/ snow chains for ford focus mk1

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gethin_allen on 03 Dec 2012
With my sights set on the hills in winter I've been considering getting some snow chains to give myself a fighting chance of getting around.

According to ford my Mk1 focus zetec 1.6 with 195/60/15 tyres on it (as standard) won't take snow chains because of a lack of clearance between the tyre and suspension struts.
Before I'd read this I had bought some chains and tried fitting them and found this out the hard way.

What's the best option price V performance? snow socks, expensive chains that don't go around the back of the tyre, winter tyres, or alternatively has anyone made their own chains?


CarolineMc - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen: Hmmm that's interesting as I've just bought some chains for my Focus Zetec Mk1 195/60/15. (Lidl 20 - bought more as a get-out-of-jail-free card than for heavy use).

I'm going to go and try them now, as you've said that. If they work I'll let you know. If not, I guess I'll have a pair of brand new chains for sale...

Co:
gethin_allen on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to CarolineMc:
The ones I got were official ford chains and were a bit chunkier than those I saw for sale in lidl and I did look at them wondering if they would be any better.
If they are fine I'll try and get a pair from Lidl on my way home tonight, although, they may have sold out by now as that deal has been on for a week now I think.
Toby_W on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen: I thought the ones in lidl looked great but they were a bit light. But for 20 quid as a get out of jail I'm tempted, shame it's not one size fits all as certain car hire companies charge more than that to hire them or even a daily charge.

Cheers

Toby
LastBoyScout on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:

Hmm - never heard that before.

I've got a Mk1 Focus estate, same size tyres. I got given a mate's spare snowchains and they're a little big, but seem to fit ok with a bit of tweaking.

I've not tried them in anger yet.
jkarran - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:

1/4" wheel spacers?
jk
gethin_allen on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to gethin_allen)
>
> 1/4" wheel spacers?

I was thinking this, but it would probably invalidate my insurance so I'd rather not if I could sort it out otherwise.
gethin_allen on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to LastBoyScout:
In reply to gethin_allen:

Hmm - never heard that before.

It's in the user manual.
CarolineMc - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen: Just been out in a hailstorm (for added authenticity) to see what these chains are like. To be honest they seem to sit fine inside the struts and various bits behind the wheel. I had a bit of a feel around and there didn't seem to be any impingement on thing inside the wheel arch or behind the wheel. [Disclaimer - I have no mechanical knowledge whatsoever and this comment is wholly based on just fiddling around to see if they might catch somewhere, and I may or may not have found where they may or may not catch. I will not be held responsible for any structural / mechanical damage caused if they catch on your car!!!]

So I'm going to go for it, figuring that they will probably be fine to get me out of trouble over short distances, in the way that snow socks would.

Hope that helps?!

A couple of other things...
- the chain links are quite small and fit tight against the wheel with little give. Seem pretty secure and I'm quite happy with them.
- they're a tiny bit small for the wheel - the tensioner doesn't quite reach across the hub, but the kit comes with a couple of extra chainlinks and instructions for this situation so I might add a couple of links in. Then the strap bit can reach right across - at the mo it goes diagonally.
- they seem to be no less faff to put on than any others I've tried - coloured bits are really very helpful!
- the gloves are sh!t - get some gardening gloves and put them in the kit instead. And keep an old jacket in the car - wheel arches are dirty, it seems!!
- teach your co pilot how to put them on too so you can do one each when the time comes, that way you won't die from hypothermia or starvation before you get them on!

Seriously, they're not bad at all and for 20 they're worth a punt. Practice putting them on though...!!

Co:

Toby_W on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to CarolineMc:

One last VERY important piece of advice.

When returning from an ice climbing trip and lying under the car in France putting on and removing snow chains do not have your passport in the (un-zipped) inside pocket of your jacket. This may lead to a nasty shock upon arrival at the airport.

Cheers

Toby
gethin_allen on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to CarolineMc:
Thanks very much for the info, I went out and got some onthe way to the supermarket, the chain does seem lighter than the others I had so fingers crossed.
Ben Sharp - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen: I've got the mk1 focus estate and came across the same info in the manual a couple of years ago. There looks to be plenty clearance so provided you aren't bottoming out your suspension I think it would be ok and probably just ford covering themselves.

Having said that I bought smaller rims (which the manual says can take snow chains) and winter tyres and have yet to need to put the chains on. Winter tyres are definitely a better option, no trouble getting up to the coire cas ski car park last week before the plow, despite all the stuck cars! If you just have chains then apart from all the faffing in the cold you only get the benefit for about 5 mins and then you're back to your slidy summer tyres. Winter tyres keep working all the way back home, which was useful on Sunday as I zoomed passed a volvo that was skidding around at 30mph about 5 miles from my home.
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Andrew Wilson - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to gethin_allen:
I used 20 snow chains on my mondeo to drive through the forest to the deer fence on the approach to Ben Nevis. We got about 3/4 of the way but they were trashed by the uneven ground. As soon as I lost traction on loose hardcore the chains were being snapped. After a bit of back and forth trying to get going we realised there was only a couple of strands of chain left intact so we decided to ditch the car since the remaining chain would be essential for negotiating the way back out of the forest! 3 days later when we returned from the ben most of the snow had thawed but the moral is to not get into a situation that you can't get back out of (sounds familiar!)
I use snow tyres now after a trip to Norway showed me how good they are.

Andy

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