Difference between snow chains and snow socks

With the arrival of winter, the anti-skid devices must be put back in the car . There are various solutions on the market, including snow chains and socks .

Let’s see the differences.

Several anti-slip systems

Every time winter returns, thousands of motorists find themselves having to fight the unpleasant effects of the cold season. Among the effects of cold, most involve serious road safety risks. Ice, slippery roads, hail, snow and so on make circulation difficult. For this reason, many roads are required to mount or in any case have snow chains on board .

Until a decade ago, snow chains were the only anti-skid system sold on the market, as well as the only one to be recognized as approved by law. However, technological innovation continues and new systems are continually invented to travel safely on the road. In particular, in the field of anti-slip you can find various systems in stores, such as the classic chains, the latest models called ‘spider’ or snow socks. Each of these has different costs as well as various pros and cons, let’s see specifically.

Differences between snow chains and snow socks

If you have already found yourself in doubt about this choice and you have already asked someone about which system is the best, everyone will give you a different answer. Absolutely, it cannot be said which is the best anti-skid system, as each of the two has different characteristics. Therefore, most opinions are always individual and subjective and vary according to the needs and experiences of those who have used the security systems in question.

The snow chains are undoubtedly the best known device between the two. The first difference to make between the two is undoubtedly the homologation. Snow chains, to be recognized as valid, must refer to the UNI 11313 standard or to the ON V5117 . The first lists a series of technical specifications to recognize the good workmanship of the product, while the second lists the minimum requirements to legally guarantee the road safety of the vehicle.

If for the type of snow chains it is easy for the products to comply with at least one of the two standards, the same cannot be said for snow socks . In fact, these have been on the market for a few years and only in 2011 the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, following several exhortations from the manufacturing companies, regulates the use of snow socks. These are recognized only by the ON V5121 standard which makes them equivalent to snow chains. Basically today you can safely use snow socks in all areas where it is mandatory to mount snow chains or use thermal tires.

The second important difference between the two lies in the possibility of assembly. In fact, not all vehicles are designed to be chainable by construction. Just go and see in the booklet where it is clearly indicated whether the vehicle is ‘chainable’ or ‘not chainable’. The car may not be chainable for various reasons, for example the distance between the wheel and the compartment is too small, so the insertion of a chain can damage the mechanical parts. Therefore, all vehicles that cannot be chained in order to travel where snow chains are required until a few years ago were required to fit thermal tires.. Today, however, the problem of non-chainable vehicles can be solved thanks to snow socks. These are in fact made of polyester, a soft material and above all less bulky than chains, and makes the step accessible even in snowfall situations.

Another important difference between the two safety systems lies in the ease of assembly , and here the type of spider snow chains also contribute. Of the three systems, snow chains are the most complex to assemble, as they must be brought into positions and arranged around the entire circumference of the wheel. The new spider systems, on the other hand, are particularly easy to assemble because they provide for the insertion of the head in one of the wheel bolts which must not be removed for the duration of the winter, then the actual chain is hooked to the head and goes into position. alone, while the chains need the car to move. The snow socksinstead they apply very easily almost like ‘a bag’ or a glove. You also don’t have to worry too much about centering the sock as they will fix themselves as you move the vehicle.

Another very important difference lies in the driveability of the vehicle . Snow chains, regardless of type, can also be worn on short stretches of bare asphalt. The snow socks, on the other hand, being made of a much less resistant material, will be irreparably damaged even for short stretches on asphalt without snow, effectively losing their efficiency. Snow chains are suitable for almost all situations, but due to their formation they can cause vibrations to the car while driving. The snow socks, being soft, do very well on fresh snow but less so on ice, however they avoid vibrations. In terms of durability and safety, however, snow chains are generally better.

Finally, the last difference between the systems is in the price . Snow chains have an affordable price, from € 20 to € 200 per wheel (then up for premium models). Spider chains are the most expensive system of all, ranging from € 150 to a maximum of € 500 per model. The more advanced models even allow you not to have to keep your head mounted all winter. The snow socks, in addition to taking up less space in the hood, have a very affordable cost between € 20 and € 70.


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