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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everybody:

As I am gearing up for an El Nino winter snow season, I've been evaluating snow chains for my 2016 SH-AWD MDX.

Previously I used Thule chains on my 2007 BMW X5. I was disappointed to discover Thule doesn't make a chain to fit 245/55/19 - since the MDX is one of the most (if not the most) popular mid-size SUV sold in the USA. So after a bit of looking around, it seems that the only "Acura Recommended" option is a low profile snow-cable. (not a fan of them).

As I looked further, I noticed in the owners manual that Acura recommends placement on the FRONT tires. I was a bit confused since my BMW (also an AWD system) insisted I place my chains on the BACK!

As a matter of physics, it made more sense to me that the chains would go on the back (to prevent fish-tailing) and that with the chains on the back, you basically drive around like a snow-mobile.

I was wondering if the Acura recommendation was thinking in terms of the front-wheel version of the MDX... and was neglecting to consider AWD systems when making the front wheel recommendation. (Yes, I know this is a provocative statement that an end consumer might suggest Acura wasn't fully considering everything... but honestly) I cannot figure out the different justifications for having chains on the front of an AWD Acura but only on the back of an AWD BMW!

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated - especially from any Acura techs. (e.g. is the front weight distribution too great in the Acura to justify rear placement? where as in the BMW the more 50/50 split makes the difference?)

Thanks in advance. :29:
 

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Where, and how much driving in the snow do you expect to do?

In many cases the two most sensible options are:

1) Real winter tires on a set of dedicated cheap wheels, or

2) All-season tires and no chains

For instance, #2 works fine for Bay Area residents travelling to the Sierras to ski. Caltrans almost never goes to R3 conditions. They close the road instead. As long as the road is open, AWD with all-season tires (as lame as their performance is in real winter conditions) works fine. This is based on nearly three decades of living in the Bay Area and skiing in Tahoe, and owning various AWD vehicles.

If you drive in real-winter conditions, I'd go with #1.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
jhue:

1. Thanks for the response!
2. I live in SoCal... so winter tires are not the best option. I do a big ski trip or two every year so chains are a must (long term). In the past 6 years, I have been on various trips (Tahoe, Bachelor, etc.) and I have needed chains several times. I hear what you are saying about Caltrans, and they do a good job keeping roads clear, but I've been on the side of the road putting them on (on my old BMW X5 plenty of times). Even pulling out some hapless kids who tried to make it up in a rear-wheel drive BMW coupe (LOL on that one)...

Come to think of it, I even drove in chains from Bend to Portland a few years back when it dumped so much snow it closed PDX for the first time in decades. Another year, we were up at Bachelor (in white out conditions)... later taking I-26 past Mount Hood on the way to the Washington coast. (Not a road you want to be on in snowy conditions... without chains... as the Highway Patrol was escorting cars though the pass)... well, so much for memory lane. But made for a really fun time/adventure.

This year we are going to Park City... and with El Nino... I'd prefer to be prepared... but driving from So Cal to Park City with Snow Tires is a real no-go. Hence the need for chains/cables.

What can I say, snow follows me around. Makes for great skiing and even better snowmen. And with (3) small kids in the vehicle with me.... a few $$ on quality chains is worth the piece of mind.

Now if only I could understand why Acura wants them on the front (while BMW wanted them on the back).
 

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Hey everybody:

As I am gearing up for an El Nino winter snow season, I've been evaluating snow chains for my 2016 SH-AWD MDX.

Previously I used Thule chains on my 2007 BMW X5. I was disappointed to discover Thule doesn't make a chain to fit 245/55/19 - since the MDX is one of the most (if not the most) popular mid-size SUV sold in the USA. So after a bit of looking around, it seems that the only "Acura Recommended" option is a low profile snow-cable. (not a fan of them).

As I looked further, I noticed in the owners manual that Acura recommends placement on the FRONT tires. I was a bit confused since my BMW (also an AWD system) insisted I place my chains on the BACK!

As a matter of physics, it made more sense to me that the chains would go on the back (to prevent fish-tailing) and that with the chains on the back, you basically drive around like a snow-mobile.

I was wondering if the Acura recommendation was thinking in terms of the front-wheel version of the MDX... and was neglecting to consider AWD systems when making the front wheel recommendation. (Yes, I know this is a provocative statement that an end consumer might suggest Acura wasn't fully considering everything... but honestly) I cannot figure out the different justifications for having chains on the front of an AWD Acura but only on the back of an AWD BMW!

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated - especially from any Acura techs. (e.g. is the front weight distribution too great in the Acura to justify rear placement? where as in the BMW the more 50/50 split makes the difference?)

Thanks in advance. :29:
Acura's have a front wheel bias drive train. Bimmers have a rear wheel bias drive train design.
 

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Acura's have a front wheel bias drive train. Bimmers have a rear wheel bias drive train design.
This.

The MDX is basically FWD but sends power to the rear wheels when the conditions warrant it (hard acceleration, wheelslip is detected, etc). IIRC The BMW has full-time, rear-biased AWD

Nobody uses snow chains here but out of curiosity, can't you put them on all 4 wheels?
 

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I've couldn't figure this out with my 08 RDX or 11 MDX also? I live in southwest with elevation between 5000-11,000 ft between point A and B with all four seasons within a few hours drive. I've been lucky to not have to put on my chains on the side of the road (extremely dry winters for +7 yrs). I went ahead and purchase a front/rear set just in-case because:

- mostly likely be driving under 20-25 mph with chains
- only need them for a very short amount of time over the pass or back/forth at the ski resort
- 4 wheels with the same amount of traction seems to make sense for sh-awd compared to only having the fronts with chains
- Only having chains on the front didn't sound good for braking situations
- If I only need the front chains, then I will have 100% spares to last a lifetime.

Acura recommends the Cable-type: SCC Cable Chain ZT735 for the 245/55/19 tire (pg 477 owner's manual). Acura warns about any other type of chains can damage brake lines, suspension, body, and wheels. This could be the damage potential for any chain types for the rear?

It would be nice if someone had experience with using chains on the MDX for extended periods of time on all 4 wheels for input.:(
 

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Acura recommends the Cable-type: SCC Cable Chain ZT735 for the 245/55/19 tire (pg 477 owner's manual). Acura warns about any other type of chains can damage brake lines, suspension, body, and wheels. This could be the damage potential for any chain types for the rear?
I just ordered a set of these, Peerless Chain Part # Z-575, Z-Chain. I'm heading up to Mammoth this weekend and chains are mandatory in Southern California when heading to the mountain in the winter. Even if the Highway Patrol doesn't make AWD vehicles put the chains on, they won't let you pass without having them in the car. And, when it's truly icy, you have to put chains on. Acura SH-AWD is based on FWD, so you put them on the front wheels.

Peerless Chain Part # Z-575, Z-Chain:
Snow Chains for Tires, Best Tire Chains, Truck Tire Chains

Z-Chains get the best overall ratings:
Traction Product Comparisons | Peerless Industrial Group
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So I was surfing around to see pictures of Acura MDX's with chains on them. Frankly, I am just not a huge fan of cable-type chains... so I was looking to see if anyone had installed some "S" class (traditional) chains... maybe even with a self-racheting system. So I come across the following on you-tube (appears to be from eTrailer.com):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFmexY8YgUA

As you can see, they put the cable-type chains on the REAR of a 2014 MDX. Was the 2014 a rear-wheel drive bias drive-train?
 

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Heh nah, they put it on the wrong axle (that or I've seen some recommend rear installation on a AWD/4WD due to front axle clearances).
 

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Looks like they were doing a how to video and just adding different types of tire chains without reading the owner's manual or knowing how the sh-awd works. There seems to be a lot of chain choices that fit a particular tire size; but, next to none when you factor in the MDX+tire size.:(
 
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