Jubitz Truck Service Center
Tire Chains Versus Tire Socks
January 18, 2021
In North America, the winter trucking months bring harsh driving conditions that can require tire chains or tire socks. While many companies advertise the sale of these devices, few explain the differences between them. Truckers know that even if the weather gets a little rough, the drive must go on. So, when faced with the potential of weather emergencies, choosing the right equipment is vital.
Both these devices have a handful of names: tire chains, snow chains, traction chains, tire socks, snow socks, and auto socks to name a few. Ultimately, most folks in truck service centers will know what you’re talking about, so it doesn’t matter what you call them. All these names start to tackle the purpose and use of these devices.
Tire chains and socks help increase traction on snow and ice. Traction is a force that generates motion and is why tires and even tennis shoes have treads on them. You want a good grip between the road and your tires when driving because without it you’ll slide around! Bad weather conditions can interfere with the traction needed to drive safely. Tire socks are textile-based wraps, whereas tire chains are metal chains in cable or link designs that go around a vehicle’s wheel according to tire diameter and tread width. Both come in a variety of sizes and styles and are typically sold in pairs.
Traction Device Usage
A major difference between chains and socks are their regulated use. Transportation authorities can regulate the use of tire chains and go so far as enforcing their use during certain months, requiring vehicles to have them on hand and even restricting their usage. In contrast, tire socks are not always considered a legal equivalent to chains, however some brands are individually approved.
Due to material variances, using tire socks without metal components can be allowed in areas where chains may not be permitted, but this depends on local laws. This means that drivers who experience challenging road conditions in a no-chains zone can potentially still use socks to improve traction. Tire socks are also generally less damaging to roads which can make them preferable. The Jubitz Truck Service Center carries EasySox brand of tire socks.
When driving with either device though, driving speeds must be significantly reduced. Different chains and socks will recommend various maximum speeds, but they typically fall anywhere between 20-30 mph. Lower speeds are also to be expected in poor weather conditions when sight might also be impaired.
Damage to tires and personnel may occur when installing or using either device incorrectly. It’s critical to get the right fit and type of chains and socks for your vehicle. Be sure to double check the sizing and get assistance if you need a second pair of hands. If you’re in the Portland area or driving through, the Jubitz Truck Service Center has a selection of both chains and socks! Learn more here.