Snow socks or chains

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by @MARK, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. @MARK

    @MARK Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    So I have decided that I am not prepared to pay several hundred pounds for winter tyres and wheels this year on the grounds that if the weather is really that bad that normal tyres won't get me there then I will just stay and work from home (because I can). Of course if I can lay my hands on a set of winter wheels and tyres cheap enough I may just buy them anyway.

    In the meantime I will do what everybody should do when the weather turns cold and miserable. Slow Down!

    But on the off chance of getting caught out when trying to get back home having a set of snow socks (which have some really great reviews) seems a good idea.

    But upon looking around, it would appear that whilst snow socks are indeed highly rated, a set of snow CHAINS may well be cheaper and will probably not fall apart after a couple of uses.

    So what does everybody think?

    Can anybody give me a reason for buying snow socks over snow chains remembering that this is only for if I get stuck trying to get home.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  2. DogWagen

    DogWagen Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Got caught on way home in the snow last December - the chains took all of 5 mins to put on and got me safely up and down a steep, ice covered untreated road. They also worked on a 35km descent from a ski resort on compacted snow with summer tyres. If you keep the speed right down and remove them as soon as you hit tarmac again, you'll be fine. Top tip is to practice putting them on before you actually have to use them in anger.
     
  3. Silver CL55

    Silver CL55 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I bought socks for my 19" rears last year as I could not get snow tyres (I left it too late) and whilst they were really amazing in snow, when they encountered slush they became waterlogged and just spun off at about 30 mph, meaning I had to stop and run back to retreive them, not ideal in the conditions.

    So better than nothing but I'd say stick to 20mph only in mixed conditions.

    They will get you out of jail for sure but not recomended for long journeys.

    Good luck, Colin.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  4. rf065

    rf065 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Personally, I would not look forward to grappling under the wheel arches in snow or ice and freezing temps, or taking them on and off when you reach cleared or uncleared roads.

    You cannot beat a set of spare wheels and winter tyres, forget the weather forecasts, snow covered roads are no longer a problem. Look at Scandanavia and Europe in the winter, everyone just goes about their business, none of the mayhem that we in the UK suffer because everyone is still on summer tyres when it snows.

    Russ
     
  5. raymont

    raymont Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I guess the economics depend on how long you keep the car and mileage.

    If you rack up lots of miles winter tyres don’t cost much , if at all, more than staying on summer tyres. When you’re wearing out your winter tyres your summer are tyres are not being worn out.
    I tend to keep a car I like for a good few years and have worn out one set of winter tyres and about 1.75 sets of summer tyres. Winter tyres have cost me very little, if anything, extra.
    I’ve got a second set of wheels which I got for an excellent price; new wheels (MB) and new summer tyres for about the price of the tyres from ebay.de.

    Last two winter journeys to Bavaria would not have been possible on summer tyres.
     
  6. DogWagen

    DogWagen Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I should add that I've now got winter wheets/tyres:)
     
  7. OP
    OP
    @MARK

    @MARK Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Even with winter tyres, there is still a very good chance of getting stuck in snow so the same question still applies. In those countries where there is compacted snow on the ground, snow chains are still a mandatory requirement.

    I do find it surprising in all the conversations I have seen regarding winter tyres that people seem to think they have magical qualities. They are winter tyres and not snow tyres and you soon reach a point no matter what types of tyres you have on your car where traction ends. Indeed I believe real snow tyres have studs in them,

    As I said, this is about having something in the boot so that IF I find myself in a situation like last year where we had several inches of snow in a few hours and I am still trying to get home, I don't get stranded.

    I know that the socks are not designed to run on tarmac in the same way that chains aren't. They are designed to get you off the snow and back onto the slushy tarmac at which point you take them off again. All of this regardless of the type of tyre.
     
  8. raymont

    raymont Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    To think of winter tyres as only a means of not getting stuck is to miss the point of winter tyres. I want my car to start, stop and corner. The stopping and cornering are probably more import than the starting. After all, if can't get started I won't have an accident, if I can't stop or steer........Chains / socks will certainly help to stop you being stuck, but once you're out of the snow you were stuck in you'll probably still have cold weather, some snow and slush to deal with and that need to steer and stop.

    Winter tyres are not all about snow; they are about better performance in low temperatures. Are they worth it in the UK? depends on the individual and his / her driving habits and requirements. My elderly mother drives about 2k miles a year and will just not drive in bad conditions. She would not benefit greatly from winter tyres. I, on the other hand, do benefit as winter tyres let me make journeys I need to make and would otherwise not feel safe undertaking.
     
  9. LTD

    LTD MB Club Veteran

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    Yep, one of THOSE !!!
    Snow tyres would be my choice - socks are 'emergency options' IMO. Lot of cash for something that will probably end up lost or wrecked after one winter. Tyres will be good for each winter until they wear out.
     
  10. jaymanek

    jaymanek Authorised Forum Sponsor Authorised Forum Sponsor

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    Socks are much easier to use in the snow... I broke two sets of chains trying to use them in France - and yes I had practised at home before hand..

    Just go to any ski resort and you will see Socks are massively favoured over chains now.
     
  11. rf065

    rf065 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    They are actually "cold weather tyres" and were primarily designed because more & more places are banning the use of studded tyres because of the damage they do to the roads. Therefore the tyre manufacturers had to come up with an alternative. Due to the new rubber compounds etc, they actually work better than what we previously called "snow" tyres, but not just in snow either.

    Anyone who doubts their capabilities should really watch my CLK pull away from the lights and leave a 4x4 BMW struggling in 6" snow whereas the CLK did not even light up the traction control. After that, who wants to mess about with chains and socks?

    Russ
     
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  12. OP
    OP
    @MARK

    @MARK Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    This is my question

    I am not asking about the merits of tyres here. I am looking for something to have in the boot so that regardless of what tyres I have on the car, if I get stuck in snow, I can get unstuck.

    As you state, I am looking at what is the best emergency solution. Socks or Chains?
     
  13. rf065

    rf065 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Get winter tyres ands you won't have an emergency, that was my point.
    No one believes how good they are until they try them.

    Russ
     
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  14. DogWagen

    DogWagen Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    To answer your question directly, have a look at this website...
    Snow Socks, Snow Chains, Tyre Socks from SnowChainsandSocks.co.uk - Free Next Day Delivery
    it looks like socks are slightly more expensive (£50 v £40), have a longer warranty and do the same job - apart from the question of whether they're legal in the Alps...and even that might not be the case based on what Jaymanek's experience!

    So the difference comes down to £10 for simplicity to fit in the cold? I have to admit that it sounds worth it even though I've not used 'em!

    Hope that helps,

    Mike
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  15. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    Tut Tut... you really shouldnt do that. ;)
     
  16. Olivier

    Olivier Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    the socks took me to places I could never have dreamed off without.
    The bugger is when on the salted/ slush/ melted snow road, you need to drive really slow as said previously as they do wear off and struggle on it.
    But defo the socks I got are amazing in gripping.
    You might want a little "bucket" to store them once you used them if you want to keep the car clean, as they do get really dirty and full of slush once not needed.
    Olivier
     
  17. nick mercedes

    nick mercedes MB Club Veteran

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  18. OP
    OP
    @MARK

    @MARK Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Yes

    Getting a 4x4 to keep in the garage for when the snow comes is clearly cheaper than a set of winter wheels however I have to get home first.
     
  19. Dryce

    Dryce MB Club Veteran

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    I'm trying to think how many winters I've experienced that have been bad over the last half century.

    Answer: not many

    How many days on those winters that have actually been bad enough to justify snow tyres.

    Answer: not many

    And on those days where snow and ice has been a major problem how many of those a occasions has the real problem with making progress been other traffic.

    Answer: since the late seventies - the majority

    Now my perspective is based on mainly suburban and urban living these days. People living out in the country will have a different set of answers to the last two.

    The mantra tsince last winter seems to be that winter tyres are some sort "you're an idiot if you don't" solution.

    I think that in the UK the case is unproven - our winter temperatures are typically high. And around any conurbation things get so snarled in snow that any vehicle can get stuck for hours if conditions get bad.

    What the last two winters have done is made me think about coughing up for some chains or snow socks - just in case.
     
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  20. OP
    OP
    @MARK

    @MARK Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    It would appear I am not alone in my thinking :thumb:
     
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