Are snow socks for tyres a low cost alternative to winter tyres or snow chains?

AutoSock was launched in Norway in 2002 after a long period of testing, evaluation and improvement. Sales have grown exponentially, with over 330,000 pairs sold around Europe last winter, mostly on recommendation. See the AutoSock video which shows just how easy they are to fit. More

See the Which? magazine review on snow socks. More

See our earlier winter tyres NEWS item. More

Snow socks are only a "get you home" measure not a substitute for winter tyres
Chris Hunt Cooke recalled having seen rally competitors using snow socks and noted "I have previously taken part in the Le Jog (Lands End to John O'Groats) classic car rally and my then navigator did it this year in a Mini. He reports that those using Snow Socks found they disintegrated very quickly on dry roads so were not a great help in changeable conditions. In contrast the winner sailed through any adversity using Vredestein winter tyres.

Photo: HERO Club website

Updated: 16.12.10
Posted: 5.12.10

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AutoSock is a simple, effective, low cost way of getting traction on snow and ice. It's achieved with the AutoSock tyre cover fabric technology. AutoSock textile tyre covers just slip over the driving wheels when you find yourself getting stuck. They work well in wet snow conditions so are particularly appropriate for the UK where snowfall is sporadic and few people use winter tyres.

Are snow socks for tyres the latest winter must-have?
The UK consumer group Which? reviewed snow socks at the end of November 2010 and said “at £50 a pair, snow socks are certainly a cheap alternative to buying and fitting a set of winter tyres and rims. They should only be used for the odd occasion when conditions really justify it.” See the Which? review
Gavin Bailey commented on the V8BB "I bought a set of snow socks last winter. They proved useful in the snow and are certainly effective, however they are more of a 'get you home' or emergency solution rather than something you would use on a regular basis. They are fairly easy to fit and self-centre on the tyres once fitted, providing plenty of traction on snow or slush. I used them on the rear driving wheels of a BMW 5 Series Touring and they helped me gain drive in conditons which would otherwise rendered the car immobile. They also pack away neatly into the supplied bag when not in use. The downsides are they will wear very quickly if used on tarmac or in conditions where the snow/slush is punctuated by stretches of tarmac. The top speed you can do with them fitted is probably around 30mph, however that's more than fast enough in snow anyway. They are however a pain to pack away when dirty and covered in slush/grit and you may need to stop to fit/refit them a number of times over the course of a journey subject to snow.

As a more permanent proposition, proper winter tyres with a snow marking are much better but more costly. I've just bought a set for a couple of cars and found they're in short supply in the UK at present. My first set came from Germany and the second set are on backorder. As I will be using winter tyres from now on from October to the end of March, I've bought a spare set of rims for each car so that I can change the sets of tyres over when necessary.

Gavin added he had bought a set of winter wheels for a car he "will be doing the daily commute in - around 100 miles/day round the M25 with early/cold starts in the morning. Not worth taking a chance plus I can't afford not to be in because the roads are icy or there's a bit of snow around.
Of course havoc caused by other cars running standard tyres in winter is another matter! But I mustn't be too hard - that was me last year and the vast majority of motorists in the UK!" (6.12.10)
V8 Register - MG Car Club - the leading group for MG V8 enthusiasts at