Proper Installation of Snow Socks for Front, Rear, and Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Proper Installation of Snow Socks for Front, Rear, and Four-Wheel Drive Vehicles

As the winter season approaches, many drivers will need to equip their vehicles with snow chains for added traction and safety on snowy or icy roads. While the proper installation of textile tyre chains may seem straightforward, there are specific considerations and best practices to follow depending on whether you drive a front wheel, rear wheel, or four-wheel drive vehicle. Understanding how to fit snow socks to your tyres before heading out on snow-covered roads will ensure they function as intended, keeping you and your passengers safe. Continue reading for step-by-step guidance on selecting, prepping, and fitting chains for front, rear and four-wheel drive set-ups. Please keep in mind: Some car manufacturers do not allow the installation of metallic snow chains for certain car models. Here a textile traction device can be the solution.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Textile Tyre Chains on Front, Rear Wheels and for 4WD vehicles

Front Wheel Installation

The installation of the AutoSock product on the front wheels is a straightforward process consisting of three simple steps:

Step 1: Install the AutoSock onto the top half of the tyre. Pull the socks down as far as the available space in the wheel well allows. For vehicles with limited room to access the tyre from inside the wheel well, it is recommended to first turn the steering wheel fully left and right. This allows the installer to pull the AutoSock down on both sides of the wheel.

Step 2: Rotate the vehicle forward or backward by half a wheel turn. The direction of rotation at this step does not impact the subsequent mounting process.

Step 3: Pull the AutoSock over the remaining uncovered portion of the tyre.

Please keep in mind that AutoSock tyre socks are designed to self-centre as the vehicle is driven. The product should be removed prior to driving on cleared roads.

To further assist AutoSock customers in properly mounting the snow socks, the Norwegian company has published an installation guide in English. This guide provides additional details on the mounting process for front wheel driven cars. Seeing a video demonstration of the installation may also help users successfully complete the steps.

Installation Guide for Snow Socks on Front Wheels (Video)

Rear Wheel Installation

To install textile tyre chains on your rear wheels, repeat the same steps outlined above for the front wheels. Stretch the elastic opening of the AutoSock over the top half of the tyre, pulling the cover down to encapsulate as much of the tyre as feasible. Ensure the elastic sits just behind the tyre tread. Reposition the vehicle so the mounted half of the AutoSock is beneath the wheel. Pull the remaining cover portion over the rest of the tyre. The AutoSock is designed to self-adjust to center once the vehicle begins moving.

Installation Guide for Snow Socks on Rear Wheels (Video)

With proper installation of textile tyre chains on front and rear wheels according to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations, you will have optimized traction for driving on snow and ice. Be sure to recheck the fit of your snow socks within the first mile of driving to ensure maximum performance and safety.

Installing Textile Tyre Chains on 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles

To install textile tyre chains on a 4-wheel drive vehicle, you will need two sets of snow socks for all four tyres. To install tyre socks on your 4WD vehicle, follow the same mounting steps for both the front and rear wheels as mentioned above.

For four-wheel drive vehicles, refer to the manufacturer's recommendation in your vehicle owner's manual concerning traction devices / snow chains. We usually recommend mounting AutoSock on all four tyres for 4WD, but some manufacturers may recommend mounting traction devices on the rear or front tyres only.

You have never heard about textile tyre chains? Then read here about what snow socks are, why you need and how to use them. 

Recommendations For Maintenance and Usage of Snow Socks

When installed and used properly on appropriate road surfaces, fabric tyre socks can log hundreds of kilometres before needing a replacement. However, as textile tyre chains are primarily designed for intermittent snow and ice use, their functional life is shortened when left installed on dry pavement. Thus, it is best to remove snow socks as soon as the road conditions allow in order to maximize their utility over multiple winter seasons. But there are more recommendations to consider that are mentioned below.

Recommended Driving Speeds

AutoSock's recommended driving speeds vary by vehicle type. Passenger cars should drive at or below 50 km/h, while busses and forklifts should stay at or below 30 km/h.

Road conditions on snowy roads change due to weather, time of day, and altitude. You may need to reduce your speed further depending on circumstances.

Exceeding the recommended speeds could cause wheel spin as tyres lose traction. This makes it difficult for the engine's energy to transfer effectively to the road surface.

Fabric tyre chains rely on friction between the fabric and snow/ice layer to create traction. Exceeding recommended speeds diminishes their effectiveness. When using fabric tyre chains, refer to the posted guidance.

Tips For Usage and Care

Following basic precautions maximizes snow socks lifespan. For new or existing users, consider the following:

  • Use socks matching your tyre size for optimal performance and safety. The tyre dimensions are marked on the tyres.
  • Only use snow socks on snowy or icy roads as use on cleared roads significantly shortens lifespan. Remove promptly after reaching cleared hazardous surfaces.
  • Do not exceed recommended speeds for maximum effectiveness and longevity. High speeds on snowy roads increase safety risks. Reduce speeds as conditions require.
  • Drive cautiously, allow extra stopping distance, and avoid wheel spin when snow socks are installed.
  • Remove textile chains when parking over 30 minutes to avoid freezing. Moisture absorbed during use can freeze if parked long-term.
  • Thoroughly clean and dry chains after each use before the storage. Some textile chains like AutoSock can be machine washed.

Snow Socks Work with Electronic Safety Systems

The AutoSock traction fabric provides consistent coverage across the entire tyre surface, eliminating variations in traction levels often associated with traditional snow chains. This allows AutoSock to integrate seamlessly with all electronic vehicle systems, allowing drivers to retain the benefits of technologies such as stability control and traction control when AutoSock is installed.

Replacement Guidelines

We use AutoSock guidelines as an example, but replacement standards vary by manufacturer.

AutoSock uses a two-layer fabric design where the outer white layer wears to reveal the inner black layer. Replace the socks when the black fabric starts mixing with the white - this is an easy visual indicator that it is time to replace your snow socks with new ones.

For any more questions regarding snow socks, please refer to our extended FAQ page. 


In closing, by following the step-by-step instructions outlined above and taking proper safety precautions, you can successfully install textile tyre chains on front, rear, and four-wheel drive vehicles. With the right tools, materials, and knowledge of proper chain sizing and placement, you'll be equipped to traverse snowy and icy roads safely this winter. Regular inspection and maintenance of your textile tyre chains is also essential. Taking the time to properly install and care for your chains will provide peace of mind that your vehicle will have dependable traction when you need it most.


Check your snow socks model here