A few months ago I professed we were in for a mild winter. How was I so sure? Because I’d got 75KG of rock salt between work & home, and I’d also invested in a set of snow chains for the car…
These are Weissenfels Klack & Go from SnowChains.co.uk, these are a little more expensive than the basic chains you can get, costing £100 rather than £60-70 for my 17″ wheels, but are fitted with a pair of tensioners to automatically keep the chains centred, whereas the cheaper chains require you to retention after a short distance.
Of course after all this preparation, I was completely wrong and we’ve had more snow than you can shake a stick out, and early too. Our area of Chesterfield has been covered in 2-3 feet of snow…
Trust me to choose one of the few Audi’s made in recent times that can’t be bought in ‘quattro’ version.
Finally got round to digging the car out & trying to starter her late in the week (first turn of the key after being left for a week – always a bonus), but the car park was still far too deep in snow to even contemplate trying to move the car.
Today though I’ve finally caved and thought I’d dig a bit deeper and give the car a go on the chains. Fitting was a bit more of a pain in the snow, the chains wrap tight around the wheel and with ice in the way, they weren’t fitting properly, after a few attempts I tried something different, just pull them on and ignore the fact the tensioners & chains are in the wrong place, get in just roll the car 6″ and the tensioners work their magic and pull the chains in to place.
The snow in our car park is still a bit too deep to venture too far, drove it about 30′ but it was getting bogged down in 18″ of snow, but a bit more power & it just pulled itself out. Then reversed back up the hill and back in to the space it came out of. With the Kuhmo’s on last February it was struggling in just an inch or two of slush, so I doubt it’d moved more than a few feet in these conditions. So the chains give a massive improvement in grip in the slippy stuff.
So OK the fitting is a bit of a pain, and strictly speaking they aren’t road legit*, but it’s nice to know you’ve got something ‘in hand’ if you venture out and get yourself stuck, even if it did take yourself as long to get on as you may use them for, and I’m sure with a few more fittings would soon become more proficient. So I’d definitely recommend a set for the boot.
That said if I change wheel sizes though I may well look at the WeissSock which are about £70 and can be left on when you venture on to tarmac where the chains would need to be removed, but they aren’t quite as grippy as the chains.
Winter tyres are also meant to excellent in poor conditions, suddenly means all those BMWs you’ve been laughing at are able to overtake you again when fitted with them, but these do mean having two sets of tyres (some keep them on a spare set of wheels). Still works out a bit pricey for me on my limited mileage, and my work is a walkable distance away and I’m 100 yards from the bus stop at each end, when all the roads are bad I’m quite happy to just leave the car at home/work. For those doing higher mileages and essential jobs I think these would be well worth looking at.
Of course if we get 10 years of winters like the previous 10 years we’ll forget about all this as one of the reasons we all flail when the snow hits, is because we go years without any proper snow…
*I’ve quickly had my statement that chains aren’t road legal in UK questioned on Twitter, but according to Tyre Save “Snowchains and studded tyres are illegal in the UK. The roads are salted to clear snow and ice” HAHAHA!!