Heavy duty trucks and chains requirements

ccw

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2022 F-350 Tremor 7.3L
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Hey folks!

I live in Washington state and am on the verge of ordering a new Tremor (will be a 2022 Lariat Ultimate most likely) for personal use - not commercial. This will be my first heavy duty truck, current one is an F-150. I’m currently planning on an F-350 to get the extra payload capacity, because why not, but looking at chains laws I’m now questioning that or may need to get the 10,000 pound GVWR package. Not fun.

In winter I regularly drive into the highway passes to go skiing and one of the things I love, having good tires and 4WD, is not having to chain up; however, looking at the laws for WA any vehicle with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds (note: not actual weight) is required to chain up when chains are required, regardless of having 4WD.

Looking at the laws for California, just to get some additional context, it appears any passenger vehicle heaver than 6500 pounds doesn’t get the chain up exception. I believe all heavy duty trucks are heavier than that.

Folks who own or have owned 4x4 heavy duty trucks before, with their higher weights and GVWRs:
1. Do you chain up with all the 2WD folks?
2. Is this something that, while it may technically be a law, isn’t ever enforced unless towing or carrying an obviously large load; therefore I’m worrying over nothing?
3. Have you ever been pulled over, ticketed, and/or turned around for not being chained up when 4x4 half tons would be exempted?

WA law: https://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=204-24-050
CA law: https://dot.ca.gov/travel/winter-driving-tips/chain-controls

Thanks!
 
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I have been on the same mountain pass during different times. In one case they made me chain up, in another they let me through without chains while turning around others. Generally speaking, I don't think you'll get the ticket unless maybe you've ended up sliding off the road and end up stuck.

You might find some info on this thread:
 
Thanks for the info! That’s good to know it’s not every time. Probably means if it’s barely into the chain-up requirements they won’t force you.

And also makes sense about not getting a ticket unless something has happened.

Hmm. Might still go with 350, then. I really like the idea of having the extra legal payload overhead.

And that’s actually the thread that got me thinking about chain-up laws! I think someone in there mentioned it, so I started digging into it.
 
I make many trips over I-90 pass during chains required, I have full sets of chains, have yet to install them for the pass. Yes, we are supposed to chain up as we are over 10k GVW, but I have driven by the WSP without any issues. Don't drive like an ass hat and you will be fine. ( don't get in a wreck) If I was to feel unsafe, or was pulling a trailer, I would throw them on.
I'm sure legal Nancy will chime in with something on this soon. :poop:
Can we get a middle finger added to the emojis for f@ck sakes!
 
Thanks for the extra context! Good to know you've literally driven past WSP during chains required without chains and haven't had any issues.

The more I think about it/research it, the law does seem like a tool for folks towing or with a legitimately large load, or something for cops to use when throwing the book at someone for over-driving conditions.

Will continue thinking it through with my last few decisions I'm making about the truck before ordering, but now back to leaning strongly towards F-350.
 
Life Rule #1: You can never have too much truck.

Used to drive over Snocrummie Pass A Lot BITD. Never have put on chains. Went over it on a nasty day 16 months ago - pissing down and near freezing so sleet possible. Could not believe all the asshats wizzing by. One in a Suburban went by at a good 80. Just over the summit there he was nose first into the center divider. I honked and waved. Darwin Roolz!
 
I generally agree with that life rule! Especially when I realized I was basically maxing out the payload in my F-150 going up skiing with 4 other people.

That’s crazy. Glad they didn’t take anyone else out, just their own ego. I’ve driven the Coquihalla (in BC) in winter over many years and also seen lots of people wildly over-driving conditions.
 
I have never had someone question my GVWR in Washington ( lived there 22 years) or only other state for the matter. If you get in a wreck on Snoqualmie pass the answer is I am under weight. I don’t think they will weigh your wreckage. Hopefully they have better things to do.
 
Speaking for California only... I have lived here in the Sierra mountains most of my adult life. Where I currently live is exactly 3/4 mile from the chain check area... for trucks. You ought to see the line up of parked trucks each storm waiting for chain controls to lift.
That said, while I have always carried my chains, I have never ever been asked to see them. I have never used them. Generally speaking, when it's bad enough that they start requiring chains on vehicles with 4wd and snow tires too, they will just close the roads. To reiterate, I have never been asked to see my chains and never told to put them on. I have been in some bad weather too. I have cousins in Truckee and Reno. My daughter is at UNR. So, I see some snow driving. YMMV and this is not WA>
 
Good to know! Appreciate the context from California. Totally understand it’s not Washington, but still gives context for how police generally approach this. And it seems to be they don’t care, potentially outside of driving like an idiot or getting in an accident, both of which I don’t intend to do. ?

My experience has been the same here in Washington, where they usually shut down the roads and skip over requiring chains for 4WD. But that’s why I created the thread: I’m concerned about being forced to chain up with all of the 2WD folks when lighter, or lower GVWR as it is here in WA, 4WD vehicles can carry on without chaining up. Having to chain up like a 2WD vehicle is a serious pain and would change my buying decision.
 
In my experience as soon as your seen to be in a stout Ford 4x4 with good tires, you're immediately recognized as being among the prepared and able, and are waved on through. Like soulezoo, most of my experience has been in the Sierra's.
 
Awesome! Ok, given all the responses I’m going to stick with my plan to get an F-350 and enjoy the extra legal payload.

Thanks, all! Super stoked to get my order in when I’m able to.
 
OP, even if your original concerns were still an issue, wouldn't it just make more sense to buy a set of chains than change the truck you're planning to buy?
 
Hey folks!

I live in Washington state and am on the verge of ordering a new Tremor (will be a 2022 Lariat Ultimate most likely) for personal use - not commercial. This will be my first heavy duty truck, current one is an F-150. I’m currently planning on an F-350 to get the extra payload capacity, because why not, but looking at chains laws I’m now questioning that or may need to get the 10,000 pound GVWR package. Not fun.

In winter I regularly drive into the highway passes to go skiing and one of the things I love, having good tires and 4WD, is not having to chain up; however, looking at the laws for WA any vehicle with a GVWR over 10,000 pounds (note: not actual weight) is required to chain up when chains are required, regardless of having 4WD.

Looking at the laws for California, just to get some additional context, it appears any passenger vehicle heaver than 6500 pounds doesn’t get the chain up exception. I believe all heavy duty trucks are heavier than that.

Folks who own or have owned 4x4 heavy duty trucks before, with their higher weights and GVWRs:
1. Do you chain up with all the 2WD folks?
2. Is this something that, while it may technically be a law, isn’t ever enforced unless towing or carrying an obviously large load; therefore I’m worrying over nothing?
3. Have you ever been pulled over, ticketed, and/or turned around for not being chained up when 4x4 half tons would be exempted?

WA law: https://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=204-24-050
CA law: https://dot.ca.gov/travel/winter-driving-tips/chain-controls

Thanks!
California ... I do not chain up, and have not been stopped, or turned away... yet. I was unaware of the 6500# law. Most of signs around these parts state unless you have 4wd and snow tires.. I say get the 350 you won’t regret it.
 
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OP, even if your original concerns were still an issue, wouldn't it just make more sense to buy a set of chains than change the truck you're planning to buy?

I intend to buy and carry chains regardless. Both because it’s smart should conditions actually be bad enough to dictate using them, and because it’s required by law to carry them in any chains required conditions, even if you aren’t required to put them on your specific vehicle.

Changing the vehicle would be to avoid having to actually chain up at the lower chains requirement - for most personal vehicles dictated by 2WD and/or summer tires. That happens relatively frequently and I’ve greatly enjoyed being able to avoid that hassle with my current truck. It’s messy, time consuming, and arguably a bit unsafe (pulled over on the side of the road, even widened, with vehicles entering and leaving) to put on chains, and I’m investing a great deal in 4x4, good tires, and practicing my own driving to continue to avoid that hassle. That’s the same investment I made in my current truck.

If continuing to avoid that hassle requires me to get a smaller number (GVWR) on the sticker, that would be worth it. I can generally get away with the lower payload capacity in my usage, I just prefer to have the extra overhead so I don’t have to think about it.

However, it doesn’t sound like I need to change the sticker to avoid the hassle the vast, vast majority of the time.

For context, during normal winters (this last one notwithstanding thanks to COVID), I go up skiing at least once almost every weekend, as well as a potential of two additional trips over the mountain passes around Christmas to see family. So plenty of opportunities to hit the “Chains Required“ status that I currently can ignore (other than adjusting my driving accordingly).
 
California ... I do not chain up, and have not been stopped, or turned away... yet. I was unaware of the 6500# law. Most of signs around these parts state unless you have 4wd and snow tires.. I say get the 350 you won’t regret it.
More good evidence to not worry about it. Thanks!

Agreed that they seem focused on 4x4/AWD and winter tires, and so they should be.

I particularly disagree with the law in WA being based on GVWR. Means that two otherwise identical trucks would be treated differently because of a different sticker. That makes no sense since they’re both just as capable/not capable in the conditions, given the same driver.

While I would quibble over the weight limit in CA being too low, I fully agree with it being based on actual vehicle weight.
 
While I’m nitpicking laws: the laws don’t actually require winter tires. They only require M+S, which are all season tires. The mountain snowflake symbol indicates an actual winter tire but is only recommended, not required - at least everywhere I’ve researched, outside of Quebec.
 
Just to add what I posted above, the last 18 years has been in a Ram 3500 dressing out at 7800 lbs unloaded. I, too, was unaware of a GVW rule of 6500# in CA when it came to chains.
Again, I have never been bothered in either CA or NV.
 
Sidebar time, what tired do you run in snow/winter conditions on the F250/350 that make you happy.

We have a 19Raptor and just gor dumped on over 30 inshes of snow and the stock BFG K02's stunk and have been less than impressed with them on icy/snowy roads (just tin coating, not any snow depth)
 
The Falken wild peak AT3W in 12.5x35-18. 3 snowflake rated and F load range. 55k mile warranty. Great tire.

The stock Duratracs do pretty good in the snow as well.
 
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