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Snow Chains/Socks if we have Winter Tyres

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Driving down to Tignes for our first driving winter holiday in April. Managed to pick up a set of decent second hand snow tyres and rims which I am happy with but now wondering do I still need Snow Chains/Socks even if we have winter tyres?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Still think they are compulsory even with winter tyres
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Sylas, yup, you still have to have them. Almost certainly won't use them . . . BUT wink I've needed mine just to get out of a car park after a couple days of snowing. Get real, these types of rules are made simply because we're stupid and others have had to clean up our crap.
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Damn, thought that might be the case, the investment in snow tyres now seems a waste! But I feel more comfortable at least looking for just 1 pair of socks, compared to 2 pairs of chains as I was going to do.

Is a pair of socks going to be ok, or do they specifically have to be chains?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
No, absolutely not a waste - because having the right tyres means you are much less likely to need chains, especially in April. In any case, you would only need one pair - not two. Socks are questionable - sometimes OK, sometimes not, there is a lot of discussion about socks on this forum. You could wait and see what the weather is looking like and buy some chains at the last minute if necessary.
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@Sylas, Or get a really cheap set of chains in a French supermarket.

Why would you need two sets of chains ?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I've drove up on incipient light snow with regular tyres and with snow tyres. It's a good investment, you'll feel it. And as @Masque, said, you'll probably won't need to put the chains on
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
what are you driving?
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A Kia Sportage, gutless and 2wd!

We are driving down on the Friday and plan to stay the night around Chambery so picking up chains in a supermarket is an option for us, if that's something I can rely on the supermarket stocking.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Snow socks are inferior to good winter tyres, so they're not relevant in your case. Chains is always a tricky one. My expereience is that in 20 years of driving to the Alps (15 years with winters) I've needed chains three times, if I recall correctly. In each case to get out of somewhere with a steep incline - often a prosaically short distance but without them I'd have been stuck.

A couple of things to bear in mind. First, some chains need adjusting so always try fitting them at leisure at home first. Chains which fit a wide range of wheel/tyre combinations are often sized for the smallest wheels, requiring some adjustment of the link for larger sizes. Which can take time. My latest set are like this and it took 20-25 minutes each chain in a warm, well-lit garage to make the adjustments. Not what you want to be doing up a mountain in the dark and snow.

Second, as we all know, they can be tricky to fit, so ditto. My latest chains I had a 'doh!' moment when I realised I could practice on the spare wheel - much easier to do it flat and not attached to the car. If they need any link adjustments then this is definitely easier.

Third, cheap isn't always best in the long run. I have three sets of very cheap chains in the garage from my previous lease cars. THis time, I've got more expensive ones that fit a much wider range of sizes and stand a much better chance of being usable on my next car. Of course, if you are planning to keep the car for some time, then interchangeability might not be a factor.

Personally, I think that if you're going to buy them in France, why not buy them in the UK? Then you can adjust/practice at home first. Worst case scenario would be it's clear en route so you don't bother, then it snows the night before you leave and you're stuck.

Suffix: Oh, and always check in your Owner's Manual that your particular model, year and wheel/tyre setup is suitable to take chains. I was astonished with our Jeep Grand Cherokee that the UK spec' couldn't - the assumption was they'd never be needed so Chrysler supplied UK models with wider tyres.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Wed 13-02-19 16:14; edited 5 times in total
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The Super U in Bourg had chains on the shelves last year. Also had Michelin easy chains, or whatever they are called.
Also, the garage behind the B&Q type place (which is next to Intermarche) says on its outside advertising that it sells them - think it's a tyre place too.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Sylas, My 2wd Mondeo is good in snow. I have chains for it but never used them. What tyre size are you using ?
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I don't think they're a waste, the winter tires. Chances are you'll complete journey and not need anything else.

But, the regs in France are sensible. In as much as when they signpost the route with blue sign to indicate snow chains could be required, there's very good reason. Enough gradient to give you serious concern if covered in snow for most vehicles. You'd really be sweating if you need them, especially coming down!

Supermarket supplied chains in France are fine, and they do seem to keep stock of decent range.

Chambrey, Albertville, Moutier, Bourg will all give you a chance to buy.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Lots of useful information, thank you all.

We plan on keeping the car for a good amount of time, the last car my wife had lasted 12 years an we only got this one last year so hopefully transferability shouldn't be a factor.

The thinking behind getting chains in France vs getting them here is cost, would they be cheaper as a more common item or not? For our wheels 215/70/R16 we are looking at £100 for even a cheap pair.

edit: Found these, £30, worth a punt?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sumex-HUSAD90-Husky-Advance-Chains/dp/B009XRNFUI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1550072319&sr=8-3&keywords=snow%2Bchains&th=1&tag=amz07b-21


If we do pick them up before hand then I will be practicing.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Sylas, You only need one pair of chains for the 2wd Kia. My (part-time) 4wd was fine on snow in January with winter tyres, only switched the 4wd on to go up a steepish incline. Snowchains.co.uk offer a part exchange service on some of their chain brands so if you don't use them you can part ex them for new ones when you change cars. Snowchains.com offer a hire service.


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Wed 13-02-19 16:52; edited 1 time in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

the investment in snow tyres now seems a waste!


As Pam and ski3 say, "absolutely not". Snow chains have an extremely limited range of abilities. Whereas in most circumstances you'll be fine on winter tyres - when you'd be snookered on summers.

If it's not terribly steep and not very deep and you have winters then your snow chain requirement, if any, will be box ticking on the part of the Gendarmes. Whereas on summers, you will be in a ditch, wailing.

I wouldn't want to be relying on being able to find chains of the right size when you get to France (although they are probably cheaper). Although not necessarily https://www.feuvert.fr/static/recherche-chaines-neige-5530.html?cmpcat=PL-chaines-neige&cmpint=moteur-chaines
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Sylas, which tyres? ... how deep is the remaining tread? And then a couple of other things...

The reason I ask: I’ve used winter tyres for 20 years, and they have improved beyond all recognition over that time. But performance does tend to drop off when they get to 5mm. I use a tread depth gauge and that’s when we give ours away and get new ones. They are still useable and far better than summers but not quite up to par in the very slippy slidey steep bits which we have to go up (and down).

But note in all those 20 years we have carried snow chains, driven through deep deep snow and never used chains. Never. But we do carry them in the boot....
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
There doesn't appear much wrong with the linked chains posted by @Sylas, and as you say, you'll be able to practice before which is certainly wise.

However, I'd prefer the ones on the same link a few lines down as I think the type of links joining the Y shapes and to the side cables are more reliable in those Konig branded one's. That's if you get is what is in the picture. Not a great deal more cost, overall total of about £10 a year if you keep the car for six years. Whether used or not.

If it were my money I'd buy those Very Happy
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Sylas wrote:

edit: Found these, £30, worth a punt?

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sumex-HUSAD90-Husky-Advance-Chains/dp/B009XRNFUI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1550072319&sr=8-3&keywords=snow%2Bchains&th=1&tag=amz07b-21


If we do pick them up before hand then I will be practicing.


Perfect, don’t look the most robust but will be fine!

Plus you can practice at home before you go.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
They look almost new, the person I brought them off said they had only done 1-2k miles at most only fitted to the car for 2 months, brought directly from Kia in 2017, and quite importantly they come with tyre pressure monitoring sensors that the car needed.
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@Sylas As mentioned, the 4mm winter tyre recommended minimum level is a bit more than the 3mm recommended minimum for summer tyres, but it's not a conspiracy - below 4mm they do start to lose grip and braking ability disproportionately. And I 'd have to admit that the price on the Huskys looks attractive, given the odds are probably 8:1 or more against ever needing them, but I'd echo that it's generally worth paying a bit more for a more robust construction.

If you practice, when you repack them, try to separate the two chainsets with a plastic sheet or something, so you don't have chain spaghetti when you get them out again. Also put in a carpet square to kneel on and a pair of old but not too thick gloves or even washing-up-gloves. Also bear in mind if you end up having to use them to have a spare pair of boots and torch handy, not under a tonne of luggage. A head torch is going to be useful for other things like topping-up washer bottles etc.

Spend time on all these preparations and you're almost guaranteed to never need to use the chains in earnest..........

And while you're at it, if you're parking outside, then a cheap snow brush may be well worth the £5 or so - there are loads on Amazon.
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Just measured and 8mm left on the winter tyres so pretty much brand new.

I shall check out the ones people are suggesting and get some ordered.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Take some bungee cords to use to take up the tension on cheap chains, and don't drive too quickly if you do need to use chains.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
and always stop after a few hundred yards to tighten them up as much as possible (even if they are supposed to be "self tensioning").
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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@Sylas, I am fairly certain you will be fine. We saw lots of Swiss 2WD cars going over the Pas du Morgins (1400m) last Saturday with road covered in snow from the 65cm dump on the previous day . My suggestion is to grab some from Amazon before going and return if not used. Someone mentioned elsewhere that chain stocks can run low in petrol stations by April. Or buy some socks.
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Its as much about stopping as it is about getting going. Once you’re off the gas and on the brakes the only thing that makes a difference is what’s between you and the road. If snow tyres help you avoid even one collision then they’re worth while.
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