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Socks or chains?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm thinking of driving to Tignes in December in my Ford Galaxy, so I'll need chains I assume.
Looking online, I am being offered chains for £50 or 'snow socks' at £30.
Has anybody any experience of these things - what the heck are socks?
Alternatively....any E-mids snowheads want to rent suitable chains to me for the first week in December?
Wheel size 215/55/R16.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
youspurs1, can't help, but for info last year the mountain sun minibus needed chains on 7th Dec to get up the mountain - here's hoping for similarly good conditions this year!
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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?
I've seen a couple of reviews which said Snow Socks are useless. Once saw a big BMW with them on, failing in a rather spectacular way to get up the hill. Go for chains would be my advice.
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The French police generally don't recognise Auto Socks as a viable alternative to chains. If you are in a chains on situation, and they see you, I suspect they will fall about laughing, then turn you round, and back down the hill. Get the chains.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Handcuffs or silk stockings can also be used..........................................Ooops wrong thread, sorry. Embarassed
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We have always used chains - but only a pay max of about £30 - £35 a pair. I do have spare unused pair as a had two pairs for a 4wd Mazda, but only need one pair for my Kia Sedona - however they are one size too big for your Galaxy
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RobinS,

So near, and yet Crying or Very sad
Thanks for the advice peeps, looks like chains it is then.
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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!
I used socks in March to get up to Crans-Montana in the easter megadump - I had to buy them at the last minute as my chains didn't fit Embarassed. I paid closer to £75, they took me from 400 to 1500m via many tight bends no problem and we were waved through at the bottom of the hill by the copper making cars put chains. When I came to take them off though, they appeared to have a few holes in them Evil or Very Mad - I hope we will get more than one use from them for £75!

In fresh snow they're fine, but I'm not so sure about how effective they would be on hardpacked ice.
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Steve Sparks wrote:
and we were waved through at the bottom of the hill by the copper making cars put chains.


I doubt that will happen again, the local police got a lot of flak for losing control of the roads on Good Friday and allowing cars through without proper equipment.
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Quote:
only a pay max of about £30 - £35 a pair.


I found that by paying more I have stronger chains, and much easier to put on (and take off). Self tensioning etc - rather than having to stop after 50 metres to tighten them up. We wore out one of the cheap set pretty quickly - the links are rubbish. But if you are just going one time, and may well not ever have to use them, it's probably fine to get the cheap ones. Just make sure you practice putting them on beforehand.
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youspurs1,

Scroll down this artical in german to see that the 3 top chains in this test are all under 70€.
http://www.oeamtc.at/tests/ketten/
The autosock comes out worst in the test.

I run the best winter tyres and chains to fit my car so have the sportmatiks.

Snowsocks are slated by the major central european motoring organizations, they are not considered a legal substitute for chains and don't bite into the snow/ice.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Quote:
are all under 70€.


Not far off £60, in other words. If the exchange rate gets much worse we'll be looking at parity. The high price of xenophobia!
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
youspurs1, Having seen a Renault Espace with socks on slide across the packed snow and into the wall next to the entrance of the car park in Val Thorens a couple of years ago, I would go with chains without doubt Toofy Grin
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
pam w wrote:
Quote:
are all under 70€.


Not far off £60, in other words. If the exchange rate gets much worse we'll be looking at parity. The high price of xenophobia!


Well I certainly hope this xenophobia stuff keeps up, those stinking French and Nazi Austrians /Germans have a lot to answer for. (I get paid in Euros). Wink

Seriously I doubt xenophobia drives the value of the Euro but 70Euro (ca 60 GBP, 24000 pesetas or 21,435,617,567,123 USD) will get you a good pair of snow chains which is roughly the same price you would pay for a pair of snow socks.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
I seem to end up with a new pair of chains every time I go. Three at present. Mostly because car hire companies charge almost as much for hire as they cost to buy. No reason to buy expensive, though. They all go on the same way. Aim for £25.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:
They all go on the same way


the modern ones work on the same principle, but some are definitely easier than others, and some are heavier duty. You get what you pay for. I can put our current chains on both wheels in very few minutes, get in then drive off without having to stop again to adjust. And they have an "easy off" release which makes the reverse process very quick too. But if I were just going somewhere for a week, and probably would not have to use them, I'd get cheap ones. Not socks though - and the socks I've seen in France were not that cheap. The key, for a first time user, is prior practice. Or you end up like my friend Gordon who jacked the car up in the car park of the supermarket where he'd bought the chains (having driven 9.5 km up the 10 km winding mountain road to his apartment before getting completely stuck and having to slide back down again), took the wheel off, put the chains on, then put the wheel back.... By which time an incredulous Frenchman, having seen this production, showed him how to do the second one. Gordon said his chain was put on much neater, though!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
pam w, I have used cheap ones for Tignes without any problems as there are no really steep gradients. I broke them elsewhere though and had to get some stronger ones.
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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?
beequin wrote:
I seem to end up with a new pair of chains every time I go. Three at present. Mostly because car hire companies charge almost as much for hire as they cost to buy. No reason to buy expensive, though. They all go on the same way. Aim for £25.


£25 is bargin bucket price.
http://www.snowchains.co.uk/index.htm

Cheap chains don't perform as well, are prone to breakage and are generally more difficult to fit. A broken chain can damage the car which will cost more than the £35 saved.
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youspurs1, With chains you get what you pay for.
IMO, dont eve consider the 'sock' type thing, a real waste of space plus may not be considered acceptable by the local gendamerie

I also have purchased from snowchains.com. Excellent service.

I use winter typres but always have a set of chains ready. Had to use them just once in 4 years though. But without then i'd have been stuck.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I agree cheap chains will not last as long as expensive ones - but i now have 4 pairs in 3 different sizes due to changes of cars, and between them have had about ten trips to the alps, and have no trouble with any yet. I if lived out there I'd have expensive, easy to put on ones - but for holidays, half the time you don't use them at all. I agree though to practice first, and [ut them sooner rather than later, it is difficult if you are already stuck in deep snow!
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Avoid cheap chains! I had mine simply break and come off on first use going up to Lech this winter Evil or Very Mad Which meant I had to buy another pair of not quite so cheap chains in Lech itself Crying or Very sad
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youspurs1, I have these unopened and unused going for £25 if you're interested

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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!
Cables are the way to go IMO - a doddle to put on and though they shred pretty easily if you exceed the recommended speed they offer great traction and are less likely to wrap round your axle catestrophically when they pop off.

Early December to Tignes I'd probably take a chance on not needing them however particularly if you're staying low down.
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Yoda, I've pm'd you, Thanks!
fatbob, I'd rather have the peace of mind, given the cost.

Just looked at the manual for my car (2.3 Zetec Petrol Auto, Alloy wheels) it says that chains should only be used on steel wheels of a certain size, and the size quoted is smaller than mine.
So, next question, car is out of warranty, so no problems there. Has anybody actually used chains on this type of car before? did the manual say not to? alloy wheels? I'm assuming the chains could damage the rims, but nothing else, right?

Thanks for all the replies.
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youspurs1, I've yet to find a car I've owned which states I can use chains.

Never had a problem though - look at tyre size and then search online. I bought mine for VW Sharan here http://www.snowchains.co.uk/main/klack_and_go.htm and they have been fine, despite the manual saying I can't fit them,
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fatbob wrote:
Early December to Tignes I'd probably take a chance on not needing them however particularly if you're staying low down.


The worst road chaos I've seen in the last two or three seasons has been in November and early December on the road to Tignes & Val d'Isere.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
youspurs1, They tend to be cheaper - and you have a bigger range, in France. My last 3 sets have all come from the supermarket in Moutiers.

I've never had a car with
Quote:

alloy wheels?


'cos I can't see the point of them. The worst I've had is that (with a lot of use) some paint has come of the plastic wheel trim.. so with alloys you should be OK (seen plenty in use).

The more recent chains are quite easy to fit, and (importantly) easy to tension - and the chances of damaging your car are really quite low. It's important to check the tension on budget chains after a short drive. This is easy to do - if you can hear them flapping about - they're too loose.

Things that are worth having are a set of gloves to wear whilst you fit them. and a headtorch helps no end if it's dark.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
ski wrote:
youspurs1, They tend to be cheaper - and you have a bigger range, in France. My last 3 sets have all come from the supermarket in Moutiers.

I've never had a car with
Quote:

alloy wheels?


'cos I can't see the point of them.


Alloy wheels have better heat dissipation than steel wheels and the alloy spokes allow heat to be dumped off the wheel. That stops brake fade on high performance cars under hard braking. At larger wheel sizes there's a weight saving as well. Years of lads putting them 1.0L hatchbacks and Ford putting them on family cars made us forget they ever had a real purpose.

Steel wheels in winter here (CH) on some cars fail OCN requirements so would actually be illegal.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ise,
Never knew that. Learn something every day!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
rob@rar wrote:
fatbob wrote:
Early December to Tignes I'd probably take a chance on not needing them however particularly if you're staying low down.


The worst road chaos I've seen in the last two or three seasons has been in November and early December on the road to Tignes & Val d'Isere.


Fair comment- I guess what I really meant was I'd assess the conditions/forecast when I got to Bourg and buy there if necessary. It might involve me getting gouged in Tignes for a pair worst case for the rtn trip but unlikely to be much more than a £50 Uk rental fee anyway.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hopefully youspurs1 and I have a deal sorted so no need for any more "buying" suggestions in this thread snowHead I do, however, have an unused set of Rud "Cortina" chains in the same size to sell as well........
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
fatbob wrote:
Fair comment- I guess what I really meant was I'd assess the conditions/forecast when I got to Bourg and buy there if necessary.

Should be easy to buy chains in Bourg (the SuperU always seems to have a fair range of sizes, especially early season). It will probably be a bit cheaper than buying in the UK, but is the saving of £20 or so worth the risk of not getting the right size chains, or getting to Bourg after the shops have shut, etc?
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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?
If you need an unusual size, I'd say it's worth getting them beforehand. You can get excellent advice from snowchains.com, though I've bought my recent ones in France.

We've used them on our standard-fitted alloy wheels, with no problems. there might be some scratches, but frankly life's too short to inspect my alloy wheels for scratches. The entire car suffers from winters in the Alps, people in ski boots, wet gear, etc etc. The wheels are the least of my worries!

Have a big strong black bag to put the chains in when they come off - you won't want to spending hours at the roadside trying to put them back in the stupid little boxes they're sold in.
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youspurs1 wrote:
Yoda, I've pm'd you, Thanks!
fatbob, I'd rather have the peace of mind, given the cost.

Just looked at the manual for my car (2.3 Zetec Petrol Auto, Alloy wheels) it says that chains should only be used on steel wheels of a certain size, and the size quoted is smaller than mine.


There could be clearance issues. Although the overall diameter of the wheel/tyre combination will be very similar (otherwise the speedo would be way out) the width of the tyre is likely to be narrower on a winter tyre. It's normaly a problem associated with high performance cars but worth checking.
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