Can cable type snow chains be used on a Subaru Outback?
NO, you cannot do this, it's in the owner's manual. But, I have seen people use this, see photo.
Call your dealership and find out what they're called... I don't live in the snow, but saw this in the local mountains.
Hopefully, my answer above will help you figure out what you need.
One of my neighbors has Subarus and runs Spikes Spyder on those vehicles, they are expensive and you have to pay very close attention to the way they are hooked up, but they said that they have plowed snow up too 2 feet to get to the cabin they own up in the mountains. I believe there is a video of Spikes Spyer on you tube.
Use whatever fits...it's that easy. Just ensure that you keep the rolling radii equal by treating all four corners identically. In my 33 years setting up Subies in the snowbelt I've NEVER had to go past good snows for any client. Current faves include the Mich X-Ice3, new Conti SI and the various Blizzaks and (pricey) Nokias for high speed use, as well a variety of Dunlops, Altimax, etc., for louder but possibly better grip in the deep stuff.
Mark you are just flat wrong. Yes you can use cables as long as they are the super low clearance type. Cable manufacturers rate their cables by clearance standards so all you have to do is buy the correct type for your Subaru. Many states like California will REQUIRE you to carry cables or chains in snowy areas.
For the Forester Subaru recommends using type S cables on the front only. You guys need to read "driving tips" in a Subaru manual. I suspect that the Outback has the same exact requirements.
Ernie - like you I was concerned about the rolling radius of the tires and the fact that Subaru only recommends cables on the front tires but I think in low traction conditions the back tires can slip a bit and avoid any damage to the transfer case. That said I have never needed to use cables on my Subaru's but carry them due to the legal requirements. Mark should give advice on things he knows about.
FoR: yes, in very low friction situations running non-identical front and rear rolling radii is ok for short distances at very low speeds, but in the dry or on the highway it'll eat up the AWD transfer case quickly. I also wonder if ANY size chain or strap can fit on low-clearance Leg Sedans and all Imps, and are relegated only to taller OBs, CTs and Foresters? Again, I've NEVER been stuck with any Subie, and routinely use OBs and Legs to initially plow the deeper stuff with just decent all-season shoes. Only a couple of times did I get stuck on TOP of a snowpile anbd had to friends sit in the car to mash it down to regain traction. Shouldve taken a pic.... When a client rarely asks for a dedicated snow/ice setup I grab the best deal in the required size among the Mich X-Ice, Blizzak WS80 and newest Conti SI offerings for excellent all-around winter use. Beyond that I'd recommend a pure studdable (noisy) offering before resorting to add-on crutches.
If Subaru makes cars that cannot use cables then they will be useless and essentially illegal to drive in snowy areas in some states. If they have lost sight of the fact that people buy Subies because of their snow capability then they deserve what will happen. It is not like people buy Subaru's for any other reason.
Looking for a Used Outback in your area?
CarGurus has 584 nationwide Outback listings starting at $2,495.
Search Subaru Outback Questions
Subaru Outback Experts