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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?

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As it is primarily front wheel drive, then that is where you should fit the chains...

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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.

  • I had a vw golf 4 motion vr6 and chains on the front worked fine and the day I had to deal with 30cm of snow that had not been ploughed, then i put chains on all four... did not affect braking at all as most of the braking force is from the front and only changed with a balance valve according to load (that is most commonly seized anyway...) – Solar Mike Dec 5 '16 at 13:04

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