Author Topic: Autosocks?  (Read 5441 times)

mountainmama

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Autosocks?
« on: November 30, 2023, 08:13:55 AM »
I drive a 2014 Subaru Crosstrek with 185k miles. Unfortunately I drive close to 20k miles a year. (I've went round and round trying to decide which part of my life I'm willing to give up to change that.) I live in an area that frequently gets snow, but usually doesn't stay around for longer than a day or two. I also ski regularly. Our local mountain requires a steep, winding, 2-lane road that is treacherous on the best skiing days. And sometimes even when the snow isn't that fresh.

I have always had all season tires, and tried to get ones that lean towards being good in the snow. (Current ones are Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady). While I've had some nail-biting days up the mountain, I've never got stuck.

The dilemma: The current tires are almost at the end of their life. I am budgeting to purchase a newer car next year. I don't want to put $800 in new tires on it if I'm going to replace it soon. I also don't want to miss out on skiing because I'm scared to drive. (I'll put the car purchase off if I don't have any serious trouble, but want to be ready to make that decision. I may even get an electric car and keep this one for adventures.)

Question: Has anyone tried out Autosocks?


Alternatepriorities

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2023, 11:01:10 AM »
I had not heard of them before today and actually thought the thread was about auto stocks. :)

I am interested in hearing more about them if anyone has used them. I do way too much driving in the snow here to run anything but true winter tires, but every now and then I could see a use for something more. For example, I was just thinking of looking for some chains for my garden tractor/mini loader but hadn't gotten to it yet.

One other thought on the matter from my late father, "Son, you drive too fast to run bad tires". I was a broke college student in NM and $440 for a decent set of winter tires seemed like a lot of money. I listened, and then cursed the wasted money for the first 1600 miles of my drive home as I saw not a flake... Then for next 1500 miles I drove on nothing but ice, some with groves and some without. The winter tires handled it fine I decided dad had a point, I can buy a lot of sets of tires for the cost of parking in the ditch once. Every year I see a hundred cars plus in the ditch, whenever I stop to help they always have "all season" tires. Granted, it's frequently possible to drive 100 miles here without seeing the road lines. Dad used to say they roll them up at the end of the summer when the last tourist goes south.

Last weekend we had an ice/sleet storm and a good friend mention he was having trouble with his brand new "all" season tires. I convinced him to put my old winter tires on (Saved them to use next summer) until he could find winter tires. This morning he texted to say he'd bought winter tires.

innkeeper77

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2023, 11:13:30 AM »
I have looked into, but not tried them. They appear to do well on ice/snow covered pavement, but they look like they could get packed up easily compared to chains. My adventure vehicle can't use chains in the front, but I am considering V-Bars for the rear and maybe a set of socks for the front just in case I get into a bad ice situation where they would help. Currently my standard chains for the rear has worked, but it's not been easy at times. Remember the socks, while apparently durable,  will not last anywhere as long as chains will!

Look on craigslist / marketplace, you likely have a common tire size and can pick up a "used" (likely new in package) set of socks cheaper than the store.

mountainmama

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2023, 11:28:53 AM »
I should have mentioned that apparently there is not enough space between tires and body to put chains on a Crosstrek.

innkeeper77

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2023, 11:32:21 AM »
That is unsurprising. You MAY be able to fit diamond chains (which are fantastic) or cables (less fantastic) if they are "class S" which means rated for low clearance use- I'd check subaru forums for that though. It also might be doable in the rear but not the front due to the front suspension geometry.

I just personally prefer slightly more durable options, and go to some crazy places. Socks have the advantage of being washable in a clothes washer in comparison to metal chains and cables that need to be rinsed then doused in WD40.

Sibley

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2023, 12:01:00 PM »
First, you're going to replace a 2014 vehicle. Why? If its in decent shape and you've done the maintenance, keep it. It's cheaper.

If you're keeping it, then just get the $800 tires. If you're still going to sell it, then go get new tires that aren't $800. You can find cheaper tires. You might have to get an off brand or something, but it'll be fine.

mountainmama

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2023, 05:16:53 PM »
I know that cars can go way past $200k miles, but I've had quite a few repairs in the past year. Additionally, this car was stolen from me earlier in the year. Fortunately, I got it back. Unfortunately, the thieves had crashed both the front and the rear end. It's in significantly worse shape than it was a few months ago. As far as I know, it's only body damage, but, along with the # of miles on it, I have a sense that it is not as trustworthy as it once was. I know that there are people out there that work on their own cars and are also not too concerned about ending up on the side of the road. (Something that happened to me this past year (alternator).) I am not those people, especially while carting 2 kids around. I'm not walking away yet, just trying to prep for the idea that I might feel like I need to, without pouring unnecessary $ into it for now. Face punch worthy? I hope not, but let me know.

Also, a friend reminded me that there is a free bus that goes to the ski basin! I had written it off before because taking 2 small kids with ski gear on the bus for an hour sounded like a real nightmare. But they are 9 and 12 now and I think it's worth a shot on days I'm nervous about driving.

ToTheMoon

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2023, 09:56:13 PM »
Do you know what vehicle you are hoping to replace it with? I know when my '06 Mazda 3 was at end-of-useable life and I was in the exact same situation (including the drive to the ski hill), I knew that I wanted to get another Mazda 3 hatchback. I went to the tire shop to find out if the newer ones could run the same size winter tires. Turns out they can! So I bought the best quality ones I could find, slapped them on my old car, and enjoyed being safe for the entire season. Sold the car, kept the winters, and used them on my new-to-me Mazda.

Especially if you are travelling with your kiddos in the winter, don't be cheap on the only thing keeping you attached to the road. Drive a shitty car, but on great tires. It is safer for everyone!

Josiecat22222

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2023, 04:41:37 AM »
Subaru Crosstrek has at least another 50K miles on it.  That is a great car for the mountains.

I have always heard that you should buy the best quality you can afford on the three things that stand between you and the ground: shoes, tires and mattresses.  I will compromise on a lot of things, but those three are sacrosanct.

just my 2 cents.

Dave1442397

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2023, 05:26:01 AM »
Subaru Crosstrek has at least another 50K miles on it.  That is a great car for the mountains.

I have always heard that you should buy the best quality you can afford on the three things that stand between you and the ground: shoes, tires and mattresses.  I will compromise on a lot of things, but those three are sacrosanct.

just my 2 cents.

I'm with you there. Tires are one of the things I'll never skimp on. A used car we bought many years ago came with a new set of Uniroyal Tiger Paw tires. My wife was driving that car, and said she wasn't thrilled with how it felt in wet conditions. I happened to take it out one rainy day and it was terrible. I could tell that stopping distance was way longer than on my car, and way longer than I felt comfortable with.

 I bought a new set of good tires, and it made such a difference. I learned to always check the tires on a used car when buying it - not just remaining tread and age, but also the brand. There are a lot of cheap tires out there these days that may work fine if you live in a dry, warm climate, but not so much in the cold and wet conditions we get here.

RWD

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2023, 10:41:51 AM »
You need proper winter tires.

Jon Bon

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2023, 12:34:01 PM »
The one square foot of rubber between the road and your tires is all you have to stop your 4000 pound metal machine.

If you need new tires buy new tires, you might end up buying a new car if you don't.

I know nothing about autosock, but don't mess around with this.


draco44

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2023, 09:49:21 PM »
Drive a shitty car, but on great tires. It is safer for everyone!

This is my take as well. I'd add that I think the free bus you mentioned actually appeals to me as a skiing day aide, but  my two sense to add is that you should have good tires to keep you safe even on days you aren't skiiing. I did a quick google and noticed that these autosock things apparently only last for 300-400 miles. So even if you did buy them, you're back at square one after that.

skiersailor

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2023, 07:34:09 AM »
I use Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tires on dedicated wheels for all of my family's vehicles and love them.  I have also purchased AutoSocks for two vehicles because Colorado has a screwy traction control law that doesn't make sense to me.  The most severe status is the "Passenger Vehicle Chain Law" when it doesn't matter if you have 4WD/AWD or winter tires - every vehicle must have chains or AutoSocks or the equivalent.  Apparently Colorado considers a 2WD car with summer tires and a pair of AutoSocks more capable than a 4WD/AWD vehicle with winter tires.  So I throw AutoSocks in the trunk for compliance purposes but never intend to use them.

I have test-fitted the AutoSocks.  They are easier to install than chains, but you have to think through the scenarios when you would use them.  If you use them on dry pavement you will wear them out and you'll be the slowest vehicle on the road - either blocking traffic or being passed by everyone.  If you wait to install them until the roads are snowpacked, now you have to find a safe place to pull over.  If you are driving over multiple passes in the mountains, do you uninstall and reinstall them each time, or wear them out by using them on the dry segments between the passes?

With winter tires installed you can keep up with traffic, you have good traction during the transition periods which are often the most dangerous, you don't risk getting struck by a vehicle while you're installing or uninstalling traction control devices on the side of the road and you stay warm and dry inside of the vehicle.  In my opinion, all of those reasons justify the cost of good winter tires.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2023, 07:36:59 AM by skiersailor »

JAYSLOL

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Re: Autosocks?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2023, 09:56:04 PM »
I use Nokian Hakkapeliitta winter tires on dedicated wheels for all of my family's vehicles and love them.

+1 I do exactly that too.  Not cheap tires, but they are amazing.  Also agree that auto socks or chains are a blind grab bag of either useless, inconvenient or unsafe depending on scenarios you canít always predict.  Get real winter tires instead.