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AutoSock research and development

The basic principles of how they work – in layman's terms!

Many of us have memories of snowballing in woolly gloves, and cold snow balling up and sticking to our gloves. In snowy regions, many older people will still pull an old pair of woolly socks over their outside boots to get a better grip.

Ice is actually quite sticky – if you’ve touched an icy metal railing with a bare hand you’ll know from experience how sticky it is! It's the film of water on the surface that makes ice slippery. It's a similar story with snow.

“Making it sticky” is the principle behind AutoSock – the aim is to dry the road surface that’s in contact with the tyre as much as possible in the time available, so as to maximise the available dry friction.

Diagram showing how AutoSock works

Parts of an AutoSock – what they do and why it matters.

Every part of an AutoSock has an important part to play in making it the product it is – best performance, best wear rate, best safety.

AutoSock's specially developed high-tech Road Contact Fabric absorbs the water, which is then flung out under centrifugal force. The hairs in the fabric have been designed to be an optimum shape and an optimum pattern.

The inside of the Road Contact Fabric is a ‘ripstop’ cross weave, to increase strength and prevent tearing; bands of ultra-strength fibre, running from side to side across the Road Contact Fabric, will prevent any wear holes from moving from segment to segment, slowing the wear rate and helping to ensure the integrity of the product as it reaches the end of its useful life – it can’t suddenly fail.

The Front Mesh, sometimes called the Front Fabric, stabilises the AutoSock – it prevents the sock from being pulled inside the wheel; AutoSock's testing has shown how competitor products without a stabilizing mechanism tend to be pulled inside the wheel, especially in very wet snow (water is very slippery!) and especially on full lock, which is very bad news from a safety perspective.

AutoSock's Front Mesh also stops snow from falling into the space between the tyre and the Road Contact Fabric – but the optimum size of the mesh allows powder snow, which has got in through the holes in the wheel rim, to be flung out sideways. Snow socks with a solid front fabric tend to be pulled off the wheel by the accumulating weight of powder snow.

The Front Mesh is crucial to performance and safety; it is unfortunately an expensive component.

AutoSock components from the outside
AutoSock components from the inside

The front Straps improve the essential stability outlined above; the wider orange straps are also used when fitting and removing the AutoSock, and of course they are also a core part of AutoSock's branding – they are AutoSock's signature!

The Inner Fabric, made from the same grade material as high quality parachutes, holds the AutoSock in position behind the tyre, and also helps the black elastic strap to find its optimal position and optimal tension, without delay.

The Elastic holds the AutoSock in position, and helps with self-centring and overall stability – it is of course essential for safety reasons that an AutoSock will not fall outwards from a wheel. The optimum tenacity, elasticity and strength of this component were identified and refined during the long R&D phase.

In summary, every component in an AutoSock has an important role to play; we ask our potential business customers to remember this basic fact before buying into the knock offs that they might be offered. What price safety?

AutoSock tests and approvals

AutoSock handling evaluation on snow surface

This TÜV spidergram compares the handling of a car using AutoSock, snow chains and normal winter tyres on snow. The results show that:

  1. AutoSock has easily got the best general traction, uphill and downhill course holding and braking behavior.
  2. AutoSock is only slightly behind snow chains when it comes to hill start traction and ground level starts.
  3. AutoSock are significantly more effective than winter tyres in the short term; imagine what a difference they make to all-weather tyres and, especially, to summer tyres!