How to Choose the Right Fabric Snow Chains Using the Tyre Code

How to Choose the Right Fabric Snow Chains Using the Tyre Code

When driving in wintry conditions, equipping your vehicle with the proper textile snow chains can make a crucial difference in safety and performance. However, with the variety of snow sock sizes available, selecting the right set for your tyres can be daunting if you don't understand how to read the tyre code. In this article, you'll learn how to decipher the alphanumeric sequence printed on the sidewall and use the key dimensions provided to identify compatible fabric snow chains. After reviewing the straightforward process covered here, you'll feel confident that your selection will be the correct one and provide maximum grip and control this winter.

Understanding the Tyre Code

To select the proper fabric snow chains for your vehicle's tyres, you must first understand the tyre code printed on the sidewall of each tyre. This code specifies the dimensions of your tyres in a standardized format.

Size Designation

The first part of the tyre code specifies the width of the tyre in millimeters, followed by a slash and the aspect ratio, expressed as a percentage of the width. For example, a 215/55R17 tyre would be 215 millimeters wide, with a sidewall height that is 55% of the width. The R indicates the tyre has a radial construction. The last part of the tyre code is the inner wheel diameter or rim diameter in inches. In the example above, 17 refers to a 17-inch wheel with 17 inch rims. You will need tyre socks that properly fit this wheel size.

Load Index

Some tyre codes also specify a load index, indicating the maximum weight the tyre can support. Exceeding the load rating of your tyres can lead to damage or reduced control, especially on icy and snowy roads.

By understanding the various parameters in your vehicle's tyre code and checking your owner's manual for any chain size restrictions, you can choose fabric snow chains that will provide safe winter driving performance. The right chains, properly installed on the according drive wheels, can give you extra control and braking ability when roads get slippery.

How to Choose the Correct Textile Snow Chains Based on Tyre Dimensions

Choosing the proper set of textile snow chains for your vehicle’s tyres is critical for safe driving in snow and ice. The tyre size code molded into your tyre’s sidewall provides the necessary details to select compatible snow socks like AutoSock.

An Example

If the tyre sidewall indicates 175/65R15, this provides the following dimensional information:

  • - 175 describes the section width in millimeters.
  • - 65 refers to the aspect profile ratio as a percentage of section height to section width.
  • - R denotes a radial construction wherein the layers run radially across the tyre.
  • - 15 is the rim diameter measurement in inches.
Reading tyre dimensions from the sidewall

To ensure the highest functionality of AutoSock for your vehicle, please input the values for tyre width, profile ratio (aspect ratio), and wheel diameter size obtained from either the tyre code or direct measurement into the first three fields of the online size finder. Accurate dimension data in these three categories allows us to match the proper snow sock model through our continuously updated database covering over 98% of tyre models currently available.

Challenging Tyre Dimensions and Frequent Updates

We wish to notify customers that the tyre dimensions printed on the packaging reflect only the most common sizes and may not include all options available. For a more comprehensive list of available tyre sizes, please refer to our online size finder database that is updated on a frequently basis.

Should a size not be found on our packaging upon review, we kindly request customers reconfirm the noted tyre dimensions before contacting us for assistance or placing an order.

Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio, shown as a percentage, specifies the tyre’s sidewall height in relation to its width. Lower aspect ratio tyres, like 50 or 60, have shorter sidewalls than higher ratios like 70 or 80. Select chains compatible with your tyre’s aspect ratio to ensure a secure fit.

Rim Diameter

The rim diameter, indicated in inches, refers to the diameter of the wheel that the tyre is mounted on. Most passenger vehicles have rim diameters of 13 to 18 inches. Choose chains that match your vehicle’s rim diameter for the best fit and to avoid potential clearance issues.

Load Index

The load index specifies the maximum weight the tyre can support. Choose chains with a comparable or higher load index to properly support your vehicle’s weight. Under-rated chains may not perform adequately for your vehicle’s size.

Speed Rating

The speed rating indicates the maximum speed at which the tyre can safely operate. Typically, chains on passenger cars are operated at a speed of 50km/h or below, which is much lower than the maximum speed defined by the tyre's speed rating. For trucks and busses, metal and fabric snow chains are even restricted to lower speeds such as 30km/h. To conclude, the tire`s speed rating is important to match the maximum speed driven under dry conditions, but do not impact the choice of winter traction devices such as metal chains or snow socks.

How the tyre dimensions on the sidewall are measured
By carefully matching your vehicle’s tyre dimensions and specifications to the correct set of textile snow chains, you can drive with confidence in snow and ice knowing you have the proper traction for the conditions. Take your time to select chains rated for your tyre’s width, aspect ratio, rim diameter, load index, and speed rating for optimal performance and safety.

Frequently Asked Question: Snow Socks vs Metal Chains

Metallic snow chains and textile snow socks are two popular options for providing additional traction on snow and ice. However, there are some key differences to consider when choosing between the two.


Snow chains are made of metal links and cross-chains that securely wrap around the tyre. They are durable and can last for several seasons if properly cared for. As with other products made of metal, links can brake by normal wear. Snow socks, on the other hand, are made of woven fabric, typically with a road contact fabric, inner fabric and elastic. For AutoSock textile socks, additionally there is a front fabric as well as straps that make the mounting and demounting process easier. While more lighter and convenient to use, snow socks typically last for a long time when correctly used. As with all products, it depends on the product quality. To achieve European EN16662-1:2020 certification, AutoSock snow socks must withstand 120km on dry asphalt without safety issues. Durability is further tested for hundreds of kilometers on snow. Proper use is warranted; reading instructions before use is highly recommended, especially avoiding unnecessary wheelspin or driving long distances on clear roads.

Damage Protection

Properly installed snow chains made of metal should not damage the wheel or tyre. However, they can potentially scratch or dent the wheel surface, especially if not installed correctly. Fabric snow socks will not damage tyres or rims. All components are made of textile and evenly cover the tyre and rim surfaces. They help prevent damage to expensive alloy wheels that can occur with metallic snow chain use. AutoSock can also be used on optional tyres and rims where the mounting of snow chains is not recommended.

For Vehicles with Low Clearance

Snow socks are highly effective for vehicles with limited ground clearance. At less than 3mm thick and lightweight, e.g., Autosock requires significantly less installation space relative to traditional snow chains. Conventional metallic snow chains are often not advised for use on vehicles with low clearance, as such chains risk potential damage to the tyre housing during use.

Noise Level and Vibration

Snow chains can be quite noisy as the metal links and cross-chains make contact with the road. The resulting vibration is noticeable and is transmitted to the steering and the steering wheel. The fabric material of snow socks muffles this noise, providing a quieter driving experience and gives a vibration-free driving experience.

Handling and Comfort

Snow socks provide more flexibility and comfort for the driver. They do not affect handling as significantly as traditional snow chains. Textile tyre socks are lighter than traditional chains and take less space in the trunk. Despite the convenience of snow socks, traditional snow chains typically provide a good traction for icy or unplowed roads where maximum grip is needed.

Read more about the impact of textile tyre chains for winter driving here.


As you have seen, choosing the right fabric snow chains for your vehicle's tyres is crucial for safe winter driving. By understanding the tyre code printed on your tyres and the key dimensions it provides, you can easily select chains guaranteed to properly fit your tyres. With the right textile snow chains installed, you'll have peace of mind knowing your vehicle will handle slick, snowy roads this winter. So be sure to double-check your tyre codes, measure accurately, and take your time finding the perfect-fitting snow socks. Manufacturers of snow socks like AutoSock offer an online size finder that ensures you to always find the correct snow sock model for your vehicle. Let the winter adventures come!

Find out about your tyre socks model here