Thank you Audi manual authors

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I'm heading up to Lake Tahoe for the weekend and Highway 80 often has chain restrictions, so I went looking for chains for my 2001 S4. Unfortunately, the trip was last minute and so is my chain shopping.

Here's what the Audi owner's manual has to say:

Snow chains must not be used on the tires with 71/2J x 17 rims. See page 232 for details.

If you want to mount snow chains on your vehicle, consult your Audi Dealer for proper rim/tire combination.

Snow chains can be used on the front wheels only.

[4 more paragraphs on how to use snow chains deleted]

Now, I have no idea what kind of rims I have, so I turn to page 232. Unfortunately, page 232 is entirely about spare tires and doesn't say anything about 71/2Jx17.

Now, you can definitely get chains for my 225/45 R17 tires, but I'm paranoid so I call Audi to be sure. They look at the manual, which appears to have been translated from German. The customer service rep informs me that the 2001 S4 only comes with one kind of rim, which, you guessed it, is 71/2Jx17. Moreover, they discourage you from using chains with any kind of sport tire (which I have). So, basically, the answer is "no", though apparently it requires some kind of automotive expert to work that out for yourself, especially in view of the fact that Audi tells you how to use them with rims you almost certainly don't have.

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4 Comments

When I bought my 2000 A4, the dealer made me sign a "Tire Chain Restriction Disclosure" which said (caps and bold in original):

VEHICLE MAY NOT BE OPERATED WITH TIRE CHAINS BUT MAY ACCOMMODATE SOME OTHER TYPE OF TIRE TRACTION DEVICE. PLEASE REFER TO THE OWNERS MANUAL.

Apparently someone sued them once over damage to their car from use of chains. Of course there's nothing in the manual telling what the "other type of tire traction device" is except for winter tires.

It's really weird how many vehicles say "no chains" these days.

My mazda does as well.

These style of devices may work: I know saturn recommended them a few years back on the SC2/SL2 which didn't have the clearance for chains:
http://www.spikes-spiders.com/

The other alternative, in this case, is to get snow tires, since my S4 has 4WD..

If you have AWD, yeah, just get snow-rated tires and be done with it.

You don't even really need "snow only" tires, just winter rated tires which are just about all BUT high performance sport tires. Me, my car is FWD, so I have to care about this.

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