Frequently Asked Questions
When, where and how do I use AutoSock?
As with snow chains, AutoSock is normally installed on the driving wheels of your vehicle. Your vehicle owner's manual has information about snow chains that you should refer to. Usually, four-wheel drive vehicles require snow chains or AutoSock on all four tires. For feature-specific questions, such as those related to four-wheel drive or the use of electronic safety systems, please see the next question "Can I use AutoSock with ... ?".
To install AutoSock, stretch the black elastic band over the top half of your tire and pull the AutoSock down, covering as much of the tire as possible.
Move the vehicle until the mounted half is under the wheel, then pull the AutoSock over the remaining part of the tire.
Detailed instructions and gloves are included. The bag also doubles as knee-support. AutoSock will automatically self-center when you start driving.
If you are wondering how AutoSock works, imagine sledding on a knitted sweater. The fibrous material of AutoSock works similarly to the skins used for backcountry skiing. Fibers pierce through the surface and create friction against the snow or ice. While the individual fibers do not provide much traction, the sum of the AutoSock surface area has a significant effect - enough for even the largest commercial vehicles.
Traditionally, the indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions would wear fur boots to provide traction on slippery surfaces. Until recently, Norwegians achieved a similar effect by wearing wool socks over their shoes. AutoSock became the first automotive snow sock by bridging these concepts with the framework of a vehicle. Historically, cars were not used during the winter months. On the occasion they were needed, owners would place rugs in front of the tires as an emergency traction aid. Henry Ford was supposedly one of the first to do this. AutoSock takes the rug off the ground and wraps it around the tire.
From a more technical perspective, there is always a thin film of water between the tire and any non-dry surface, including snow and ice. The small, fibrous "hairs" of AutoSock penetrate this film of water and bridge the tires directly to the road surface.
With correct use, AutoSock will become hairier over time, which improves the traction properties.
Can I use AutoSock with … ?
AutoSock is possibly the most compatible traction product in the market: Four-wheel drive, low wheel arches, ESP, ABS, alloy rims – you name it. With the exception of studded tires, AutoSock is widely compatible. If your vehicle has an exceptional feature, contact us and our engineers will review the feature.
Mount AutoSock on axles (wheels) connected to the drivetrain. For four-wheel drive vehicles, refer to the manufacturer's recommendation in your vehicle owner's manual. We usually recommend mounting AutoSock on all four tires for 4WD, but some manufacturers, such as Jeep or Tesla, may recommend mounting traction devices on the rear tires only. If you are unsure, contact your manufacturer or dealership. If they are not familiar with snow socks, you can use their guideline for tire chains.
Unlike snow chains, or snow socks with elastics on both sides, AutoSock does not cause damage to your wheel well, break lines or axles if it detaches or breaks. In general, snow socks have the benefit of being damage-free to rims.
AutoSock can also be shared between multiple vehicles and tires sizes. Please verify the compatible sizes on the packaging or use our Size finder to make sure AutoSock fits the tire dimensions in question.
Please note that the tire dimensions on our packaging only reflect the most common dimensions. Our online size finder includes an extended database that should be referenced if your size is not on our packaging.
Is AutoSock a legal alternative to tire chains?
AutoSock is a legal alternative to snow chains (tire chains) for cars and trucks in the majority of North America and Europe. For a detailed overview, please see our legal page.
What are the limitations of AutoSock?
AutoSock is a textile tire cover and may tear if used incorrectly. The product is not intended for studded tires, gravel or clear roads. Use AutoSock on snow, slush or ice at speeds less than 50km/h (30mph). Avoid wheelspin, extreme acceleration and extreme braking to increase the longevity of AutoSock. Instructions with detailed information about use and installation are included.
There is generally some skepticism surrounding the durability of textile traction devices. These impressions are mostly the result of a wide range of low-quality products that have attempted to replicate AutoSock cosmetically rather than technically. Decent competition exists and can be identified by verifying the certifications they claim to hold. For more on this, please see the next question "What makes AutoSock different from the competition?". A quick give-away is if the product claims TÜV SÜD certification, as AutoSock is the only textile traction device with this feature.
AutoSock is tested and certified according to strict standards for performance and durability. We initiate and support testing both in-house and through third-parties. The certification bodies use snow chain (tire chain) standards and include TÜV SÜD, ÖNORM, automotive manufacturers, private organizations and government agencies. To obtain TÜV SÜD and ÖNORM certifications, AutoSock was tested on 100km (62 miles) of dry asphalt. Automotive manufacturers have tested AutoSock on dry conditions for more than 300km (186 miles) before suspending the tests due to excellent results. AutoSock is an official accessory to the BMW Group (including MINI), Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia and more.
AutoSock has retailed in partnership or with approval from BMW, MINI, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Citröen, Hyundai, Kia, Opel, Jaguar, Land Rover, Nissan, Bentley, and Volvo.
AutoSock is silent and vibration-free during use. People accustomed to chains will often forget they have AutoSock installed and thus exceed the recommended speed limit or forget to remove the product, resulting in unnecessary wear. AutoSock warrants proper use and we highly recommend reading the included instructions. By avoiding unnecessary wheelspin and longer distances on clear roads, AutoSock will last a long time. However, due to the variety of driving behaviors we are unable to guarantee a specific range. Every component of AutoSock - from the contact fabric to the straps - is engineered and tested for longevity. AutoSock can be installed and uninstalled many times without problems. AutoSock is not a single-use solution, but a legitimate alternative to snow chains (tire chains).
As mentioned in the first FAQ, the traction properties of AutoSock improve with use as the contact fabric becomes fuzzier. AutoSock does not require maintenance, but we recommend shaking out dirt after use and letting it dry properly before re-packing. AutoSock is machine washable at 40°C / 100°F. If left on overnight, please do not use the AutoSock until unfrozen.
What makes AutoSock different from the competition?
AutoSock is the only textile snow chain alternative certified according to TÜV SÜD standards PPP 53219:2000 for cars and PPP 53283:2006 for trucks.
There are no other textile traction devices with more than 15 years of research and development, which includes continuous test driving, technical development and optimization. AutoSock AS was the original "snow sock" innovator and the first of its kind on the market. We hold a globally leading amount of approvals by automotive manufacturers.
AutoSock has been developed in collaboration with automotive manufacturers – not just sold to them.
All key features of AutoSock are protected by patents owned by AutoSock AS, headquartered in Oslo, Norway. Additionally, our products are covered by a solid product liability insurance in all of our 60+ markets. When considering snow sock options, we highly recommend requesting certificates of approval and inquiring about liability insurance. Unfortunately, the current market is saturated with false claims.