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Do You Need Tyre Socks and Snow Chains?

Man Putting Snow Chains Onto Tyre Of Car on his knees

On average, the UK gets around 23.7 days of snowfall and sleet a year, with Scotland receiving a much higher average of 38.1 days of snowfall. At the other end of the scale, Cornwall gets just 7.4 days of snowfall. Interestingly, a lot of this snowfall doesn’t settle; there’s 15.6 days of snow on the ground in the UK and 26.2 days in Scotland. For those days when snow is on the ground, vehicles on normal tyres may struggle, but fear not: there are some ways to give your car a little extra grip.

What are tyre socks?

Tyre socks are a recent innovation, introduced as a cheaper alternative to tyre chains. They take the form of sheet-like coverings, and one of their main selling points aside from their price is their lightweight nature. However, compared to tyre chains, tyre socks offer less traction, which is key during winter, and as such, they are often recommended for use in areas with light snow coverage. This means they can be useful in the UK, but in the event of ice, their lack of traction may cause issues.

Do you need snow chains?

Snow chains are predominantly designed for heavy snowfall – blankets of white that can be extremely difficult to traverse with normal tyres. In some countries, such as Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy, it is a legal requirement to carry snow chains in your car at all times.

Snow chains can be tricky to fit onto your vehicle, but their performance in heavy snow and ice is not up for debate – they provide a lot of extra traction in even the most slippery conditions. It’s important, though, that you remove your snow chains before driving on roads in normal conditions, as this can damage your car and the road.

Snow chains or tyre socks – which is better?

The two options perform better in different conditions; tyre socks are better for lighter snow and ice, whereas snow chains are designed for the most wintry of conditions. So, which is ‘better’ depends on the circumstances you need them for. Both present some issues; chains and socks can be difficult to install, and where tyre socks are concerned, the durability leaves a little to be desired. Tyre chains deliver more grip, but to use them for areas with light snow would be excessive, so tyre socks are better for these kinds of situations.

What about winter tyres?

Where snow chains and tyre socks are better for heavy snow and light snow respectively, winter tyres can act as something as a catch-all, providing extra grip for all conditions. Winter tyres are purpose-built with specific tread to help control, braking and wheel tracking, and they’re suitable for all conditions below 7°C.

Tyres Northampton are proud to supply winter tyres for a range of vehicles, working with customers throughout Northampton, Milton Keynes, Kettering and the surrounding areas. For more information, either call us on 01604529208 or fill in our handy contact form


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