Winter Tires / chains / Socks

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by DITTRICH, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. DITTRICH

    DITTRICH Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I am considering a jaunt to Switzerland in late October with Mrs D.
    I don't ski and am not considering extended driving on snow and ice.

    I currently have "ordinary tires" fitted to the c230k and don't really want to shell out for another set of wheels and tires for what is essentially a 6 day holiday. In the UK I have never needed winter tires. Only needed a shovel to get out of a car park once.
    Chains would appear to be the best option for me using my existing tires?

    Q: late October Switzerland Doesn't seem to have huge quantities of snow and ice. Is this view correct?
    Q: do chains have to be fitted to be fitted to all 4 wheels? or just the rear wheels?
    Q: how do chains affect the handling of the front tires if fitted (braking and/or turning?
    Q: presumably chains must be immeidately removed on return to tarmac?

    Please be gentle with the comments!
     
  2. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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    In your circumstances I'd simply buy a pair of snow socks and fit them to the rear.

    Snow socks are now an approved alternative to chains in most countries in Europe and much simpler to use than chains, not to mention a lot less of a risk if you fit them incorrectly. Like chains though, they should be removed sharpish once on tarmac.

    The alternate option is the new true 4 season tyres should you be nearing replacement on your car currently. I'm uber impressed with mine.
     
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  3. st13phil

    st13phil MB Club Veteran

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    I doubt you'll run into trouble in October, but check with the regions you'll be driving in to make sure that winter tyres aren't mandatory at that time of year. Many alpine regions require them from 1st November through to mid-April, but there may be exceptions.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    DITTRICH

    DITTRICH Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    @st13phil: the aa says winter tires aren't mandatory in switzerland but chains are mandatory. Germany requires all season or winter tires for wintry conditions at any time of the year. I'll do some more digging as the aa aren't always 100%.
    @Spike: socks on the rear wheels: as the difference in price between socks and chains isn't that much, and chains seem harder wearing than socks, I'd ben thinking of chains. I'll have a read up on socks though to compare.
     
  5. Stratman

    Stratman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Socks are much easier and cleaner than chains to put on and take off. They both should be used only on snow or ice, tarmac will destroy them in next to no time. 30 mph should be your absolute maximum and as MBs are RWD, unless you fit two sets :)dk:) your braking and steering will be reduced by about 90% on the front wheels.

    I have chains in the loft and socks in the boot, but recently replaced my worn rear tyres with 4 seasons (Bridgestone A001) and will do the same with the fronts when the time comes.
     
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  6. Sp!ke

    Sp!ke Administrator Staff Member

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  7. GP801

    GP801 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Chains much harder wearing than socks. Only needed on driven wheels. Limited to 40km/hr usually - very, very slow.
    I changed the 124 onto all season tyres to comply with the rules here in italy to avoid using chains.
     
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  8. st13phil

    st13phil MB Club Veteran

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    As a point of reference, check what the AA say about the Dolomites. I've just spent a week driving there on roads with signs mandating winter tyres from 1/11 to 15/4 annually. In Tuscany they mandate chains in snow or ice.
     
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  9. borislucy

    borislucy New Member

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    I have driven across Europe during harsh Winters, through Alps and also over to the Czech Republic. I started off with snow socks. They are cheap, easily fit over drive wheels only and most importantly work very, very well. The problem with them are two fold. 1) they wear out very quickly on tarmac. If you are going through areas of sporadic snow/ice i.e up and down hills you will be forever taking them on and off. 2) You are limited on speed, if you go a bit quick they are noisy. Finally whilst I say you stick them on drive wheels only, that is fine on front wheel drive, on rear wheel you are encouraged to fit them to all four corners.

    I never saw much sense in buying winter tyres until a couple of years back when I was doing a lot of cold miles. They are fantastic in cold weather, ice and snow. I went down a hill with police escort in Czech with summer tyres on. (I got caught out with a serious snow storm) Any how most frightening experience of my life, car like a tobogan went from 1mph to 15mph just like that. Taken to a garage where I changed my pants and the tyres for winter ones, and hammered it on the same road back home with a great happy smile on my face. Below 7 degrees the winter tyres work well so it does not have to be snowy. Now I just stick them on when the mercury drops and forget about them. Many Europeans do it with good reason. Enjoy your trip....
     
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