AutoSock are the premium Norwegian manufacture of textile alternative to chains, this make them incredibly user friendly, easy to fit and store and even light and compact to carry when flying to be able to use on your hire car etc.
Q1: How do they work?
A1: Basically it’s to do with friction. Dry snow and ice sticks to fabric, especially ‘woolly’ fabric as those of us who remember snowballing in woollen mitts will remember. AutoSock are made from a hairy fabric which sticks to the snow. The fibres, which become hairier with use, are arranged at right angles to the direction of travel to optimise grip. Very importantly, the specially developed textile also “wicks away” any water that’s found between the ground and the tyre, (generated e.g. by the warmth of the sun, or wheel spin), thereby maximising the friction grip.
Q2: How well do they work?
A2: Astonishingly well! They are more effective than winter tyres on snow (and a lot cheaper) and are also more effective than snow chains in certain situations, especially on ice. They have been tested and formally approved by e.g. Audi, Citroen, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot and Volkswagen, as well as by several European road transport research institutes and the German TÜV. A range of test data is shown on the Research & Development pages.
Q3: What sort of conditions can I use them in?
A3: They’ll improve traction on any snow or ice – even in soft, deep snow, or in wet snow. It’s recommended that you take them off when you get back to tarmac, although the reality is that they probably will be driven on tarmac during those intermittent tarmac / snow / tarmac / snow conditions experienced before leaving the snow for good. (The TÜV test included 50 kilometres at 50 kph on dry tarmac. AutoSock passed this “Misuse test”, but of course tarmac driving is not recommended as it increases fabric wear very considerably.)
Q4: What’s it like, driving with AutoSock?
A4: Silent and smooth, as you’d expect. There’s none of the loud rattling and bumpy ride associated with snow chains. Because there’s no danger of damage to the vehicle structure they are approved for speeds up to 30mph / 50kph; this is faster than is recommended with snow chains, although your speed should of course be appropriate to the weather and road conditions. Q5: Is there anything else I should know about? A5: Nothing to be concerned about, although certain users may wish to note that you can use them with your vehicle’s electronic aids left on, unlike snow chains which should NOT be used with traction control and anti skid devices (e.g. ESP / ASC+T / ASR / ABS).