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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read many forum posts regarding winter tires, usage of chains and general performance of the Bolt in snow conditions. So I thought it would be useful to write a brief review of snow socks for people who are interested. Yesterday I set out to Donner Pass for a ski day, while Northern California was experiencing a winter snow system. I have the stock tires on the Bolt, but knew that Donner pass has chain controls. However, the Bolt does not support the use of chains as there is not enough clearance for them to work without damaging the suspension. So I did some research, and found that there is a product called "Snow socks" that fit around the tire to produce more traction in snow/ice conditions. Since they are a somewhat thin layer of material (seems rather like carpet) that goes over the tread, they are safe for the Bolt to use at low speed (<30 mph). They are also approved on California roads, but caltrans may turn you away if they deem the conditions are too dangerous. Here is the link to them, with the proper size for the Bolt's tires:


Donner pass got ~12 inches of snow over a 12 hour window yesterday. The roads were plowed but probably had a few inches over any given region above 5500 ft. I installed the socks at a chain control point. They are a bit tricky to put on, as their fit is rather snug, but I'd say you could do 2 tires in about 15 minutes. An attednant at the gas station told me they might not let me on the road with these, but caltrans waived me on without a problem. I imagine if the snow was more significant, the case might be different. With the few inches of snow on the road, they handled very well. I saw several other cars slide out into the ditch, and a car in front of me almost lost control and wrecked. There was one moment where I temparialry slid for about 3 - 4 seconds, but the traction control kicked in and I was able to stay in my lane. One negative of this product is that it doesn't seem as if they will last long. After driving with them for about 25 miles, they have already developed a couple of small holes. I expect by the end of the season, they will be worn out and not very useful. It's important to remove these as soon as the snow clears on the road, as driving on bare pavement produces excessive wear.

So overall, I'd say if you live in a wintery climate, the best bet is getting a dedicated pair of snow tires. However, if you very occasionally go up to the mountains in the winter, and want something that will provide safe traction in the snow for a limited duration, then I think the Snowsock is a useful tool. I give them 3/5 EV1s.
 

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After driving with them for about 25 miles, they have already developed a couple of small holes. I expect by the end of the season, they will be worn out and not very useful. It's important to remove these as soon as the snow clears on the road, as driving on bare pavement produces excessive wear.
Do let us know how they hold up. I was under the impression that they were basically single use. I had planned on doing more winter driving, but not this year. I was thinking of getting a set of cheap steelies and mounting nice snow tires on them.
 

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It's generally only on Brockway Summit (Hwy 267) between Truckee and Kings Beach where they exclude "chain alternatives" due to the steepness of the grade. On Donner Summit, the issue is that there only 3 or 4 identified places that they use for chain control. So you might be forced to put the socks on at Donner Lake interchange, drive 10 miles on pavement, then 1/2 mile of snow at the summit, and then a bunch more pavement before you get to the end of the chain control. That sucks, no matter what chains you have. I have Michelin X Ice on my Bolt and it has been a champ so far around town this winter in snow and black ice. I need to buy some auto socks just for that day where the law says they have to be on, even though they may be worse than the dedicated snow tire.
 

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What about those tread enhancers that look like orange ZIP ties with plastic studs? You wrap 4 around each drive tire. They cost $15.99 for 10 of them. Anybody have any experience with them?
 

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I also ran into these online, I was wondering if they would be an option - they look kind of ridiculous but they claim to be compatible even on vehicles that say not to use tire chains:


They are very expensive however, it would be cheaper to buy snow tires!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do let us know how they hold up. I was under the impression that they were basically single use. I had planned on doing more winter driving, but not this year. I was thinking of getting a set of cheap steelies and mounting nice snow tires on them.
That's a good idea. How much do you think those wheels would cost?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's generally only on Brockway Summit (Hwy 267) between Truckee and Kings Beach where they exclude "chain alternatives" due to the steepness of the grade. On Donner Summit, the issue is that there only 3 or 4 identified places that they use for chain control. So you might be forced to put the socks on at Donner Lake interchange, drive 10 miles on pavement, then 1/2 mile of snow at the summit, and then a bunch more pavement before you get to the end of the chain control. That sucks, no matter what chains you have. I have Michelin X Ice on my Bolt and it has been a champ so far around town this winter in snow and black ice. I need to buy some auto socks just for that day where the law says they have to be on, even though they may be worse than the dedicated snow tire.
Yeah, it does suck that they force the chain controls. When I was living in Canada, I had the Mich. X Ice tires on my Spark EV and they handled like a champ up in Edmonton. No one uses chains up there, all snow tires. But I suppose California drivers who aren't used to snow drive kind of crazy so the chain controls are almost like a psychological reinforcement to be careful.
 

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Thanks for your post and information. I also live in an area that has mountain passes that can require traction device use on 2-wd vehicles from November 1st to April 1st. I only make 3 or 4 trips each year across the pass durring winter but usually can't schedule these trips around the weather. Now when they close the pass that's another issue......
 

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2021 Bolt LT
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What about those tread enhancers that look like orange ZIP ties with plastic studs? You wrap 4 around each drive tire. They cost $15.99 for 10 of them. Anybody have any experience with them?

I have some of them. I had never needed to use them, I kept them in the back of my Chevy Cruise for years and I plan on tossing them in the trunk of the bolt in the winter months.
 

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I have read many forum posts regarding winter tires, usage of chains and general performance of the Bolt in snow conditions. So I thought it would be useful to write a brief review of snow socks for people who are interested. Yesterday I set out to Donner Pass for a ski day, while Northern California was experiencing a winter snow system. I have the stock tires on the Bolt, but knew that Donner pass has chain controls. However, the Bolt does not support the use of chains as there is not enough clearance for them to work without damaging the suspension. So I did some research, and found that there is a product called "Snow socks" that fit around the tire to produce more traction in snow/ice conditions. Since they are a somewhat thin layer of material (seems rather like carpet) that goes over the tread, they are safe for the Bolt to use at low speed (<30 mph). They are also approved on California roads, but caltrans may turn you away if they deem the conditions are too dangerous. Here is the link to them, with the proper size for the Bolt's tires:


Donner pass got ~12 inches of snow over a 12 hour window yesterday. The roads were plowed but probably had a few inches over any given region above 5500 ft. I installed the socks at a chain control point. They are a bit tricky to put on, as their fit is rather snug, but I'd say you could do 2 tires in about 15 minutes. An attednant at the gas station told me they might not let me on the road with these, but caltrans waived me on without a problem. I imagine if the snow was more significant, the case might be different. With the few inches of snow on the road, they handled very well. I saw several other cars slide out into the ditch, and a car in front of me almost lost control and wrecked. There was one moment where I temparialry slid for about 3 - 4 seconds, but the traction control kicked in and I was able to stay in my lane. One negative of this product is that it doesn't seem as if they will last long. After driving with them for about 25 miles, they have already developed a couple of small holes. I expect by the end of the season, they will be worn out and not very useful. It's important to remove these as soon as the snow clears on the road, as driving on bare pavement produces excessive wear.

So overall, I'd say if you live in a wintery climate, the best bet is getting a dedicated pair of snow tires. However, if you very occasionally go up to the mountains in the winter, and want something that will provide safe traction in the snow for a limited duration, then I think the Snowsock is a useful tool. I give them 3/5 EV1s.
 
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