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Old 12-04-2012, 12:20 AM   #1
raymoon
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Necessary Preparations to Car for Snow/Low temps?

I probably sound like a clueless southern california dude, but that's what I am. Do I need to do anything to my car to prepare it for bein the snow for a couple days? (Besides chains/snow tires of course) Or anything that I should keep an eye out for when bringing my car to a freezing environment? Planning a trip to tahoe.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:23 AM   #2
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Follow BMW's recommendations for the engine coolant mixture.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:29 AM   #3
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its ok. the car is cold-blooded.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:30 AM   #4
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I dont think Tahoe gets to -20 on average in December.



Normal coolant mixture is half and half correct? I should be ok with my that normal coolant at those temperatures I assume. Anything else I should be looking out for? Parts that are fragile when cold, extra warm up time, etc.?
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:34 AM   #5
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You should let prepare your car engine for cold temperature by starting up it cold and immediately rev it above 4000 rpm and keep it up until it reaches working temperature.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:38 AM   #6
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If you're just planning taking a short trip you don't have to worry. Chains/snow tires are your top concern. I definitely saw a few changes as my car experienced it's first real snowy winter after being a SoCal car for it's entire life but that was prolonged, over several months.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:46 AM   #7
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You should let prepare your car engine for cold temperature by starting up it cold and immediately rev it above 4000 rpm and keep it up until it reaches working temperature.
I didn't think cannibis was legal for recreational use in Ontario.
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Old 12-04-2012, 12:55 AM   #8
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You should let prepare your car engine for cold temperature by starting up it cold and immediately rev it above 4000 rpm and keep it up until it reaches working temperature.
Geez, really?
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:05 AM   #9
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Geez, really?
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:24 AM   #10
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Go buy a ice/snow scraper for the windshield that has a broom on one end; this is self explanatory why you'll need this. Next, before driving to Tahoe, buy a bottle or two of gas additve known as: "Iso" or otherwise known as isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol); when you are in Tahoe, pour a bottle of this in the gas tank; this will prevent the gas from gelling up due to cold temps. Next, if you have regular "Dino" oil in the motor, get an oil change and use a synthetic motor oil; synthetic flows better at lower temperatures. Next, make sure you drain out all your windshield wiper fluid and make sure you buy the stuff that will not freeze; if this precaution is not taken, the regular water based solution will freeze, and when this happens, it'll break the reservoir/container. Next, if your windshield wiper blades are iffy, get some fresh new one's. Next, if your battery is on the iffy side, get a new one; a weak battery in cold climes is "asking for it". Next, carry a tow strap with you along with a small shovel if you have one. This is optional but applying some RainX to the interior window surface will help prevent fogging. Be sure to carry blankets, extra water, maybe granola bars or something of that nature because highway 50 is two lanes up and back, bit if it snows, it turns into one lane up and back; if an accident should occur ahead of you, you'll be stuck in your car for a long time as Caltrans/CHP will stop traffic. I'm sure I missed a thing or two but this should cover 99% of things. Safe travels up there bud.

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Old 12-04-2012, 09:51 AM   #11
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As long as you don't have plain water for coolant/washer fluid you don't need to do anything. Chains are probably overkill for most roads, but snows are a good idea/required on some roads. Also drygas "iso", which is mostly isopropyl alcohol (IPA), does not prevent your gas from "gelling". Gasoline will not do this. IPA is used to increase the solubility of water in gasoline (not normally miscible) in order to remove residual water sitting in the bottom of your gas tank. You don't need it.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:05 AM   #12
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As long as you don't have plain water for coolant/washer fluid you don't need to do anything. Chains are probably overkill for most roads, but snows are a good idea/required on some roads. Also drygas "iso", which is mostly isopropyl alcohol (IPA), does not prevent your gas from "gelling". Gasoline will not do this. IPA is used to increase the solubility of water in gasoline (not normally miscible) in order to remove residual water sitting in the bottom of your gas tank. You don't need it.
I agree with this. Your over thinking it OP. If you have never driven in snow, especially with RWD, that should be your concern.

For the record, in some parts of NY either chains or studded tires are REQUIRED to access certain roads. These roads are usually horrible mountain passes, but they exist.
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:41 PM   #13
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Go buy a ice/snow scraper for the windshield that has a broom on one end; this is self explanatory why you'll need this. Next, before driving to Tahoe, buy a bottle or two of gas additve known as: "Iso" or otherwise known as isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol); when you are in Tahoe, pour a bottle of this in the gas tank; this will prevent the gas from gelling up due to cold temps. Next, if you have regular "Dino" oil in the motor, get an oil change and use a synthetic motor oil; synthetic flows better at lower temperatures. Next, make sure you drain out all your windshield wiper fluid and make sure you buy the stuff that will not freeze; if this precaution is not taken, the regular water based solution will freeze, and when this happens, it'll break the reservoir/container. Next, if your windshield wiper blades are iffy, get some fresh new one's. Next, if your battery is on the iffy side, get a new one; a weak battery in cold climes is "asking for it". Next, carry a tow strap with you along with a small shovel if you have one. This is optional but applying some RainX to the interior window surface will help prevent fogging. Be sure to carry blankets, extra water, maybe granola bars or something of that nature because highway 50 is two lanes up and back, bit if it snows, it turns into one lane up and back; if an accident should occur ahead of you, you'll be stuck in your car for a long time as Caltrans/CHP will stop traffic. I'm sure I missed a thing or two but this should cover 99% of things. Safe travels up there bud.
Thanks for the thorough response lucky_doggg7, I'll be sure to change the washer fluid so I don't risk breaking the resevoir. Sounds like you make the trip a lot.

By the way, do you know how often they REQUIRE snow chains in South Tahoe? My mechanic kinda made me scared to use them because I have 18's and low pro tires. He said if those chains break, they'll tear up my fender. Obviously it's impossible to predict the weather, but I hear the 50 does get a lot of snow. Any good tire chain options for 18's and low pro tires? (Not sure exactly what tires I got on there, just bought the car, but they're performance wet/dry tires). Also definitely not going to buy snow tires for a 3 day Tahoe trip.

I've driven in snow, in front wheel drive cars, that I didn't care about.... hence now that I may bring my baby up to the snow, I want to take every precaution. If anything, it should be fun Isn't snow that THAT bad, it's the ice that I should be worrying about.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:39 PM   #14
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Hey Ray - i just looked at "Weather.com" for the Tahoe area. Here is the link dude: http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/USCA0584. The forecast for Truckee, here is the link: http://www.weather.com/weather/tenda...+USCA1163:1:US is consistent with the Tahoe forecast as you would expect. The reason for posting this, I was going to recommend that you go rent an AWD SUV if it was going to snow like gangbusters, but since the forecast looks to be sensational, renting an AWD SUV/Truck is not required.

As for chains, the kind I see most is the cable type. Look for the cable type that has a heavy duy "coil like spring" that sheathes or encases the portion of cable that spans over the tire tread face. Though these are bulkier, the coil like spring protects the cable from wearing from prolonged contact with the tarmac. Test fit the chains on your driveway at home to ensure they fit as claimed. Know your tire size before heading to the retailer; I'm guessing you have 255/35/18s on the rear; the tire chains will include a list of all the tire sizes that the chains will accommodate. Perhaps even call ahead to your retailer to save time and gas. Looking at the forecast, chains won't be required but the weather is not 100% predictable so better safe than sorry.

Lastly, as for ski resorts, I personally like Squaw more than Heavenly. At Heavenly, my major gripe there is that one must do a lot of "poling" to get to the lift after you've descended the slope face, but really, both are so much fun, it should be illegal. If you've got the time, rent some snow mobiles and take a guided tour on some trails up and around the lake. You will enter some country that will be so beautiful, it almost has a spiritual feeling to it. How can anything like that be so nice? Anyways, 400 to 600 cc sleds will have ample power to have fun; a 900 triple is not necessary to have fun.

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Old 12-05-2012, 06:28 AM   #15
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You're not driving to the North Pole. There is nothing special your car needs. A low of around 20F is nothing. Just go have fun on your trip. If it snows, you're not ging to be able to drive without a snow setup. Just rent an SUV if you need to.

About the gas additive thing: That is totally unnecessary. The Russians used gasoline to keep their weapons from jamming in WWII. If it works in Russia, it will work here. You will freeze to death before your gas does.

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If you've got the time, rent some snow mobiles and take a guided tour on some trails up and around the lake. You will enter some country that will be so beautiful, it almost has a spiritual feeling to it. How can anything like that be so nice? Anyways, 400 to 600 cc sleds will have ample power to have fun; a 900 triple is not necessary to have fun.
Not to mention he would kill himself on a 900 if he's never driven any sort of snowmobile/motorcycle before.

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Old 12-05-2012, 11:05 AM   #16
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For the Fellahs that are posting out of state, don't mislead the OP if you don't actually know what the chain requirement are. in the State of California and Nevada, it is DOT's policy to use NO SALT or chemical road de-icers of any kind; only sand is dispersed to add traction because it is bad for the flora and fauna of the mountain if chemical de-icers are used. This is unlike the DOT policies back East or in the Midwest; plow rigs disperse de-icers almost after any road is plowed. As for highway 50, when it snows hard, the CHP (California Highway Patrol) and Caltrans slows (effectively stopping traffic) traffic and they come around your vehicle to physically inspect your sled's tires. If the road conditions have not deteriorated where it becomes hazardous in the manner where all season tires become ineffective, they'll allow cars to pass but traffic is seriously slowed because of the check point. If the snowy conditions are bad, a Officer or Caltrans rep will make you pull off into the shoulder and into a chain installation area that is designated. Only after chains are installed will you be released to proceed up the highway.

For those Fellahs telling the OP chains are not needed in the event it is very snowy, the OP would be stopped, questioned by the law enforcement authority, and if he is not carrying the right equipment, he will have turn around and drive back down the mountain to buy chains. Advising the OP of faulty information is not only ignorant, but it is a potential time waster for the OP. This is no way to treat this fellah.

Ray, look up the phone number to the CHP station in Tahoe and program it in your phone. The CHP Station in the Grapevine Pass, I call this number when I drive to Sacramento during the Chrismas holiday when it is raining because the CHP will tell you the protocol they are enforcing for bad weather.

Lastly, for the crowd that believes I don't know how water on gas works, think again. There is always a certain amount of water/moisture in gasoline. In freezing temperatures, it doesn't form into a nice and neat ice cube in the tank. The water will make the gas thicken because it is all mixed together. Next, the gas line from the tank to the fuel injector, that line is metal so it very susceptible to cold temperature and it is a small diameter line, perhaps .375 inches, OD. It is not the diameter of a garden hose. That small diameter line runs the length of the entire car exposed to outside temperature so there must be 15 or more feet of very small diameter fuel line. Moisture in the fuel line will thicken the gas in bitter cold temperatures. Add the fact there are tight turns in the fuel line, this adds to line restriction, thereby exacerbating the problem. If a car has been outside overnight for say 10 - 12 hours or so in bitter cold temps, and you all think a small fuel pump in bitter cold temps can move 15 or 20 feet of even slightly thickened fuel through a small diameter uninsulated metal fuel line and spray this fuel past an injector whose job is to atomize fuel through an extremely small opening, well then, you Fellahs know something I don't. I bought the t-shirt on this so I know first hand.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:19 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by lucky_doggg7 View Post
For the Fellahs that are posting out of state, don't mislead the OP if you don't actually know what the chain requirement are. in the State of California and Nevada, it is DOT's policy to use NO SALT or chemical road de-icers of any kind; only sand is dispersed to add traction because it is bad for the flora and fauna of the mountain if chemical de-icers are used. This is unlike the DOT policies back East or in the Midwest; plow rigs disperse de-icers almost after any road is plowed. As for highway 50, when it snows hard, the CHP (California Highway Patrol) and Caltrans slows (effectively stopping traffic) traffic and they come around your vehicle to physically inspect your sled's tires. If the road conditions have not deteriorated where it becomes hazardous in the manner where all season tires become ineffective, they'll allow cars to pass but traffic is seriously slowed because of the check point. If the snowy conditions are bad, a Officer or Caltrans rep will make you pull off into the shoulder and into a chain installation area that is designated. Only after chains are installed will you be released to proceed up the highway.

For those Fellahs telling the OP chains are not needed in the event it is very snowy, the OP would be stopped, questioned by the law enforcement authority, and if he is not carrying the right equipment, he will have turn around and drive back down the mountain to buy chains. Advising the OP of faulty information is not only ignorant, but it is a potential time waster for the OP. This is no way to treat this fellah.

Ray, look up the phone number to the CHP station in Tahoe and program it in your phone. The CHP Station in the Grapevine Pass, I call this number when I drive to Sacramento during the Chrismas holiday when it is raining because the CHP will tell you the protocol they are enforcing for bad weather.

Lastly, for the crowd that believes I don't know how water on gas works, think again. There is always a certain amount of water/moisture in gasoline. In freezing temperatures, it doesn't form into a nice and neat ice cube in the tank. The water will make the gas thicken because it is all mixed together. Next, the gas line from the tank to the fuel injector, that line is metal so it very susceptible to cold temperature and it is a small diameter line, perhaps .375 inches, OD. It is not the diameter of a garden hose. That small diameter line runs the length of the entire car exposed to outside temperature so there must be 15 or more feet of very small diameter fuel line. Moisture in the fuel line will thicken the gas in bitter cold temperatures. Add the fact there are tight turns in the fuel line, this adds to line restriction, thereby exacerbating the problem. If a car has been outside overnight for say 10 - 12 hours or so in bitter cold temps, and you all think a small fuel pump in bitter cold temps can move 15 or 20 feet of even slightly thickened fuel through a small diameter uninsulated metal fuel line and spray this fuel past an injector whose job is to atomize fuel through an extremely small opening, well then, you Fellahs know something I don't. I bought the t-shirt on this so I know first hand.
Damn, some strict protocols for the climb.. haha. I'm still pressuring some friends with trucks to take their vehicles instead but I will definitely get chains before the trip, program CHP numbers, bring a bottle of ISO, replace/windshield wiper fluid, and pray that it's not snowing.
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Old 12-05-2012, 11:53 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by lucky_doggg7 View Post
For the Fellahs that are posting out of state, don't mislead the OP if you don't actually know what the chain requirement are. in the State of California and Nevada, it is DOT's policy to use NO SALT or chemical road de-icers of any kind; only sand is dispersed to add traction because it is bad for the flora and fauna of the mountain if chemical de-icers are used. This is unlike the DOT policies back East or in the Midwest; plow rigs disperse de-icers almost after any road is plowed. As for highway 50, when it snows hard, the CHP (California Highway Patrol) and Caltrans slows (effectively stopping traffic) traffic and they come around your vehicle to physically inspect your sled's tires. If the road conditions have not deteriorated where it becomes hazardous in the manner where all season tires become ineffective, they'll allow cars to pass but traffic is seriously slowed because of the check point. If the snowy conditions are bad, a Officer or Caltrans rep will make you pull off into the shoulder and into a chain installation area that is designated. Only after chains are installed will you be released to proceed up the highway.

For those Fellahs telling the OP chains are not needed in the event it is very snowy, the OP would be stopped, questioned by the law enforcement authority, and if he is not carrying the right equipment, he will have turn around and drive back down the mountain to buy chains. Advising the OP of faulty information is not only ignorant, but it is a potential time waster for the OP. This is no way to treat this fellah.

Ray, look up the phone number to the CHP station in Tahoe and program it in your phone. The CHP Station in the Grapevine Pass, I call this number when I drive to Sacramento during the Chrismas holiday when it is raining because the CHP will tell you the protocol they are enforcing for bad weather.

Lastly, for the crowd that believes I don't know how water on gas works, think again. There is always a certain amount of water/moisture in gasoline. In freezing temperatures, it doesn't form into a nice and neat ice cube in the tank. The water will make the gas thicken because it is all mixed together. Next, the gas line from the tank to the fuel injector, that line is metal so it very susceptible to cold temperature and it is a small diameter line, perhaps .375 inches, OD. It is not the diameter of a garden hose. That small diameter line runs the length of the entire car exposed to outside temperature so there must be 15 or more feet of very small diameter fuel line. Moisture in the fuel line will thicken the gas in bitter cold temperatures. Add the fact there are tight turns in the fuel line, this adds to line restriction, thereby exacerbating the problem. If a car has been outside overnight for say 10 - 12 hours or so in bitter cold temps, and you all think a small fuel pump in bitter cold temps can move 15 or 20 feet of even slightly thickened fuel through a small diameter uninsulated metal fuel line and spray this fuel past an injector whose job is to atomize fuel through an extremely small opening, well then, you Fellahs know something I don't. I bought the t-shirt on this so I know first hand.
I know weather out there is probably less predictable, but the lows are about 20F. That is not near cold enough to even slightly affect the normal operation of his car in terms of the gasoline in the tank. You're over playing gas gelling for his situation as if it's something super serious. I wouldn't worry about it until the temp goes below 0F.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:00 PM   #19
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I know weather out there is probably less predictable, but the lows are about 20F. That is not near cold enough to even slightly affect the normal operation of his car in terms of the gasoline in the tank. You're over playing gas gelling for his situation as if it's something super serious. I wouldn't worry about it until the temp goes below 0F.
^ This. And, if you're coming from a place where you checked the air pressure in your tires @ 70F, understand that they will likely by 5 psi lower @ 20F. And snow tires should be inflated ~ 5 psi higher than summer rubber.

If your windshield washer tank has a high proportion of water in it, consider mixing in some "serious" winter stuff. It isn't likely that it will freeze in the tank, but it can at the jets or on the windshield. Not being able to see isn't much fun.

Enjoy your trip up Donner Pass....
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:11 PM   #20
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Well then, for the Fellahs who think buying a $3 dollar bottle of Iso is a bad idea to avert and curb the risk of getting standed, let's run through a few talking points here. In a debate, there are winners and losers; let's face it; it's great to win. There are a few Fellahs here who want to win this discussion for whatever their intention is, and what it boils down to is that it is based on the fact that they believe spending $3 dollars is flawed, wrongheaded and downright unreasonable to avert some possible bad outcome, risk avoidance in other words, that will affect your well being. If these fellahs win, you save a very measely grand sum of $3 dollars, but then, if your fuel line and exposed fuel filter becomes affected by the cold climes, OP, you lose and lose big. I'm sure, the Fellahs will be very happy if they win over $3 dollars, and if you are sure these Fellahs are 100% right and that they can predict the weather with 100% accuracy and certainty, by all means, save your $3 dollars. I'm sure, they have your best interest in mind over $3 dollars.

On the other hand, if you are unsure of others ability to be "trusted weather oracles" thereby ensuring your well being due to the weather, you being up at 6000+ foot elevation in the thick of winter, to hold so that the gas line and exposed fuel filter won't be affected, then I think you might find it reasonable to spend the grand and princely sum of $3.00 to ensure your well being is secured. In the end, what does it tell you about someone's character and intention when spending $3 dollars is a bad idea to secure your well being? OP, think about that good and hard and consider those underlying intentions and who gains and loses.

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