Just heard that autosocks were better than chains for Prius in snow. True?

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Ngroesbeck, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. Ngroesbeck

    Ngroesbeck New Member

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    Just heard that autosocks are better than chains for Prius in snow. True?
     
  2. PT Guy

    PT Guy Active Member

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  3. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    never heard of them
     
  4. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Interesting gadget. I have never used chain on my tires before, but what you really should compare is to dedicated snow tires. Is it better than or at the least as good as snow tires for short run on snowy day? Granted, durability is going to be an issue, and you are not going to use this type of devise for a long drive. It is more for emergency use just like compact spare tire. That said, if you live in area with very few snow accumulation and you can normally do fine with all season tires other than those few snowy days, it may be just an item you want to keep in the trunk.
     
    #4 Salamander_King, Dec 2, 2018
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  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    My situation exactly. I've never used them, so I can't report how well they worked. There was that one time in my Gen 1 where I spent an hour getting out of a snow-over-black-ice slide-off situation, and probably would have been on my way much sooner if I had remembered there were AutoSocks in the trunk the whole time ....

    -Chap
     
    #5 ChapmanF, Dec 2, 2018
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  6. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I lived in "snow belt" all my life, but never had snow tires or used chain on my car until, about 10 years ago, when one of my kid first started to drive my car. Even as recent as few years back, I did not have snow tires on first year or two of my new Prius (first two years on Gen3 and first year on Prime). If I knew of this device before I purchased snows for this season, I might have jumped on it. But, now I have driven two snow storms on dedicated snow, I doubt I can be convinced of the products effectiveness if compared to real snow tires.
     
  7. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I don't even really have a good place to store a second set of wheels and tires. AutoSocks take a lot less space.

    And 22 years ago when I moved here, we would get significant snow that would accumulate and last much of the winter, but now we treat it as a big deal if we get a couple significant snowfalls between fall and spring, which usually vanish inside of a week each time. So I will still typically have to do some snow driving during the winter, but only during a couple isolated periods.
     
  8. MikeDee

    MikeDee Senior Member

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  9. Skylis A

    Skylis A Senior Member

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    From the review:

    "After my brief three miles of testing, I noticed a few small holes developing in the sock."

    Gee, I wonder if it's because socks get holes in them, whereas a dedicated set of winter tires can go 30,000 in snow miles without getting holes. (n)
     
  10. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    No, these gadgets are not to be compared to snow tires, because snow tires don't count then WSDOT posts this sign:
    upload_2018-12-2_19-31-45.png
    "Chain alternatives
    If your vehicle can not accommodate chains, tire snow socks, are an approved alternative for passenger vehicles ... These are textile tire covers, officially called "alternative traction devices.""

    This approval is specific to my & OP's state, Washington. Other states may differ.

    I don't personally have them. When that sign is posted, I'm driving a Subaru with true winter tires. And one set of chains stashed inside, which haven't been needed yet because the DOT and State Patrol generally close the passes before AWDs need chains.
     
    #10 fuzzy1, Dec 2, 2018
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  11. m8547

    m8547 Active Member

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    Consumer Reports tested them, and it looks like they don't do any better than snow tires.
    Tire Socks: An Alternative to Snow Tires? - Consumer Reports

    Just get snow tires and carry a set of chains to put on if required.

    I drove with chains for the first time a couple weeks ago. The increase in traction was less than I expected, although I only had them on two wheels.

    If you must go with socks, check your state laws because they don't count as chains in all states.
     
  12. PT Guy

    PT Guy Active Member

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    Fuzzy, with that sign in Washington, 4wd/awd vehicles with M+S tires don't need chains on. If the sign said "all vehicles," even 4wd would need chains. The Prime and all other 2WD cars would need chains or approved alternate devices even if they have studded snow tires.

    The Snow Socks are for short distance infrequent use. I'd expect them to last about 10 feet on bare pavement. They are permitted "If your vehicle can not accommodate chains, tire snow socks, are an approved alternative for passenger vehicles and those with five or less axles. These are textile tire covers, officially called "alternative traction devices." I do not know if there would be a beef if the car could use chains or cables and the Snow Socks were used instead.
     
  13. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Many people live in areas where snow and ice are only an occasional thing, and the roads dry most of the winter. These are far cheaper to throw in the trunk for just in case than dealing changing tires every year. Then apartment dwellers may not even have the space to store another set of tires.
     
  14. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I see this can be a lifesaver for once in a blue moon snow accumulation in the area otherwise do not see any snow normally. However, from the description in the review, it does not seem hardly reusable unit. If 3 miles run on snow create a few holes, what would happen on a bare pavement? I would think those areas with occasional snow is more likely to see lightly snow covered roads and wet pavement than miles of deep snow covered roads. $100 disposable snow sock vs $60 lifetime reusable snow chain. Hmmm, which should I buy?
     
  15. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    But this thread is about OP's Prius Prime, which does need chains when that sign in posted.

    Yes, there is a higher stage where AWDs need chains too. But that is used quite infrequently, it is far more common they skip that stage and go directly to "Road Closed".
    Most people don't use chains on bare pavement either.
    These are for cars that can't wear chains, and for people who dislike chains and only infrequently would go only a few miles in such conditions. This description fits a lot of people transiting I-90's Snoqualmie Pass, where the chains-required section is typically just 1 to 5 miles. And not merely "lightly snow covered roads and wet pavement", you can take your chains off when you get to that. These drivers tend to strongly avoid the routes and conditions with "miles of deep snow covered roads."

    US-2 Stevens Pass can easily reach 40 miles of chains-required conditions. (Though sometimes this posting is mostly to keep traffic away, conditions aren't that bad as along as traffic stays light enough to not convert the packed snowfloor into glazed ice.) This is the route many experienced and better equipped drivers take to avoid the traffic jam of neophyte winter drivers across I-90.

     
    #15 fuzzy1, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  16. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, if the car cannot be fitted with chain, then I guess this could be the only solution. I don't have any experience using snow sock or chain on any of my cars, Prius or not, but I still think durability is an issue with this product. BTW, if the road sign says "chain required" wouldn't it be too deep of snow for PRIME to even go forward, snow sock or not??? Front bumper would be plowing snow after 5 inches of accumulation.
     
  17. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Nope, not on Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes. These highways have enough traffic that unpacked snow gets that deep only when the passes are fully closed, or when traffic jams prevent the snowplows from working their routes, or when avalanches have just dumped onto the road.

    The 'chains required' posting reflects the slickness of the ice or mostly packed snow surface, or the greasiness of the slush.

    Durability is an issue for some winter drivers. But Snoqualmie Pass gets plenty of other drivers who may well use it just once per car, or even never but have it along just in case. This Pass is under an hour out of Seattle, but the posted conditions can easily change twice during that travel time. Having a usable chain-like device gives them more flexability to not turn around, or to come home from skiing if the roads deteriorate badly during the ski day.
     
    #17 fuzzy1, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  18. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I have driven many times on I-90, I-80, and I-95 during a snowstorm, yet have never encountered "chain required" sign myself. Maybe they don't post that in midwest or east. In any case, I have to count myself as lucky. If I ever have to travel to West on I-90 during winter, I will remember to pack a snow chain. ;)
     
    #18 Salamander_King, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  19. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    I-80's closest approach to Snoqualmie Pass is more than 600 road miles. I-95 is more than 2000 miles away. Standing on the Cascade crest, you can find drastically different conditions within walking / skiing / snowshoeing distance. Those other roads are multiple climate zones away.

    Warmish wet air blows directly off the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound and up the slopes of our Cascade Mountain range, expanding and cooling and precipitating heavily as it gets pushed upslope. Then compresses down the other side, warming and drying. Sometimes all this collides with a grounded counterflow of very cold air coming through the passes from the east. The result is highly variable conditions depending on elevation, and changing rapidly in time as weather systems move through.

    And for I-84 too, it gets frequent ice storms along the Columbia Gorge near Portland, thanks to that same cold eastern counterflow mentioned above. And JimboPalmer has repeatedly described the winter nastiness of Emigrant Pass in northeast Oregon.

    For nordic or backcountry skiing, bring you waxless fishscale skis, not the waxable ones. Skiers with the later get left behind because they spend more time changing wax than actually skiing. Save your waxables for Rocky Mountain snow.
     
    #19 fuzzy1, Dec 4, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2018
  20. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Around here, light snow is quickly cleared from the road. Even when having to drive in it FWD with all season tires seem to enough.

    One to three times a year, we normally see a heavy snowfall. Had a bad one back in October. Having these would have made it easier for me to get unstuck at times, or might even have prevented the sliding in the first place. For those that do switch tires for the winter, they wouldn't have done so for this, because it was too warm for snow tires the day before.

    Actual chains, or the other options, would be better, but in addition to them being harder to get on, many cars now come equipped with low profile tires, making the chains scratching up the wheels more likely.
     
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