On a car with AWD like the Honda Element that automatically engages drive power on the rear wheels as needed when the front wheels slip, should I install chains (a) on the front wheels only or (b) on all four tires in snowy/icy conditions?
Unless your owners manual states otherwise I would go chains/cables on all four wheels. If you install chains/cables on only the front, it could cause a brake inbalance front to rear due to the added diameter of the chains/cables. The increased traction of chains/cables on the front will not help with rear braking or turning traction. I would use the cable type traction aids over traditional chains. In my experience the cable type do better on front wheels. This maybe due to the fact that front wheels are both turning and driving.