SNOW CHAINS AND SOCKS and driving on snow. 19 December 2006
It is essential, both sensibly AND by law in Spain to carry and fit the auxiliary devices to tyres that enhance the tyre’s grip on slippery roads especially where there is snow. The treads clog up with snow that is around freezing point and leave you with a smooth tread surface that is unable to grip, but with a “movable tread” formed by the chains or a “sock”, the snow is automatically ejected so there is reasonable grip to keep your vehicle going. Also, cars with front wheel drive are much better for these conditions because the weight of the engine is over the driving and steering wheels. Of course four wheel drive is even better, but they still need chains of socks fitting. Normally you only need to fit them to the driving wheels that are being powered by the engine/transmission.
You may also use studs, the tungsten steel "teeth" that can be fitted to the tread on suitable tyres and are used especially for driving on ice, but they are not so necessary in Spain, only mainly the Scandinavian countries where it does not go above freezing for months and the roads have "black" ice on them.
Full details on the different types of chains and socks and what tyres they may be used with is in the web site (click)
For example, we have a Ford Focus with 196 x 60H x 15 tyres fitted and due to the fact that chains could hit and damage the suspension parts and especially the brake pipes, you cannot use chains, and thsi is noted in the Operator manual. But you can use snow socks.
For those who are travelling to the Sierra Nevada or driving through northern Spain this winter, this is important reading.