In my experience I think most rental firms prohibit the use of snow chains on their vehicles.
Some rental companies just say you void the insurance if you use chains and cause damage.
But it's unlikely that you'll need tire chains. Pop over to the Yosemite NP forum page for more details (and several articles in the Top Questions about tire chains, trip reports, and more.)
Suggest to rent the car already from Australia and have all insurances included. Maybe try www.traveljigsaw.com.au
When in October? Early October there might be a short day snow storm (We've seen them - sunny 70 degrees one day, snowy the next). However usually it returns to nice weather, and since there is no build up of snow on any of the roads yet, snow chains are rarely needed. The roads are quickly very clearly and no snow chains are needed.
If later in October (3rd week on) you might have a couple of days of snow in a row but generally not. We often go late October/early November and the road is as dry and clear as in the summer.
In short, Tioga Pass is usually open. Lower level entrances like Oakhurst (popular from LA area) is usually open...and worse case check your weather forecast and alter your plans accordingly to not drive during a short fall snow storm.
I would not invest in snow chains - but first check the 10 day weather forecast while in LA. Adjust so you do not drive during a short snow storm.....and wait a few hours...
The roads should be clear shortly. If its a strange year and we have a week of snow in October (amazing if we got it but we do need it) then weigh your decision then.
Have a good trip.
We did run into a snow storm last October - beautiful day, had dinner, and found ourselves in a snow storm after dinner. Next day beautiful sun.
Go figure - but in October this is one of those "maybe yes - probabaly no" to snow chain dilemman.
Have a good trip.Edited: 07 April 2014, 18:44
Driving via 395 and over Tioga pass is awesome but not shortest route from LA.
Were heading into Yosemite late October, sounds like its up to the gods if we are to use chains or not? Either way were on vacation :) We are coming from a place were it rarely rains and never snows so I'm sure we will enjoy the experience either way.
I agree VERY different from Karratha! Have a great trip.
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