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To me, snow is an abstract concept that is best seen on television, but it looks cold. For some insane reason, my wife's family has decided to rent a house for a week in Squaw Valley by Lake Tahoe at Christmas-time. I can read the owner's manual and try to figure out this four wheel drive stuff, low gear setting, and what-not.

Do I also need to carry snow chains? I have an '08 Cayenne S, 19" original Continentals with about 24K miles on them (not down to the wear bars yet), and air suspension. If I need snow chains, what should I get? I'm sure Porsche sells N-rated tire chains, which are probably the same as some other brand with more expensive brand marking. I assume they go on the rear wheels, correct? Any tips, suggestions or good jokes to keep thinking about if I have to put them on?

I am definitely not looking at winter tires or a second set of wheels for the snow.

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The first thing to figure out is if you have all season tires or summer tires. If you have all season's then I think you're all good. I'm in the NE but used to live in Norcal, and went to Tahoe a decent amount. CHP will let you through with 4wd and no chains, but if you have summer tires you will be slipping all over the place in the snow. It will be unsafe. I don't have experience with summer tires and chains, but my guess is that summer tires and chains in the snow is not a great idea.

To me, snow is an abstract concept that is best seen on television, but it looks cold. For some insane reason, my wife's family has decided to rent a house for a week in Squaw Valley by Lake Tahoe at Christmas-time. I can read the owner's manual and try to figure out this four wheel drive stuff, low gear setting, and what-not.

Do I also need to carry snow chains? I have an '08 Cayenne S, 19" original Continentals with about 24K miles on them (not down to the wear bars yet), and air suspension. If I need snow chains, what should I get? I'm sure Porsche sells N-rated tire chains, which are probably the same as some other brand with more expensive brand marking. I assume they go on the rear wheels, correct? Any tips, suggestions or good jokes to keep thinking about if I have to put them on?

I am definitely not looking at winter tires or a second set of wheels for the snow.

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The first thing to figure out is if you have all season tires or summer tires. If you have all season's then I think you're all good. I'm in the NE but used to live in Norcal, and went to Tahoe a decent amount. CHP will let you through with 4wd and no chains, but if you have summer tires you will be slipping all over the place in the snow. It will be unsafe. I don't have experience with summer tires and chains, but my guess is that summer tires and chains in the snow is not a great idea.

275/45R19 Continentals, with M+S designation which means all season tires suitable for winter driving according to the TSB

I'm not sure how far in the boonies this house is, given it's brand new and half the price of everything else! If it's snowing enough, or the roads aren't plowed, we'll need chains anyway. So my original question about the chains still stands

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Doesn't ANYONE use tire chains on their Cayenne?

The wheels and tires TSB mentions Porsche tire chains, part number 955.044.600.00, and the retail price is listed at $639.48!! Maybe that's why nobody answered. It's a 3.5mm link type chain, and can only be fitted to the rear axle on the 275/45R19 tires I have

Edited by geoff

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Doesn't ANYONE use tire chains on their Cayenne?

The wheels and tires TSB mentions Porsche tire chains, part number 955.044.600.00, and the retail price is listed at $639.48!! Maybe that's why nobody answered. It's a 3.5mm link type chain, and can only be fitted to the rear axle on the 275/45R19 tires I have

The best source for chains, if you want them is:

http://tirechain.com/

He's a German car enthusiast himself. Tell him I referred you.

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Geoff,

Seems you need to reach out to our European brothers with this snow question. Perhaps RFM would be a good source (he lives in Belgium.)

Your trip sounds like a good time to me :D

It appears that the So Cal Cayenne owners don't do a lot of off roading!

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Tires that are not snow specific are not a great idea. The M & S designation is pretty vague as a number of tires have them that have no business on anything other than pavement or a gravel road. I have used chains on the CS once and they can work but I dont reccomend it. I was lucky and VERY careful but there are some expensive pieces in the wheel well and if the chains arent properly fitted they could potentially bind up somethings you dont want to have to fix. I have seen this happens to other people, albeit not on Cayennes.

I drive in the Oregon Cascades and the heavy snow easily overwhelms tires that are not designed for it. Even snow specific tires are easily overwhelmed if their tread is too far down.(The manual gives specs on this and dont ask how I personally know it :rolleyes: ) Driving style is important in the CS as well. Put good shoes on it, lock the diffs, drive it like a rally car and it is a hell of a machine that is immensely impressive in the snow. I love it. But you are limited by your tires and if I were in your shoes with no experience in the snow, and it sounds like no other reason to buy snow tires, I'd rent a Tahoe with the insurance option and have alot less to worry about. Just my two cents.

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Very good points. I have been shopping for chains/cables for my 20's but might wind up buying a new set of 18's with tires that offer better clearance with a regular chain. As I understand things, so long as the chains are tight and dont move around, they will be fine so long as their is at least an inch+ clearance on the sides, and 2+ inches on the tread. I only use chains once a year or so on when I get caught in show and have to get home but I've noticed that the damage is normally caused by loose chains and/or people driving too fast with them. Loose chains if you watch them will actually sling away from the tread.

Anyway, I need something because CHP wont let you through at certain times w/o chains no matter what you drive. I strongly prefer chains and am going to look and see if I find small once with thick links. I do not have experience with cables but if anyone does, please chime in!

fred

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Great info at tirechain.com! It looks like in California, there are 3 levels of snow chain requirement. For level 1, M+S tires suffice, and for level 2 with M+S tires, I need to carry chains, but don't have to put them on. Only at level 3 do I need to put the chains on. I talked to a friend with a MBz ML with 215+K miles who has a house in Mammoth, and he said if it's level 3, you don't want to be on the road at all, otherwise he has no problems. I expect the Cayenne is at least as good in the snow as the ML. One of my neighbors with a big Land Rover, who also go to Mammoth often during the winter, has chains but never use them.

tirechain.com shows cable chains, but no real chains in the Porsche recommended 3.5mm links. The smallest they list are 5.5mm links. Does anyone know if anyone sells the 3.5mm link chains for Cayennes (besides Porsche)? I asked the parts manager at the dealer, and he said they have never sold any of the Porsche tire chains (no surprise at over $600!). Amazon shows Thule tire chains in the right size (you have to go through their fitment guide), but the Thule chains also have much larger chain size than 3.5mm (either 12 or 16mm). (I would assume a Swedish company like Thule would know something about snow!)

I found a VW Service Bulletin, and Touaregs with 275/45R19 is listed as NO for tire chain usage, so finding a VW equivalent is probably not likely. And on an Audi forum, I read that Audi specifically doesn't allow chains on wheels larger than 235/18.

Any other suggestions before I give up and go for cable chains?

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I went to Tahoe last year in my 2004 C turbo during a huge storm. I did not have chains but they did let me through but it was the scariest ride I ever had. The Michelin Diamaris were horrible and extremely unsafe. I stopped at some chain stops before I hit the pass but they did not have chains that fit 19, so I went with out. That night, we got to Tahoe very late and there was 6" of snow with ice underneath. I drove halfway up the hill to the house and started to slide down almost sideways. I finally landed in a snow bank at the side of the hill and called it quits for the night.

In the morning, I went straight down to the gas station to buy chains and used them the whole rest of the week, but then it got warm and finally took the chains off. I would highly recommend getting a good set of snow tires. If the weather gets really bad, you will be in good shape. I plan on going up in several weeks and I will have snow tires. The chains ate my tires up a bit. The chains that I did buy at the gas station worked well and then put them on for me for $20.

If the weather is not bad, you should be fine but if there is a strom get snow tires and or carry chains!!

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In order to possibly get a wider range of responses before buying snow chains, I asked over on Rennlist as well (not someplace I normally frequent, but some Cayenne owners there). I called Rud Chain and talked to them. Their database said none of their chains would fit my 19" Cayenne tires. The Thule product selection guide for chains also didn't look promising. Based on a Rennlist suggestion to avoid tirechain.com and try vulcantire.com, I called SCC, one of the brands sold by vulcantire.com, and they indicated their SCC Super Z6 cable chains would work within the limited clearance available. Unless anyone has any horror stories about these cable chains with the Cayenne, or better suggestions, that's what I'll probably order some time this week.

One of the places I talked to said the 3.5mm link chains are European and not usually sold in the US. At the price Porsche charges, it's no wonder they aren't sold here!

Now the only problem is America's Tire called yesterday and the store manager said he's only found 3 N-rated Michelin Latitude tires out of the 4 I ordered, and the computer shows back order status. Hopefully they can come up with new tires with enough tread before I head up north in a few weeks.

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If you are going to be there for a week in late December you may be fine with what you have. Snow levels are currently low and unless a big storm hits you'll be fine as is. CalTrans does a great job in the Lake Tahoe area keeping major roads clear. Don't kill yourself looking for tires just for a one week trip. As schmidty said -- if it indeed snows before you go then simply leave your Cayenne at home and rent a SUV. That's a no-brainer. You wrote that you do not plan on purchasing a second set of wheels -- then be sure to keep in mind it's not advisable to take tires off and on rims more than a few times max -- the beads deteriorate and then you have more expenses. You can find lightly used Cayenne 18" wheels with decent snow tires all over for the same price as just a new set of 19" tires. Forgo TPMS (if you have it) to save more and simply change your wheels. 18" for snow, 19" for your Southern Cal life.

Also, for a new set go to Sunset Porsche -- they have great deals. I may get a set of 18" wheels and tires from them.

PS: I just searched LA Craigslist and a lot of deals: $400 for 18" wheels and tires: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/pts/1495437991.html

$800 for 18" wheels and snow tries: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/pts/1494907317.html

Edited by odix

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Thanks for the link. When I talked to (either Rud or SCC, don't remember which), they said their tire sock wouldn't fit my size tires - not big enough. The Roof Box fitting guides for the snow socks don't show my specific tire size, so I'm led to believe my wheel/tire size is too big. The chains link says both "no fit", but the RUD Kantenspur style special 3.5mm chains (pair) no. 471-52-25 will fit the 2008 and newer facelift Cayenne (like mine). But at £339.85 plus shipping from the UK, that's a lot for something I hope not to use. Since I heard Rud made the 3.5mm chains for Porsche, I'm guessing these are the same as what Porsche sticks their name on. Interesting that the Rud folks here in the US didn't mention this product. Neither "Kantenspur" nor "471-52-25" show up when I search the Rud web site online catalog, so maybe the chains aren't US DOT approved here?!

SCC Super Z6 cable chain model number is SZ441, cost from vulcantire is $89/pair.

From what I can tell, I need S.A.E Class "S" Cable chains or link chains for vehicles with restricted clearances.

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...SCC Super Z6 cable chain model number is SZ441, cost from vulcantire is $89/pair...

If anyone is thinking about chains as well, Amazon sells the SCC Super Z6 cable chains for $85, and today they are eligible for free super saver shipping. I guess it sometimes pays to wait. Order through the RennTech Amazon store (see above under Special Offers) and help support RennTech as well

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