Winter Tyres, Snowchains and Snowsocks -- overkill?

Discussion in 'Wheels, Tyres, Brakes & Suspension' started by SimonsMerc, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. SimonsMerc

    SimonsMerc MB Enthusiast

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    We're going skiing twice this season, one of them in mid-February when the snow can be quite severe. Last year we went in a LandRover Discovery, which was on all terrain tyres (General Grabber AT, they have a snowflake on the side), and it was superb. The driving conditions were really tough -- at one point cars on winter tyres were being abandoned at the side of the road, but on the Disco I just flipped it to Snow mode, raised the suspension to off-road height, enabled the low ratio gearbox, and kept on going. I had chains also, but never had a need to put them on. I was actually called upon to help a couple of times (once running an ill young lady and her mother down the mountain to the hospital, and once towing a car back onto the road). It was a great snow driving experience.

    This year, we're in a large engined rear wheel drive Mercedes on 18" wheels, 265/35/18 on the rear and 235/40/18 on the front. I don't expect it to be as good as the LandRover (especially the ground clearance, it's a E350 sport), but I want it to be able to cope with whatever it needs to. So, I now have lovely Vredestein Wintrac tyres on my car. I also have a set of Thule K-Summit snow chains for when the going gets tougher. My question is, would it be serious overkill to also get a set of autosocks?

    The reasoning is this. If I just need a little more traction in places but don't want to put the full chains on (e.g. steep bits where the snow is patchy with asphalt showing somewhere), I can use the autosocks on the driven wheels. If things are worse, I can put the chains on instead. But if things are really that bad, I could put the chains on the rear and the autosocks on the front (one sock size fits both tyre sizes), which should give me better control of the steering when driving in the snow.

    Thoughts?

    -simon
     
  2. rothbury

    rothbury Active Member

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    I would say you're taking the wrong car. Anyway in answer to your question I would say that the winter tyres would be as good as the snow socks on roads with partial asphalt showing. In fact you are likely to ruin the snow socks very quickly in those conditions. I'd did that in heavy snow in a Polo just because the wheels started spinning.
     
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  3. Spinal

    Spinal MB Enthusiast

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    I would suggest your winter tyres will offer near what the socks would offer... where you will need more than the winter tyres, you'll need chains....

    M.
     
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  4. OP
    OP
    SimonsMerc

    SimonsMerc MB Enthusiast

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    If I could afford it, I'd have absolutely kept the Discovery too ;-). The thing is, it was a superb car while *in* the mountains, but the Merc is so much better on the motorway. Ideally I'd drive there in the Merc, then swap over to the Disco I keep there for the trip. Except that if I could afford to do that, I'd probably be flying there instead! I think the Mercedes should be just fine on Winter tyres, with the chains for an emergency.

    Thanks for your answers guys!
     
  5. Spinal

    Spinal MB Enthusiast

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    As comfort.... I've taken a W202 and a W140 up snowy mountain resorts in Italy.

    They weren't that bad to be honest; and bar a few times when chain were needed to get up some slopes, they never got stuck. When they did, chains worked wonders :)

    M.
     
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