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Justin Smith

Snow, ice and snow socks

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I bought two pairs of snow socks (one for my Focus and one for my wife`s Yaris) on the recommendation of loads of forums etc. I must admit I`ve never had to use them but yesterday my wife`s car got stuck on the ice covered lane we need to use to access the gritted road. She`d got up about 80% of it but then it was so bad the car ended up perpendicular across the road. I confidently fitted the tyre socks but, I have to say, they didn`t get the car going. I know there`s a clue in the name (SNOW socks) but surely once snow has been compressed by cars it`s more or less ice anyway ? I must confess that frustration caused me to get a bit careless and gave the car too much stick, the socks got ripped and are now U/S after one use ! I can`t understand how that happened actually, the ice meant the tyres didn`t have any traction.

Has anyone else had experience of snow socks, in both ice and snow ?

Has anyone got any hints as to how to get up the fairly steep ungritted road we need to traverse to get onto the gritted bus route ?  Particularly when it`s icy ? I know snow chains would probably work but they`re a load of hassle aren`t they ? Or is there a quick fit set that work and are a reasonable price ?

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How long is the hill/lane ? I'm assuming it's private land, if not get your local council to provide a grit bin, and grit it yourself, that's what residents who live near me on a steep hill have to do.

Sorry never used snow socks or chains.

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the only way of getting up a steep lane covered in actual ice is with a 4x4 with studded tyres to be perfectly frank

for snow / compacted slush maybe you need better snow socks , ones that work like chains like this michelin set as the fabric ones dont look that effective to me

http://www.mister-auto.co.uk/en/car-accessories/2-snow-socks-michelin-easy-grip-r12_bg90078_a921008118.html?gclid=Cj0KCQiAkZHTBRCBARIsAMbXLhG38J-K0yVmn3WzGho8zHD7RdCQe25rl0g7aDyRChcM-Nvx83CKpOEaAjT_EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

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I`ve just been out having a play....

The road, a fairly steep hill TBH, has some snow on it, an inch ? It wasn`t that cold, only about zero. The Focus would not go up it. I`ve heard all these theories that you should just creep up not slipping the tyres, but, actually, I`ve found the most successful technique seems to be, if the car starts skidding, to waggle the steering wheel. But whatever technique I used it wouldn`t go up.

I then put the snow socks on ("Fix and Go") and it went up with only a little bit of slipping.

However, I then backed down again to try a hill start. It started going up but with difficulty, eventually it wouldn`t move at all. When I got out the passenger side sock had come off on the inside and ripped itself against the suspension. I had to cut it off.... The socks were the right size, they were TIGHT and took some getting on, particularly with cold hands..... I was NOT putting loads of revs on either, though when the car started slipping I put a few on to try and clear the snow, which seemed to be working till the sock caught itself on the suspension.... It may be good advice NOT to waggle the steering with snow socks on your tyres, I admit when the car started slipping instinct made me try that, and it did work, but not for long.

Basically I`m not sure I`ll bother with any more snow socks. They do work, to an extent, but I`m concerned, to put it mildly that two are now U/S in only two days, and they take a bit of getting on, and, by definition, when it`s COLD and wet ! The first, on the wife`s Yaris are the same type, but branded "Fit & Go".

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I have never used snow socks or chains, and survived a number of very icy and snowy winters now with no real issue with my cars. Momentum and no sudden movements are key. For hills, build up your speed before the hill and maintain it up the hill, in a low gear. I end up going a lot of places in 2nd and 3rd gear as they are the best for not slipping wheels I've found. 

Have you got winter tyres on? They are designed to "shed" the snow and ice so they do not get as clogged up as normal tyres. Normal tyres end up spinning more often than not because their tread is filled with snow/ice. This sounds like what is happening with the snow socks. 

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12 hours ago, Arwen said:

I have never used snow socks or chains, and survived a number of very icy and snowy winters now with no real issue with my cars. Momentum and no sudden movements are key. For hills, build up your speed before the hill and maintain it up the hill, in a low gear. I end up going a lot of places in 2nd and 3rd gear as they are the best for not slipping wheels I've found. 

Have you got winter tyres on? They are designed to "shed" the snow and ice so they do not get as clogged up as normal tyres. Normal tyres end up spinning more often than not because their tread is filled with snow/ice. This sounds like what is happening with the snow socks. 

I would agree that getting up a bit of momentum is a BIG help in going up a snowy / icy hill. There are, however, two problems with that :

The first is that going fast in ice or snow is a big risk, for obvious reasons ! This is particularly the case if other cars are parked by the side of the road, you only have to slide sideways a relatively short distance and there`s contact, then an insurance claim, or worse.

The second is you need room to be able to get speed up. The hill which we need to get up has a junction at the bottom, it`s actually a left turn for us, and, to make matters even worse, there are invariably cars parked on the opposite side, which means the corners is tighter and the consequences of slipping are more serious, you won`t just hit a kerb, you'll hit a car.... Thus one is starting from a relatively low speed, it simply isn`t possible to get much speed up.

People tell me winter tyres also work better on ice or compacted snow, is that right ? And if so how do they work ? Are they more noisy on normal roads ?

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19 hours ago, Justin Smith said:

I`ve just been out having a play....

The road, a fairly steep hill TBH, has some snow on it, an inch ? It wasn`t that cold, only about zero. The Focus would not go up it. I`ve heard all these theories that you should just creep up not slipping the tyres, but, actually, I`ve found the most successful technique seems to be, if the car starts skidding, to waggle the steering wheel. But whatever technique I used it wouldn`t go up.

I then put the snow socks on ("Fix and Go") and it went up with only a little bit of slipping.

However, I then backed down again to try a hill start. It started going up but with difficulty, eventually it wouldn`t move at all. When I got out the passenger side sock had come off on the inside and ripped itself against the suspension. I had to cut it off.... The socks were the right size, they were TIGHT and took some getting on, particularly with cold hands..... I was NOT putting loads of revs on either, though when the car started slipping I put a few on to try and clear the snow, which seemed to be working till the sock caught itself on the suspension.... It may be good advice NOT to waggle the steering with snow socks on your tyres, I admit when the car started slipping instinct made me try that, and it did work, but not for long.

Basically I`m not sure I`ll bother with any more snow socks. They do work, to an extent, but I`m concerned, to put it mildly that two are now U/S in only two days, and they take a bit of getting on, and, by definition, when it`s COLD and wet ! The first, on the wife`s Yaris are the same type, but branded "Fit & Go".

On the off chance I phoned the supplier of the snow socks, told him what happened and asked him if there was anything they could do for me. He said yes, they`d send me a replacement pair ! Assuming they come, and I have no reason to doubt it, that`s excellent service. Part of the reason my be I bought them through E Bay, and he may want to keep his 100% positive feedback ! An advantage is I`ll then have a spare snow sock for if the problem ever happens again. 

I`ll put a link on to him when they turn up.

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Getting up momentum and going fast are two different things. But yea, turning into a steep hill is a difficult one.

Snow tyres do make a massive difference. I don't normally get them put on my cars ( I didn't have anywhere to store 4 tyres at the time I really needed them), but I have driven a car with them on and they were night and day driving on thick snow and ice.  You still need to be careful and no sudden movements unless you want to skid. But forward/backwards traction is so much better on them.  I'm not entirely sure how they shed the snow better than normal tyres, but they tend to warm up quicker than summer tyres in cold weather so that may have something to do with it. 

On dry roads they were ever so slightly nosier, but nothing that would put me off getting them. 

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38 minutes ago, Arwen said:

Getting up momentum and going fast are two different things. But yea, turning into a steep hill is a difficult one.

Snow tyres do make a massive difference. I don't normally get them put on my cars ( I didn't have anywhere to store 4 tyres at the time I really needed them), but I have driven a car with them on and they were night and day driving on thick snow and ice.  You still need to be careful and no sudden movements unless you want to skid. But forward/backwards traction is so much better on them.  I'm not entirely sure how they shed the snow better than normal tyres, but they tend to warm up quicker than summer tyres in cold weather so that may have something to do with it. 

On dry roads they were ever so slightly nosier, but nothing that would put me off getting them. 

You`re right about somewhere to store them, particularly if there`s 4 of them. What`s the advice about that ? As far as the law goes I thought it was just that you couldn`t mix radials and crossplies ? Can you even still buy crossplies ! 

We may end up getting a 4WD, as in a "normal" car but with 4WD. But I read somewhere that a 2WD car with snow tyres is better than a 4WD with summer tyres ! ? ! What about a 4WD with all season tyres ? What are all season tyres like ? I assume there must be disadvantages otherwise surely everyone would fit them ?

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You do realise its dangerous to fit traction aids to only the driven wheels of a 2wd car?  Even at relatively low speeds it can trigger instability incidents, and once it starts you have zero chance of deliberately getting it back.

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like with all things in life , theres compromises to be made

looking forward long term , a 4wd car with all season tyres is probably the best bet

the down sides are more tyre wear ,  more road noise , and less fuel economy.

however you'll have much better traction without having to mess about with chains / socks in the freezing cold.

its worth the trade off if you intend living for years to come in a location that has ungritted roads and treacherous winter driving conditions

cost vs convenience basically

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On ‎22‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 9:55 AM, Justin Smith said:

On the off chance I phoned the supplier of the snow socks, told him what happened and asked him if there was anything they could do for me. He said yes, they`d send me a replacement pair ! Assuming they come, and I have no reason to doubt it, that`s excellent service. Part of the reason my be I bought them through E Bay, and he may want to keep his 100% positive feedback ! An advantage is I`ll then have a spare snow sock for if the problem ever happens again. 

I`ll put a link on to him when they turn up.

As expected the supplier "Top Gear car products" has sent me a new pair of Tyre Snow Socks, that`s excellent service, and well warrant a link for their £29.95 snow socks.

I`m feeling particularly positive toward them so will put the fact that one of the socks ripped on the suspension down to bad luck (plus don`t "waggle" the steering wheel whilst using snow socks...) and repeat that they did actually get me up a fairly steep snow covered hill which my car would NOT go up without them.

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Having been in France this week, with massive snowfalls, Ice etc. I have seen about zero socks. Several spider devices, lots of chains and majority with just winter tyres. Forget the socks, you can get a set of giant studded cable ties for a £10er, that work exceptionally well and are reusable. But you cant beat chains or proper winter tyres. You can buy chains for £30 if you hunt around (especially abroad) and they last many years unless you don't take em off once off the snow (Oh and they work on mud as well)

 

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