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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

On air WED 06/06


DSC_0144, originally uploaded by thomasrdotorg.

Preparation for driving or leaving your car (and coming back!):
  • If you have a Diesel car/4WD, then you should shoot for about 50%+ Alpine Diesel (a special fuel with an additive to stop it freezing). • Check what time the servo closes if you need Alpine Diesel (or any fuel for that matter!) Mid-week the country town fuel stops are not open very late.
  • • Long term stayers- it's not a bad idea to park off the mountain- check all long term storage issues though (battery, tyres, coolant, oil)
  • An old tarp/blanket in front of the radiator and over the top of the engine will help insulate the engine bay and minimise any condensation on the engine. Especially useful for older cars.
  • •Apply a small square of masking/duct tape over the door locks to resist icing up. (Otherwise you can't get your key in to open the door!).
  • •Anti freeze, anti boil. You can run very higher ratios of this product in high performance engines, but 40% is fine in most Australian conditions. Note: you must have some water in your radiator as coolant on its own has a high freezing point!
  • Wiper blades up or down? If you have the new silicone blades they are less prone to freezing and sticking to windscreens. Also, wiper blades up are a dead-set invitation for snow-bogans to snap them off, especially if it's a Melbourne supporter's Range Rover! If you do leave your blades down and they stick, the a few minutes of demisting the windscreen will loosen them just fine.
  • If you drive an older car with a carby that could be stubborn to start when cold, carry a can of aero-start, it's great stuff. •
  • Add some metho to the wiper/wash reservoir. This will prevent the fluid from freezing and also helps to cut through road grime. •
  • If your battery is having a few problems before you go, then said problems will be exacerbated once in the cold. Get a new one!
Chains:
  • • Cars, diamond pattern only. 4WD either diamond or ladder style, but diamond is the recommended style. In Victoria, chains must be carried at all times from Queens birthday weekend until end of the season. This applies to cars and 4WD's.
  • SUVs (with the exception of Subaru 4WDs) are not considered 4WDs at some mountains and are required to fit chains at the same time as cars. For those heading to NSW resorts, 4WDs are not required to carry chains. The average penalty for not carrying chains varies, but is generally a $400 fine and 2 or even 3 demerit points.
  • Carry an old tarp and some rubber gloves to stay drier and cleaner when fumbling around under the car fitting chains.
  • When parking long term above or in the snowline - reverse in where possible and fit chains prior to parking if snow is forecast. It's a lot easier to extract a vehicle with them already on!
  • After fitting chains, check them after 200 metres to make certain that they are ok. (do it safely in a chain bay)
  • Take your chains off when it is safe to do so, but don't go to early as black ice often is below the snowline- especially at night when cars have dropped snow melt.
Driving:
  • Smooth, smooth all the way. No sudden movements of the wheel on ice and watch for oncoming cars out of control. Keep your wheels turning if you don't have ABS- use "L" in you auto or a low gear in a manual.
  • Snow is actually easier and safer to drive on than ice, so stay calm in unfamiliar surroundings, but understand snow is your friend. Ice is never your friend (unless its in your G+T in the ski lodge)
  • No need for low ratio in 4WDs generally speaking. Over revving the engine can be more expensive than a gentle slide into a snow bank.
  • Stay an extra night if tired and drive home in the morning.
  • Hazard lights are for when you are in trouble, not for driving with.
  • Pull over if you are holding up traffic.
  • Clear snow off your car. It might look cool to arrive in South Yarra with a roof load, but you may create a road hazard, not to mention the roof load of snow landing on your bonnet and blocking your view.
  • Take a shovel and leave it in a place that's easy to access.

Other issues:
  • Rental cars are not covered above the snow line.
  • Comprehensive insurance covers you in the snow.
  • Keep a storage bin in your boot and stuff your snowy/wet gear in that!
• Let it snow, let it snow, let it SNOW!

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posted by thr at 10:24 pm

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