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Snow Socks - Legal???

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Snow Socks - Legal???

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
My husband this morning rang roofbox company to order a set of snow chains for our trip next month (we were probably going to have maggi trak as we have a clearance issue on our car BMW X3). They advised him that as of the beginning of February this year snow socks are to be accepted as an alternative in snow chain areas. Can anybody confirm this? I can not find anything online. Puzzled Oh by the way we are driving to Chamrousse, France.
Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Haven't heard about that, but socks are not as effective as chains. Plenty of information on earlier threads on this.
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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?
L3VSA, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead

I'm surprised that your BMW X3 has snowchain clearance issues, as it is sort of a 4x4. Maybe it's just on the inside of the wheel next to the suspension.

I'm not sure on any possible law changes, but snow socks are no substitute for snow chains. I wouldn't touch snow socks with a ten foot pole, stick to proper chains.
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Haen't seen a road sign with a snow sock on a wheel yet. As for the chain there are plenty.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks but what do you mean by sort of 4x4 (ha know what you mean its just playing at it).
Yeah husband checked last night and cant get finger between back of wheel and strut. Stupid design really what I can't understand tho is that the RUD chains that are made for BMW do go right over the wheel and assume would catch as much as cheaper ones. Too much conflicting info. I'm starting to wish I'd booked a flight instead.
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L3VSA, there is a similar issue with my Merc which is solved by Spikes Spiders which are attached only to the wheel nuts on the outside of the wheel and do not extend inwards beyond the load-bearing surface of the tyre.
http://www.roofbox.co.uk/scripts/rbvehsel2t.php?emulate=snowchains&query=4216&vptype=188022 gives you a list of potential BMX X3 tyre sizes.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Trust me, Thule K summits, got a pair and go on in seconds flat and no clearance issues. They are exy though.

Used them in Val Cenis two weeks ago and i kid you not i had a few locals ask me about them and also had a few people staring at my wheels whilst car was parked up.

Search the forum i put a web address for the cheapest place for them on here somewhere.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Try Weissenfels Clack&Go Quattro. These chains need zero clearance on the inside of the tyre.

http://catenedaneve.weissenfels.com/eng/content/download/304/2449/file/cat_web_09_en_es.pdf
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L3VSA wrote:
Thanks but what do you mean by sort of 4x4 (ha know what you mean its just playing at it).
Yeah husband checked last night and cant get finger between back of wheel and strut. Stupid design really


BMW don't expect the drivers of their 4x4s to take them anywhere more extreme than Tesco's car park. wink
Doesn't surprise me at all that chains won't fit, should have bought a Land Rover. wink Laughing
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Spyderman, I was waiting for the first anti BMW post Very Happy

I have an Audi A6 Quattro on factory fit 19" wheels. You can't put chains on these either.

The socks manufacturers even say on their websites that you should still carry chains if required to by law.
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L3VSA wrote:
They advised him that as of the beginning of February this year snow socks are to be accepted as an alternative in snow chain areas. Can anybody confirm this? I can not find anything online. Puzzled Oh by the way we are driving to Chamrousse, France.
Thanks


So you are talking about France. The law will no doubt vary in every alpine country. I'm told the police apply the law differently with respect to snow socks / snow tires / snow chains. It probably depends on conditions, if the route is covered with ice they probably want everyone to have chains.

However the law is not so clear, or at least chains are no longer specifically mentioned. What the law does say is that when the B26 sign is displayed you need to have

i. a removeable anti sliding system
ii. this must ensure you can start, steer and stop your vehicle
iii. it must have a reliable system to secure it to the tire and keep it under tension

I assume that point ii is where snowsocks might fall down. Even the makers say they are more for flat areas rather than mountain roads.

Remember you can be fined and your insurance may refuse to pay out if you have a sliding accident.

That said I've seen cars up in Chamrousse in difficult conditions with snow socks so would suggest with an X3 you would be fine if you don't drive like a muppet (I've also seen a Cayene stoved into a wall at Chamrousse because the driver was stupid). As data point I've never ever put chains on to drive to Chamrousse and that is on a 2WD car.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
davidof wrote:
(I've also seen a Cayene stoved into a wall at Chamrousse because the driver was stupid).

.........to have bought one in the first place. Laughing
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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
I have now received a TUV certificate (PDF file) from the distributors in theory backing up what they have told us about the socks (they state it is a "snow chain equivalent" . Dont know if I can put a link on here for PDF File? I know they're not as good as chains but don't fancy spending a lot of money on something I may not ever use
Quote:

That said I've seen cars up in Chamrousse in difficult conditions with snow socks so would suggest with an X3 you would be fine if you don't drive like a muppet (I've also seen a Cayene stoved into a wall at Chamrousse because the driver was stupid). As data point I've never ever put chains on to drive to Chamrousse and that is on a 2WD car.

Also a guy with a Cayenne lives at the top of our road (live on a hill our 3 series does not get up without 5 neighbours pushing) and he was struggling to get up in recent snow my X3 along with most neighbours 2WD cars went up no problem.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
From the autosock website


Quote:

Q6: Are they approved for use on roads where snow chains are mandatory?
A6: This is a grey area. It's better to be safe than sorry, so you should take snow chains for e.g. self-drive ski holidays to the Alps

http://www.autosock.co.uk/autosock-faq.php

Having watched a Renault Espace with socks slide back down the gentle slope at the front of the car park in Val Thorens and smash into the armco protecting the entrance I wouldn't waste my hard earned cash on them.

A set of spykes syders are well worth the investment as they fit a range of tyre/wheel sizes as they are adjustable.
Without wishing to join the car make bashing, in our X trail we were waved through a Police checkpoint in France whilst BMW's were directed into the chainage area to put their chains on. We were closely followed by an Evo presumably with full winter tyres Laughing

Quote:
I know they're not as good as chains but don't fancy spending a lot of money on something I may not ever use

Never quite understand this comment in relation to chains, what is the cost of a set of chains as a % of the cost of your car - let alone the recovery costs delay to your holiday etc etc. Having had a car repatriated due to mechanical failure I can assure you no matter how good your insurance the cost in delay stress etc etc is huge.


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Fri 19-02-10 16:56; edited 2 times in total
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
[Thread drift alert]

Cayenne suspension is way too hard for them to be any good off road. The S and especially the Turbo, are something else to drive on the road, though.

An S converted to LPG is a serious bit of kit and would be affordable for every day use.

The external styling is not to everyone's taste but what 4x4s are attractive?

[/Thread drift alert]
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
bar shaker wrote:
[Thread drift alert]

Cayenne suspension is way too hard for them to be any good off road. The S and especially the Turbo, are something else to drive on the road, though.


bar shaker, It's not just the suspension, it's most of it that's useless for off-road. Totally pointless, ugly piece of junk. It does nothing that an RS6 isn't better at.


bar shaker wrote:

The external styling is not to everyone's taste but what 4x4s are attractive?


A Defender is an iconic design masterpiece. Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
bar shaker wrote:
I have an Audi A6 Quattro on factory fit 19" wheels. You can't put chains on these either.


Mmmm... so what's the car with chains on on pages 4, 5 and 8 of the Weissenfels catalogue linked to above?
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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?
altis wrote:
bar shaker wrote:
I have an Audi A6 Quattro on factory fit 19" wheels. You can't put chains on these either.


Mmmm... so what's the car with chains on on pages 4, 5 and 8 of the Weissenfels catalogue linked to above?

The handbook allows for standard chains, quite often manufacturer's will have designed a chain to suit. I've got Weissenfels for my Espace, the handbook says I can't fit them, Weissenfels say yes, they work perfectly and don't foul anything.
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We have just been away with friends who have an X3. We spent days agonising over chains, but in the end ordered a pair of standard 9mm Polar chains from snowchains.com. They fit perfectly with no clearence issues, they may not be the best chains in the world but at less than £50 they were great.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Snow socks are not legal in France or CH last time I looked although I saw a few of them this year in Les Arcs. Too and fro over the Col de Lauteret the following week between La Grave and Serre it was just 4WD and chains, not a sock in sight. Can't imagine they are as good in really bad conditions but most handy to keep in the car and get on and off if you live in the mountains - anyone actually really had +ve things to say about them?

My Freelander was fitted with low profile tires before I bought it and so it was a no fit. I've used Spikes Spyders for 5 years and they worked great until I got to the top of the mountain and found one had come off. All of it including the disk.

1. I was a Muppet and didn't attach it properly?
2. I didn't notice a difference after one fell off, I should not have put them on in the first place. Muppet.
3. Perhaps after the discs having 18+ months worth of attachment over the years they had become worn, never found them to see.

Mostly with a 4WD and all weather tires chains are not needed if you keep under 20mph from my experience.... back to me being a Muppet for putting them on in the first place. Blame it on the first trip of the season and lots of snow...
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Don't know about the legality but I would strongly advise against autosocks. I've seen three or four occasions when cars shod with socks have been undriveable on fairly gentle slopes and relatively benign snow conditions on the road. They might be convenient to fit and be good for cars with limited wheel clearance, but what's the point if they do so little at improving traction?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
A snow chain has individual links sticking out from a tyre for digging or keying into the snow. Therefore it will be still effective in deep loose snow up to a certain thickness. The autosock is a fabric and will have difficulty in coping with deep and loose snow. It can be great and convenient in icy and lightly snow surface. I wouldn't have thought it should be looked upon as an equivalent.

Even not an owner I have reasons to believe a Porsche Cayenne can be effective on snow if shod with a set of proper winter tyres which are rare but available (one can check it out with Porsche web site on recommended winter tyres). The trouble with this model is because it is usually bought for high speeds which the winter tyres market does not cover adequately. H-rated (130mph) winter tyres are common. V-rated (150mph) winter tyres is less so but Z-rated (150mph+) winter tyres for 19 or 20" alloys do bot have a market to support the manufacture. I have in the past made do with dropping the speed rating even for all season tyres for my 4x4 on just 16" alloys.

Porsche Cayenne is significantly heavier than the cross-overs or smaller 4WD like a X3. When going uphill its self weight will become an disadvantage/liability and requires more friction from the same snow on which a lighter X3 may perform better for being lighter. A small Panda 4x4 with snow tyres may be the best for steep hill climbs but it will not do well on motorways. Thus each car will have its own pros and cons.

For skiers driving from UK to the Alps the high speed capability is an asset. A Land Rover defender on all terrain tyres may be great for the Yorkshire Dales but it can be a suffering for a 2500 miles trip.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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altis wrote:
bar shaker wrote:
I have an Audi A6 Quattro on factory fit 19" wheels. You can't put chains on these either.


Mmmm... so what's the car with chains on on pages 4, 5 and 8 of the Weissenfels catalogue linked to above?


That'll be a poverty spec Audi A6 on 17" wheels and non S Line suspension. My handbook clearly says that I cannot fit snow chains to my car and if I did, its pretty clear I would have no wheel arches left. Otherwise, its quite a nice car and I would consider buying spare wheels and snow tyres, or just 17s skinny tyres and chains, if taking it to the mountains. I would love an RS6 but fear my driving style, in such a car, would be incompatible with UK motoring legislation.


Defenders...? Ah yes, I had a 110, in some sort of luxury spec. In the 15 or so cars I have owned it was the single worst car by quite some considerable margin. Even worse than the XJS I had 20 years ago and that is saying something. It got to the stage where I would rather walk barefoot 15 miles than drive that piece of junk 2 miles. If you have driven an uncomfortable, noisy car with the most diabolically bad handling, I would still wage you are no where near prepared for the disappointment that owning £25k of Land Rover Defender will bring. As for driving it in the rain, you would see more through the windscreen if you stuck your head out of the window and licked the rain off. Then the rear diff failed and we parted company after the warranty fix.

X3 is quite nice but I prefer the Q5. Each to their own though.
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On arrival at calais this afternoon a GB Land Rover Discovery 4 was being pulled up onto a low loader around 100 yards short of check in Sad
and then half hour later as we went through passport control the Eurotunnel tow truck was just hitching up to tow a Disco 3 that had given up as well Sad
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Quote:

X3 is quite nice but I prefer the Q5. Each to their own though.

I took a look at the Q5 over xmas holidays in the local audi garage and although i quite like the looks it is as big externally as an X3 but there is no room inside dont know what luggage capacity is but far less rear legroom and boot not so big either.
Anyway the socks arrived this morning (7.45 woke up by the postman usually comes at noon midweek) and have promptly been returned. Chains will arrive next week. Just gone for normal mid-range chains and they will fit the rear wheels with plenty of clearance and we will also try them on the fronts to see what they're like - thanks for everyones advice.
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L3VSA, Well done on buying chains, I've just got back and once again didn't need to put the chains on snowHead
Although for a while around Troyes in a heavy snowstorm Shocked I thought I might have to!
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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.
Legal or not legal is only a test that can be applied in a court of law.

The local police (or equiv) may or may not allow you through with or without certain pieces of equipment, whether that be chains, snowsocks, spiders, or just winter tyres.

But that is the decision of the local police, and not a legal test.

But I fully agree that relying on 4wd or 2wd with winter tyres or just socks in full winter conditions is a risk that only you can decide, and is IMO independent of the full legal position.
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L3VSA,

I believe for a 4WD vehicle and two chains they should go to the driven wheels that steer. Not quite sure how good the X3 4x4 mechanism is but the chains on the steering wheels, which are also driven, is a safer arrangement according to the handbooks and manuals I came across.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
saikee, L3VSA, I don't have much knowledge of the X3, regarding it's 4x4 system. Good review here though Laughing http://www.topgear.com/uk/bmw/x3

Fitting of chains to the front or rear or all 4 wheels, is pretty much dependant on where the priority is set for the drive. BMW prefer rear wheel drive for their cars, so I'd imagine the X3 would be RWD until slippage occurs, when it would then also send drive to the front wheels. Volvo XC, Freelander, CRV, RAV4 is FWD biased, with drive only going to the rear when the front wheels slip.

I'd follow the handbook as to the recommendations.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Good quality winter tyres on narrower than normal on steel rims is one of the best investments for driving in the Alps. The only time that you will have to put chains on is when ordered by police. I did a season driving around the Alps with this set up in a two wheel drive car and could get anywhere a 4WD car could, very satisfying!
The steel rims will not get damaged with chains like your Alloys will!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I have just bought some MAGGI Trak chains for a RWD BMW. They seem to fit easily and very well. Could be a good option....
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Have found the handbook now and it actually recommends chaining the rear wheels - so should be okay
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L3VSA wrote:

I took a look at the Q5 over xmas holidays in the local audi garage and although i quite like the looks it is as big externally as an X3 but there is no room inside dont know what luggage capacity is but far less rear legroom and boot not so big either.


I thought this might be the case but haven't compared myself. The big draw of the X3 is BMW's 3.5 TDI engine. Probably the best diesel engine out there at the moment, with the exception of Range Rover's 4.2. We were talking in the pub at the weekend about how you would need to really search to find a bad car to buy these days.
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colincrist wrote:
Can't imagine they are as good in really bad conditions but most handy to keep in the car and get on and off if you live in the mountains - anyone actually really had +ve things to say about them?

Indeed I do. Further to posting last year here I used them myself in the snow and ice this winter on a Mini Clubman. It was the first time I had first-hand experience of Autosocks and I have to say they worked very well. Again of course it wasn't a back-to-back test with chains but they certainly improved traction a vast amount over standard UK-spec summer tyres. I didn't find any situation they didn't work in, plus they had the benefit of being able to be left on around town where some roads were cleared and others not at all.
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mfj197, Its interesting you say that. I heard that one of their downsides was that their life was measured in metres if you left them on, on a road with no snow/ice. Clearly this isn't true.
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bar shaker wrote:
The big draw of the X3 is BMW's 3.5 TDI engine. .

I'd imagine that sales of the X3 at nearly £40,000 with that engine must be minute, surely most would be sold with the 2.0l Diesel? Anybody who spends £40,000 to buy an X3 needs their head examined.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Maybe, but where do you draw the line. New 2.0 money buys you a 3 year old 4.2 Rangey and that's 10x the car. Or it's a 2006/7 997. I guess we all want different things from cars.
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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!
bar shaker, I'd have the Range Rover without a second thought.

If buying new for something in the same size and style, a Freelander 2, miles better than an X3 and if it's a big boot you're after the Freelander's boot is 50% bigger than an X3, plus it will go off-road.
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Me too. My wife buys her cars new but I prefer something 2-3 years old and get twice the car for the money.

My MD has a 4.2 Vogue and it's an amazing car. It's also been fault free in 2 years and 50k miles. A friend has the latest Freelander and says he can't fault it. Land Rover are making good cars.

I suppose you can get chains for Range Rovers?
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Spyderman,
Quote:

I'd have the Range Rover without a second thought.

I'm having second thoughts having seen actual fuel consumption figures for the Range Rover Skullie
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