LKLA

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Has anyone used so-called universal snow chains?

We are looking to rent a car for a couple of ski trips so we will not know the exact car we will get, nor of course the width, aspect ratio or diameter of the car's tires. We will most likely end up with a full size sedan - that is about all I know.

I wanted to have something in case things got a bit treacherous out on the road, even if it was good to get us through a few miles.

I've been looking at the following but not sure if they work -

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01NA6EP82/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IX6UIKWO0109F&colid=18N4KTN795MIK&psc=1

https://smile.amazon.com/Rupse-Anti...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V5N472X06AT6M1G3W7W8
 

crgildart

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Has anyone used so-called universal snow chains?

We are looking to rent a car for a couple of ski trips so we will not know the exact car we will get, nor of course the width, aspect ratio or diameter of the car's tires. We will most likely end up with a full size sedan - that is about all I know.

I wanted to have something in case things got a bit treacherous out on the road, even if it was good to get us through a few miles.

I've been looking at the following but not sure if they work -

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01NA6EP82/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IX6UIKWO0109F&colid=18N4KTN795MIK&psc=1

https://smile.amazon.com/Rupse-Anti...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V5N472X06AT6M1G3W7W8
Been down this road a couple times shopping rentals. Sorry, but both those options above will NOT work with standard steel wheels, the kind with hub caps.

Snow socks are probably the closest thing you can get to multi size snow traction enhancement without knowing the exact tire size.

Best bet is to pony up and pay the extra $s to rent a SUV hoping it's AWD. Others can give you the lowdown on snow socks. Might just have to go from the rental car place to the car parts place... buy the right product... return it on the way back to the car rental place if you end up not needing them..
 

cantunamunch

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Has anyone used so-called universal snow chains?

We are looking to rent a car for a couple of ski trips so we will not know the exact car we will get, nor of course the width, aspect ratio or diameter of the car's tires. We will most likely end up with a full size sedan - that is about all I know.

I wanted to have something in case things got a bit treacherous out on the road, even if it was good to get us through a few miles.

I've been looking at the following but not sure if they work -

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01NA6EP82/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IX6UIKWO0109F&colid=18N4KTN795MIK&psc=1

https://smile.amazon.com/Rupse-Anti...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V5N472X06AT6M1G3W7W8
Err...doesn't using chains break most rental agreements?

I understand your trouble, of course, and IMO all snow country rentals should come with fully treaded snow tires in winter ...but there it is.

You don't say where you mean to use these ...east west or ??? but IMO, the situations where those things might work for a few hundred yards (loose snow accumulation on roads), are also the situations where it really pays to stay off the roads. Obviously those will not help in icing conditions, nor will they help get you through chain controls out west.
 
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Ken_R

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Has anyone used so-called universal snow chains?

We are looking to rent a car for a couple of ski trips so we will not know the exact car we will get, nor of course the width, aspect ratio or diameter of the car's tires. We will most likely end up with a full size sedan - that is about all I know.

I wanted to have something in case things got a bit treacherous out on the road, even if it was good to get us through a few miles.

I've been looking at the following but not sure if they work -

https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01NA6EP82/_encoding=UTF8?coliid=IX6UIKWO0109F&colid=18N4KTN795MIK&psc=1

https://smile.amazon.com/Rupse-Anti...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V5N472X06AT6M1G3W7W8
Where are you renting your car and where are you driving to?
 

jzmtl

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I've seen similar ziptie style devices, they are only meant to get you out of a tight spot, not any actual driving. Reviews say they break quickly too.

As for autosocks, I still don't know how would a fabric bag offer better traction in snow. :huh:
 

dbostedo

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As for autosocks, I still don't know how would a fabric bag offer better traction in snow. :huh:
I don't either... but I have used them and they worked well for me. I was unable to get up an incline after several run ups. So I put the autosocks on and drove up it like it was dry pavement. I've used them a couple of times now, with good results each time. They are pretty beat up after a bit of dry pavement driving too.

I'm not sure if you're wondering how they work, or doubting whether or not they really work. Anyway, the FAQ on the website has a bunch of info... and I think the fact that they are acceptable in places where chains are required speaks well of them.
 

Pequenita

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Err...doesn't using chains break most rental agreements?
I've rented cars out of Reno where they gave me an option of buying chains from them, too. So, no.

Independent of that, if everything goes well, then the company never knows. But these days, pretty much all rental vehicles have a tire pressure sensor, and putting on chains triggers the sensors, which gets the company looking there to see what's going on, and they'll attribute every nick in the wheel well to you.
 

jzmtl

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I don't either... but I have used them and they worked well for me. I was unable to get up an incline after several run ups. So I put the autosocks on and drove up it like it was dry pavement. I've used them a couple of times now, with good results each time. They are pretty beat up after a bit of dry pavement driving too.

I'm not sure if you're wondering how they work, or doubting whether or not they really work. Anyway, the FAQ on the website has a bunch of info... and I think the fact that they are acceptable in places where chains are required speaks well of them.

Mostly how they work, maybe the fabrics had carbide grits embedded in. :huh:
 

dbostedo

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Mostly how they work, maybe the fabrics had carbide grits embedded in. :huh:
No... the fabric doesn't have anything hard or sharp or stud-like in it. It does have a little texture. Here's the "how they work" explanation from the website :

It is well known that snow and ice sticks to textiles. AutoSock is made from 100% high-technology fibers. These fibers, which become hairier with use, are arranged in a specific pattern in order to optimize grip. The specially developed textile has the advantage of handling water film found between the icy and snowy road and the tyre, (generated for example by heat from the sun, or wheel spin), thereby maximizing the grip.

Tribology/ Dry vs. wet friction

Tribology is defined as the science and technology of interacting surfaces in relative motion and of the practices related thereto.

A tribological system consists of three parts:

  • Upper surface
  • Lubricants
  • Lower surface
In the case of friction on icy or snowy roads the upper surface is the tyre or AutoSock, the lubricant is water film created by frictional melting and liquid layer on the ice/snow, and the lower surface is the icy or snowy road.

When the water film thickness is insignificant, we have dry friction; this is the case when braking a car at -20ºC. When the water film separates the two surfaces, we have wet friction; this is the case when a car water planes. AutoSock wants to have as large area as possible under the AutoSock with dry friction, since dry friction gives the highest friction coefficient.

Snow vs. Ice friction

AutoSock has:

  • A surface pattern that makes the total contact area exposed to friction sufficiently large under both soft and hard snow or ice conditions
  • A combination of surface pattern, strength and elasticity that make the contact points sufficiently sticky under hard snow or ice conditions
To some extent we have a trade off between good friction properties on snow relative to ice. It is favourable to open up the structure in order to increase the total contact area exposed to friction on snow. At the same time the contact points need to be sufficiently sticky on hard ice. The contact configuration of a tyre or AutoSock can be quite different on snow relative to ice.

Electrical parameters

The AutoSock is made of a special high friction textile fabric. In a frictional AutoSock sliding situation, electrostatic pressures can be defined in:

  • The air gaps between: a) the sock surface and the icy or snowy road, b) the sock surface and the water film, c) the water film and the icy or snowy road surface.
  • The interfacial contacts between: a) the sock surface and the icy or snowy road surface, b) the sock surface and the water film, c) the water film and the icy or snowy road surface.
  • The water film.
The dry friction process is dominated and characterised by accumulation of electrostatic charges in the slider contact points. The frictional water film initiates discharge of potential differences between the slider and the sliding surface due to the much higher electrical conductivity of water relative to snow/ice.

The topography of the slider and the sliding surface is decisive for the electrical contact configuration between the slider and the sliding surface.

The electrolytic conductivity of a melted snow/ice sample may indicate the rate of ions introduced to the interface between snow/ice and the slider by frictional melting and thereby the rate and ease of discharge between the slider and snow/ice through the frictional water film during braking. Larger frictional electrification should take place on snow/ice with low electrical conductivity compared to snow/ice with high electrical conductivity.
 

jzmtl

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Yeah I read that, maybe in ideal condition compare to summer tires, not convinced when compare with winter tires. Plus with no tread it'll be plugged up by snow and become slick snow donut, which could happen to winter tires as well.
 

Eleeski

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I went through chain control in Truckee with chains made of rope. Got me over Donner pass safely. But by the time chain control ended, the ropes had disintegrated. Granted, the ropes were old retired water ski ropes and kind of rotten. I was bummed about littering but it was easy removal. I now carry rope for my emergency rental car chains.

Walmart next to the Reno airport has a good selection of cable chains. Cheaper than the rental chains and I now have a pretty good selection of new and slightly used chains at the cabin. Only once did I have to turn in the car with chains (off the wheels, of course) and I didn't get charged.

Buying chains sucks - guarantees that the snow will stop falling.

Eric
 

François Pugh

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I went through chain control in Truckee with chains made of rope. Got me over Donner pass safely. But by the time chain control ended, the ropes had disintegrated. Granted, the ropes were old retired water ski ropes and kind of rotten. I was bummed about littering but it was easy removal. I now carry rope for my emergency rental car chains.

Walmart next to the Reno airport has a good selection of cable chains. Cheaper than the rental chains and I now have a pretty good selection of new and slightly used chains at the cabin. Only once did I have to turn in the car with chains (off the wheels, of course) and I didn't get charged.

Buying chains sucks - guarantees that the snow will stop falling.

Eric
An old motorcyclist's trick.
 

François Pugh

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Yeah I read that, maybe in ideal condition compare to summer tires, not convinced when compare with winter tires. Plus with no tread it'll be plugged up by snow and become slick snow donut, which could happen to winter tires as well.
Considering that the fabric sock does not need to last 30,000 miles like the snow tires, I'm not surprised they can design it to stick to snow and ice better than a tire.
 

crgildart

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A couple people here swear by snow socks. @dbostedo used them to get past some pretty bad Blue Knob PA ice that put our Forester to the test.. which we passed with flying colors.. But, that was the first time I saw snow socks in action. It was quite surprising. Best part is how easy they are to put on and take off.
 

dbostedo

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Yeah I read that, maybe in ideal condition compare to summer tires, not convinced when compare with winter tires. Plus with no tread it'll be plugged up by snow and become slick snow donut, which could happen to winter tires as well.
I don't think you need to doubt - they work well, comparable by all testing and account to snow tires, and better than the all-season's on my car. As I mentioned, several states that have chain laws allow you to use Autosocks as well. Here's a little more of the situation crgildart mentioned above :

-- Driving up to Blue Knob in PA after some snow and ice fall... the roads were fine until the last couple hundred feet of elevation, where everything is snow and ice covered
-- I'm in a FWD Acura TSX, and pretty experienced driving in winter conditions
-- I made a right turn that then goes up a hill... maybe 50 yards of hill... got about half way to the steepest part and had no traction..
-- I let the car slide back down the hill (I didn't need to reverse, it slid) to where it shallowed out and took a couple more runs at it with some speed (as much as I could get with a short approach)... no luck, and slid into the side snow bank coming back down, and could no longer go forward or very far backward
-- So I put the snow socks on and drove straight up it like the ice and snow weren't there.
 

Fishbowl

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Yeah I read that, maybe in ideal condition compare to summer tires, not convinced when compare with winter tires. Plus with no tread it'll be plugged up by snow and become slick snow donut, which could happen to winter tires as well.
Stop supposing and try them. They work.

They do come in specific sizes for specific tires, so are not a universal solution for generic rentals.
 

PTskier

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Those plastic things will shred quickly when you have to drive through a dry section. They come in several sizes--note the questions relate to certain tire sizes and the vendor says something like, "don't get this size, get that size."

I agree with Elee...get a set of cheapo cables at Wally or anyplace else convenient.

When you rent, take a good look at the depth of tire tread and the mileage on the car. If there is much mileage or the tread worn halfway or more, switch cars. About that time I rented from Hertz in Denver, and the car had 45k, and Arizona plates (which meant lots of hot highways), and it tried to go sideways on every slick spot....:crossfingers:
 

crgildart

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And again, the fine print and instructions for those cable tie devices CLEARLY say they are only intended for aluminum or mag wheels, NOT for steel rims standard models come with... i.e. the ones with hub caps won't work.. I suspect the sharp edges on the spot welded steel rims cuts right through the straps assuming you can even get them threaded through them at all
 

dbostedo

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I know I sound like an Autosock salesman at this point, but for very occasional use, they seems like a great answer. Very easy to take on and off (which is important for spur-of-the-moment use), work well, and are easy to toss into the car and carry around. They are a little pricey - I think I paid $80 for mine. But that seems to be the only drawback.
 
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