How to Find the Correct Textile Snow Chains Using the Tire Code

The tire code showed on different sidewalls of several tires

Proper equipment is essential when operating a vehicle in wintry conditions. Installing the correct textile snow chains can significantly improve safety and performance. However, with the many snow sock size options available, choosing compatible fabric snow chains for your tires may seem challenging without understanding the tire code. This article will explain how to interpret the alphanumeric sequence printed on the sidewall and use the key metrics listed to find suitable snow chains. After reviewing the straightforward matching process described herein, you can feel assured your choice will be the right one to maximize traction and stability this winter season.

Understanding the Tire Code

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

Size designation

The first part of the tire code specifies the width of the tire in millimeters, followed by a slash and the aspect ratio, expressed as a percentage of the width. For example, a 215/55R17 tire would be 215 millimeters wide, with a sidewall height that is 55% of the width. The R indicates the tire has a radial construction. The last part of the tire 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 tire socks that properly fit this wheel size.

Load Index

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

By understanding the various parameters in your vehicle's tire 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 Tire Dimensions

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

An Example

If the tire 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 tire.

- 15 is the rim diameter measurement in inches.

To ensure the highest functionality of AutoSock for your vehicle, please input the values for tire width, profile ratio (aspect ratio), and wheel diameter size obtained from either the tire 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 tire models currently available.

Challenging Tire Dimensions and Frequent Updates

We wish to notify customers that the tire 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 tire 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 tire dimensions before contacting us for assistance or placing an order.

The Number of Snow Socks Needed

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

By carefully matching your vehicle’s tire 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 tire’s width, aspect ratio, rim diameter, load index, and speed rating for optimal performance and safety.

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

Frequently Asked Question: Snow Socks vs Tire 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 tire. 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 tire. However, they can potentially scratch or dent the wheel surface, especially if not installed correctly. Fabric snow socks will not damage tiyres or rims. All components are made of textile and evenly cover the tire 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 tires 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 tire 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 tire 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 tire chains for winter driving here.


Choosing the right fabric snow chains for your tires is really important for safe winter driving. If you understand the code printed on your tires and the dimensions it gives, you can easily pick chains that will definitely fit your tires correctly. With the right textile snow chains on, you'll feel better knowing your vehicle will do well on slippery, snowy roads this winter. So definitely double check your tire codes, measure carefully, and take your time finding the snow socks that fit just right. Snow sock manufacturers like AutoSock offer an online size finder to make sure you always get the correct model of snow sock for your vehicle. Let the winter fun begin!


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