need advice on snow cables - Mazda 6 Forums : Mazda 6 Forum / Mazda Atenza Forum
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post #1 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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I live in California, where sometimes in the mountains they require cables in snow. Just looked in my 6 sportwagon's manual and see it says the 6 can't use cables. This sounds crazy--I've never heard of such a thing. Even my Honda S2000 can use cables.

Snow tires aren't an option for me--in California when it snows they require chains or cables for any car that isn't a 4-wheel drive, regardless of the tires. No chains and they turn you around.

What are the facts here? Is this owner's manual note just Mazda covering their asses, or is it the truth? If I use chains it would only be for very short mountain stretches at very slow (30mph and below) speeds.

Can I get away with S-cables on my 215/50/17s?
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post #2 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 04:47 PM
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I used cables on my 6 sedan for a whole season, no problems. Got me through Tahoe in the worst conditions. Don't use chains, first time I put on a set of chains I broke both of them and chewed up my fenders. They rub on the control arm or whatever it is and break after a few miles, even going slow. Not to mention, cables are a lot easier to put on.

Are you running the stock wheels or aftermarket ones? I was useing the stock 17's, so I can't comment on anything else.

PS: I loved cruising past SUVs in the ditch. Watch out, there are some horrible snow drivers out there, especially around Tahoe.
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post #3 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Glad to hear this. Yes, they are the stock 17's (215/50/17). I have the sport wagon, but I'm assuming that clearance-wise, the front of my wagon is the same as the front of your sedan.

I just picked up some s-cables at Pep Boys, got the pricier ones becuase they guy told me they are a little less fat than the cheaper version, so I'm hoping the clearance is a little better.

Do you happen to recall the brand/model of cables that worked well for you?
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post #4 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-20-2005, 11:53 PM
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Sorry, no idea. As for the thickness, I don't think cables can get thick enough to be a problem.
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post #5 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-23-2005, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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I just test fit a set of cables from Pep Boys and they don't clear. The metal closing tab on the cables brushes against the suspension at the top inside of the tire. There's barely any clearance there at all.

I'm going to try another brand cables, but wanted to ask, are your tires the 215/50/17's? Are they the stock Michelins? I just can't imagine any cables fitting with these tires.
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post #6 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-23-2005, 01:31 PM
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good questions. i read that as well and never planned on taking the 6 up to tahoe when there's snow on the road.

Aiserou - can you recall where you bought them?

toecheese - if you find the perfect one let us know the brand/model.

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post #7 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-24-2005, 03:54 AM
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Has anyone tried SnowClaws?
http://www.sportsimportsltd.com/sncltrsy.html

I can get the at local autoparts stores here. Seem good in theory... and *should* be ok with a stock 17" on the 6 I'd imagine.


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post #8 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-24-2005, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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I don't know. Those grey clips look pretty thick, and that's the area where there's a clearance problem, on the very top inside of the tire. If you put your hand back there you'll be astonished how small the gap is.

I had the metal clasp of the cables hit there, and I think that was smaller than the snow claws. But at least if the snow clasw break they won't damage anything.

I also don't know if the state troopers out here in Calif. who require chains on the roads accept the claws.
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post #9 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-29-2005, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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OK, I just tried a second set of cables from Pep Boys (these are the ones in the black box--the other ones I tried were the more expensive version in the grey box). These cables are thinner but still the clearance is just too tight.

They *might* work, but the space between the cable latch and the suspension at the the inside top of the tire is literally millimeters. It just makes me too nervous--if the cables aren't perfectly tight, or if they loosen or give then the latch will brush against the suspension and the cable latch will likely break off after a few rotations. Then who knows what--body damage, or worse the broken cables could jam the steering or the brakes.

The only alternative I can think of is to buy a set of steel wheels with snow tires that are not as wide as the stock 6 wheels. Then chains should fit OK, plus I have snow tires. It's a pain though, besides the expense I would have to change my wheels every time I head up to the mountains in winter.

I'm really hoping SOMEONE here can tell me a working cable solution (brand, store).
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post #10 of 43 (permalink) Old 11-29-2005, 11:03 PM
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Can someone explain the difference between chains and cables? (I had chains for my last car, but never could get them on dry, let alone in a pile of snow!)

'04 squall blue wagon, black leather, and all the options
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