyond M+S and are only good for winter driving (marked with a mountain and snowflake). It's confusing because the Caltrans regulations refer to "snow tires" but they define "snow tires" as including merely M+S. So the regs do not actually require true "snow tires." Typical M+S all-seasons are adequate.

That said, I used to put chains on my WRX when it had summer tires. At one of the chain checkpoints, the guy waved me by when he saw that I had a subaru but at the last second he told me to stop. He asked why the hell I had chains on a Subaru. I told him it's because I had summer tires and he laughed and said get the hell outta here.
In doing some more research, I've found that the red and yellow dots are balance points indicating the high and low points on the tire, for the benefit of the installer -- they indicate where to balance the tire. This is bizarre, because in California we were told something totally different, and everything backed it up...there were no standard/small cars with the dots. We only saw them on larger SUVs and 4x4's.

I just did some Googling, and a couple of different sources said the same thing...the dots are reference points for the balance of the tire.

Now I wonder about the last shitty tires I bought. I asked for OEM tires, because the were awesome (Bridgestones). He sold me on some Hankooks, which were much cheaper. They SUCKED. And they didn't have the dots I was told about while in Tahoe. I replaced them with some new tires last Novermber, and the new ones have the dots (the Hankooks didn't). Hmm. So what is the real story? I need some more research!

Sorry for providing wrong info, but it was "real" at the time! I'll update, and I look forward to tire geeks telling me what the deal with the dots is.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:45 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by surfinsnow View Post
In doing some more research, I've found that the red and yellow dots are balance points indicating the high and low points on the tire, for the benefit of the installer -- they indicate where to balance the tire. This is bizarre, because in California we were told something totally different, and everything backed it up...there were no standard/small cars with the dots. We only saw them on larger SUVs and 4x4's.

I just did some Googling, and a couple of different sources said the same thing...the dots are reference points for the balance of the tire.

Now I wonder about the last shitty tires I bought. I asked for OEM tires, because the were awesome (Bridgestones). He sold me on some Hankooks, which were much cheaper. They SUCKED. And they didn't have the dots I was told about while in Tahoe. I replaced them with some new tires last Novermber, and the new ones have the dots (the Hankooks didn't). Hmm. So what is the real story? I need some more research!

Sorry for providing wrong info, but it was "real" at the time! I'll update, and I look forward to tire geeks telling me what the deal with the dots is.
Haha, let the dots go, man. Whatever they are, they're not important. If someone says they are, turn around and walk out the door.

Bridgestone makes great tires, I don't know much about Hankook. Tirerack.com does a good job of reviewing and is a good source of information.

ps - I'm glad you did some research and deleted your previous post; I was about to flip out
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:42 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Haha, let the dots go, man. Whatever they are, they're not important. If someone says they are, turn around and walk out the door.

Bridgestone makes great tires, I don't know much about Hankook. Tirerack.com does a good job of reviewing and is a good source of information.

ps - I'm glad you did some research and deleted your previous post; I was about to flip out
Thanks for talking me down!

Even when I replaced my shitty Hankook tires (one had an uneven tread, and it when "thump thump thump thump" all the time), I asked the my trusted mechanic (instead of Town Fair Tire, which I'll NEVER go to again) about the M+S and the dots...he never mentioned the dots. Just said that he'd get me some serious M+S tires. Which he did. He's alway done right by me...but he never questioned it when I mentioned the red and yellow dots. I feel like a chump, although maybe the balancing dots aren't really an issue on small tires. On 18" wheels, I can see that maybe it more of an issue.

Oh well, live and learn. My new tires have deep snow treads and I'm happy.
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