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Using Tire Chains on a 2012 Ford F-150 While Towing a Travel Trailer Through the Colorado Mountains

Question:

I would like to get chains for occassional use on a 2012 Ford F-150, 4x4, 4-door, short-bed truck. The use would be in the event the roads are snowpacked on a pass in southwest Colorado when I would like to tow a 26-foot 30 overall RV trailer to Tucson, AZ. The trailer is a North Trail 26LRS My questions are: 1. Would the part # PW2028C be a good choice for this type of use on that vehicle? 2. Would chains for all four wheels be required? 3. If chains would be necessary for only one truck axle, should it be the front or back? 4. Should I also plan to chain the tires on the trailer for braking control? 5. If the trailer needs chains, do I need them for one or both axles? 6. If for only one axle, is one better than the other? Both axles have brakes.

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Helpful Expert Reply:

Cables like # PW2028C provide little traction compared to actual chains. Given that you will be in the mountains and towing a big trailer with your 2012 Ford F-150, I recommend going with actual chains.

You can put chains on all 4-Wheels of a 4-Wheel drive vehicle but really you only need them on the main drive wheels which on trucks is usually the rear tires. Having chains on all 4 tires would provide even more traction, especially when turning.

You will not need chains on the trailer tires. What you will want to do is adjust the brake controller to provide just enough braking so the tires will not skid. Aggressive trailer braking would have the same result as aggressive vehicle braking when in snow and ice, you will just slide forward and probably jackknife the trailer.

I would need to know the tire size on your truck to make the best recommendation for you. The best chains are going to be square-links because they offer the most traction. They also last a long time and some can even be flipped over after wearing down and its like a whole new set of chains. I have included a link to our FAQ article on tire chains for you.

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