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Discussion Starter #1
I’m looking at getting either 18” or 17” wheels. My B6 wagon is not lowered. Do chains fit well on 18’s without scratching the wheels? What about 17’s? I have to use chains literally two or three days a year at the most and normally for short distances getting in or out of the mountains when I’m hiking. Snow tires and wheels would be great if I actually had to deal with snow regularly.
Thanks in advance,
Scott
 

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If you need to have chains then you probably have a lot of snow. Thus, a 16" wheel would be your best bet. For winter traction you won't the skinniest tire possible. The thicker the tire the more the tire will be on top of the snow instead of digging underneath. The same philosphy goes for chains.
 

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Well, like he said, it's only necessary 2-3 days per year, with probably only a couple of more snow days. Either get a cheap set of 15/16" steelies and snow tires to swap on for these few days, or just rent a car...
 

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If this is for the chain restrictions in CA your best bet is to try a set of cable chains on the tires/wheels first to see that they don't contact the wheels.
If that solution doesn't work then like Troy mentioned get a couple of cheap 15"-16" wheels and mount tires on them. Install before you go to the mountains and mount the chains on those when you run into the chain up areas.
 

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Sounds like a lot of extra work having a set just to go into the mountains with, why do that?

I'd go with 17s, and a decent set of cable chains, maybe even some rubber hose split and slid over the cables around the wheels to protect them from any chance of scratching.

I don't understand why a thread has to go so many different directions when it was a simple question...
 

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vw recommends a max width of 205mm for tires when using chains plus the "s-class" or better clearance

best bets are stuff like Spikes spider, Thule k-summit, etc

example: spikes spider sport laid onto my summer wheels (18" with 235/40r18).... still need to put on the hubs for my winters (running 235/45r17 hankook icebear w300)

 

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Discussion Starter #9
1. Thanks for all the ideas folks. 1.8twagen and Dark_Helmet I’m going to look into your ideas. dougmcp I have not run into the chain restrictions yet, but I have run into CALTRANS requiring chains to be used, with police enforcement on roads that are barely wet let alone ice / snow covered. Waiting around for half a day or more for CALTRANS to realize their crazy is not too much fun. That’s why I’m looking into back up chains, cables, etc…
 
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