AutoSock sales expected to double in 2014

Sales of tire socks are growing as an alternative to chains for traction in the snow and ice.

SPOKANE, Wash.—Two years after an alternative to winter chains came out, drivers are starting to see tire socks on Washington roads.

The tire sock is an alternative traction device for tires, with fabric that slips over your wheels. The State Senate and Washington Department of Transportation approved it on highways in 2012.

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Only one company, Six Robblees', sells the AutoSock. Six Robblees' is the only company in the Northwest with the rights to sell the winter driving creation and managers said the alternative is starting to catch on.

Six Robblees' branch manager Sheila Wesselman said word of mouth is leading to an increase in sales. Six Robblees' in Spokane Valley has sold AutoSock since 2010. Wesselman said the easy installation drew some older customers.

"It goes on just like a shower cap," said Wesselman.

Sales first grew when the Washington State Department of Transportation approved it for highways.

Six Robblees' staff said they expect to double sales in 2014 from the year before.

Store managers claimed the tire socks do not damage to the roadways and are reusable. Wesselman said the product is slowly closing the gap on chain sales because the price is comparable.

Depending on tire size, chains here normally run for $60.The average price for an AutoSock is about $80.


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