Snow Chains and Driving in the Snow

lospan

First Runs
Aug 16, 2004
1
0
0
Melb.
Hi Guys,

Just a quick note for diesel vehicle owners.

Wax point levels in standard diesel fuel are changed monthly by the distributors (shell/mobil etc) so in mid winter we get diesel with lowest wax point and in mid summer the highest.

The wax point will still be too high in regular diesel for extended stays in the Alps.

Alpine diesel is regular season diesel with 20% heating oil added. This further lowers the wax point and allows the fuel to flow in the injector pump. So if you have a supply of heating oil - you can make your own alpine diesel.

If you get up to the snow and realise you have not got Alpine diesel in the tank, I have been told by technical advice people at Mobil that adding 10-20% Kerosene to the fuel should serve as a reasonable substitute. In fact your diesel engine will run fine on Kero or JetA1 (thats what is used in Antarctica for example). However, there are long term issues for non-hardened injectors so the kero option is only reccomended for extraordinary circumstances.

I always try to get a half tank of the Alpine stuff on the way up, but I thought this was worth the post - just in case.
Cheers

Andrew
 

patrol widow

First Runs
Aug 23, 2005
0
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56
sydney
Have joined the forum to ask a question! We are a ski patrolling family, and have just leased a new Mazda 6 (the luxury hatch). To our dismay and annoyance, it appears that it is difficult / impossible to get snow chains to fit the tyres due to a lack of adequate clearance between the tyre and important parts of the car! (Like the brakes etc). We are pretty p...d off as we probably would have chosen a different vehicle if we had known what a hassle this would be! (Our various previous vehicles were always simple to put chains on). Anyway, after spending all afternoon talking to Mazda people in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, I am getting nowhere. Local ski shop not happy to fit chains to this model (and they are experienced and reputable).

Any ideas?! Has anyone had this problem? Can we get chains custom made in Sydney?

help!!
 
R

richard@snowtyres.com.au

Guest
It is possible to use Rud centrax on Mazda 6. Suggest you call Dan at Roof Rack World in Artarmon.
 

skiflat

Old n' Crusty
Aug 10, 1999
37,433
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Just driven a new Subaru Liberty back from Hotham late Sunday afternoon. Conditions were about 1 degree, and raining/ice pellets. Tyres were the standard ones fitted by Subaru for a Liberty.

On number ocassions I was sliding and finding it quite hard to slow down and turn. At all times I was driving about 10-20kms an hour and avoided hard braking. If I was going a little bit faster it would have ended in a crash or worse.

Do NOT think that because you have an AWD you can speed. As others have said and Richard has said in his long posts, tyres have a lot to do with it.

The tyres fitted to the Liberty are more suited to "racing" and "wet weather" NOT SNOW

Other Subaru's like the Outback and Forrester had no problem and I let them pass me.

Some 2WD's had chains on, some didn't.

Be careful peoples !
 

skiflat

Old n' Crusty
Aug 10, 1999
37,433
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Yes forgot to add that bit in, had no trouble taking off again
smile.gif
:p
 
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cqen2l

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Feb 7, 2003
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AndDee said:
Just driven a new Subaru Liberty back from Hotham late Sunday afternoon. Conditions were about 1 degree, and raining/ice pellets. Tyres were the standard ones fitted by Subaru for a Liberty.
What version Liberty AndDee? And tyres would be Bridgestone Pretenders? Err sorry Potenza's?
 
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hothamite

Hard Yards
Ski Pass
Jul 17, 2001
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Melbourne
Andee
I have a 5 yr old 2.5 Liberty wagon and the tyres that came with the car when it was new were Potenzas.
In the snow at HothamI was literally all over the road-they were hopeless.
I thought it was me but when the time came to replace them I bought some Dunlop 3000 sports and it was an amazing difference.
The car did not slip in the snow and held the road like glue.
I now have another similiar type of tyre on the car and again they are a dream in the snow. This lot were new a few months ago.
Its the cr*p Potenzas that are the problem-change them as soon as you can.
 
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skiflat

Old n' Crusty
Aug 10, 1999
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cqen2l: 2004 GT, and yes the pretenders

hothamite: Just about to hit 40,000k will make do with the tyres for this season. Will replace the tyres Jan/Feb with something else I think
smile.gif
 
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hothamite

Hard Yards
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Good idea AnDee
I was quite nervous on the pretnders,and I have been driving up to Hotham for 30 years!!
Did you enjoy the new Liberty?
 

cqen2l

Part of the Furniture
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AndDee said:
cqen2l: 2004 GT, and yes the pretenders

hothamite: Just about to hit 40,000k will make do with the tyres for this season. Will replace the tyres Jan/Feb with something else I think
smile.gif
If you replace them with Z, ZR, W etc rated performance tyres you'll have the same problem. They're simply not designed for snow and ice use. I suffered the same issues with my B4 and now GT. You can get M&S tyres in the 215-45 R17 profile.
Richard from Snow Tyres lurks on these forums, he has details of a Finnish brand - Nokian that I'll work.
 
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colino

First Runs
Jul 12, 2001
403
0
0
Melbourne
Can you specify different tyres from new? I was considering a Liberty 3.0R spec B as my next car. I only keep my cars for 3 years (tax reasons), so often never need to incur the expense of replacing tyres. Wouldn't want to have to do so on a a $55K car just to keep it on the road on snow (especially as AWD is a selling point!!).
 

colino

First Runs
Jul 12, 2001
403
0
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Melbourne
I am not sure if anyone has mentioned this or asked a similar question anywhere else in this thread, but does anyone know how late the Mobil servo in Omeo stays open for hire of chains? I have hired from here many times in previous seasons, but I can't remember the name of the place to call and check.

Hopefully won't be any later than 9PM tonight (26/08), but you never know as the +1 is known to feck around for excessive amounts of time when we are trying to get away.....
 

Lactic

Hard Yards
Dec 21, 2003
624
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Newcastle
More examples of people not buying cars appropriate for their needs. In Australia, what need do you have for Z and W tyres, unless you frequent NT or track days at Eastern Creek or similar?
 

patrol widow

First Runs
Aug 23, 2005
0
0
0
56
sydney
With regards to the Mazda 6: We went to roof rack city at Artarmon ( they responded quickly to my email enquiry, and were very helpful). They had Konig chains to suit our vehicle. They also had lots of stories of other unsuspecting new vehicle owners who, like us, had bought a car that was difficult to find chains for. We are the lucky ones - they have had customers with other types of cars, that have discovered they simply cannot put chains on at all.

We never thought to ask about this when we were buying the vehicle (naively assuming there was a chain to suit every car). But it wouldn't have made any difference if we did - no-one at our local dealership had a clue about ski chains and whether there was a problem. I rang several other dealerships and also Mazda's head office in Melbourne before I could find someone who was aware of the tyre clearance problem (or was prepard to admit it).

So buyer beware!!
frown.gif


P.S. Why did a ski patrol family buy a Mazda 6? Because it is otheriwse a very nice vehicle. We figure we don't need a 4WD just for a few trips to the snow each year!
smile.gif
 
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skiflat

Old n' Crusty
Aug 10, 1999
37,433
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Lactic said:
More examples of people not buying cars appropriate for their needs. In Australia, what need do you have for Z and W tyres, unless you frequent NT or track days at Eastern Creek or similar?
Another example of people trying to put in their 2cents when they have no idea what they are on about.

Next time you buy a car see if you specify different tyres.
 
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Lactic

Hard Yards
Dec 21, 2003
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Newcastle
You would determine the limitations on tyres that may be fitted to the car, then have the appropriate tyres fitted before driving away (it only costs $$). If appropriate tyres and/or chains are not permitted, choose another car.

But then, I am only a dummy who can't afford to buy a new car and probably never will.
 

ALt

First Runs
Jun 22, 2002
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Melbourne
If you live in Melbourne go to a place called Roof Carrier Systems (near the corner of Burke Road and Toorak Road) and they have literally chains to fit any vehicle. They have ones which have nothing to go on the inside of the wheel (admittedly they're bloody expensive) so it would fit just about any car.
 

viperx

First Runs
May 31, 2005
2
0
0
66
Melbourne
Snow Guns initial post is excellent although I dont agree with his views on parking and leaving the wipers up. When digging the car out I clear the roof, bonnet and boot areas, clear the exhaust, get access to a door then start the engine(perdonally I do not put the heater on). While digging the rest of the car out and clearing a way to the road the warmth from the engine will unfreeze the wipers if they are stuck to the windscreen. I have seen to many guys have their wipers bent purely from the weight of the snow/ice ,and in some cases because they cant see their wipers are up they damage them when digging their car out. What are your experiences.
 

Forty

Hard Yards
Dec 17, 2000
439
0
86
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
wombat200 said:
Have to agree that too many people buy cars innapropriate to the snow, then expect them to work well up there. I've even seen a Ski Patroller buy a soft-top Saab
wink.gif
.

Some people justdon't think.

Just when you thought I was dead and gone, here I am. Yes the patroller with the Convertible Saab!!!
laugh.gif
laugh.gif
laugh.gif


When I bought the Saab, I WAS THINKING about pulling women :p , but now when I see someone in traffic that is an option, I'm really cool and put the roof down. It's then that they see the baby seat in the back and start laughing. Its sad, I know - must have been a mid life crisis thing...

BUT, I must say, with the turbo, it doesn't hestitate or slow down going up steep mountians, (plenty of charged horses). The engine temperature tends to show a noticeable increase though. It does drive nicely on the winding roads too.

As for the snow, the Saab fits chains o.k. in the wheel wells, and doesn't seem to mind the snow. It does have a low clearance and when the snow is more than 10 cms, (like at Baw Baw), it can behave like a snow plough with the front spoiler and come to a grinding halt! Overnight can be a bit chilly at alpine levels in a soft top too!

BUT the worst part of a covertible is the lack of space. No facility for roof racks, and a boot rack is about $750 all up. NOT a very pratical car for the snow, especially with kids, car seats, prams, porta cots - the whole domestic nightmare is incompatible with a convertible!!!

I'm leaning towards getting another diesel Jackeroo or a Suby Forester. Definitely something with chunky tyres, a roof and some space.

Wombat, how's the job/course /studies going? Are you finished?

I should finish my studies this year some time.

I have to sit ASPA this year so i might see you and few of the the others at the tute nights.

40

p.s., I was looking at a Lotus Esprit Turbo at Shannons the other day, but I don't think it can be fitted with chains... It's NOT a mid life crisis thing though, HONEST! :wally:
 
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SuskiQ

Part of the Furniture
Ski Pass
Aug 16, 1999
12,771
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Forty said:

Just when you thought I was dead and gone, here I am. Yes the patroller with the Convertible Saab!!!
laugh.gif
laugh.gif
laugh.gif


I have to sit ASPA this year so i might see you and few of the the others at the tute nights.

40
laugh.gif
Hi 40, I'll see you at the tutes and ASPA. I'm re-sitting this year too.

My +1 also has a convertible SAAB (purchased under the same circumstances as yours
wink.gif
) but it's strictly my Xtrail that does the snow trips!

Hi to you & the family :cheers:
 
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Canuck13

First Runs
Jan 20, 2006
2
0
0
57
Melbourne
Just joined this forum recently and saw this post. I haven't looked at all the posts so this may be a double up on something already posted. Anyway these are my thoughts based on driving in the Great White North for much of my life.

When starting to move from a standing stop, dont start in 1st gear, start off in 2nd. You won't spin the tires quite so easily. Easy off the gas when slowing down or if sliding, sudden changes either faster or slower can result in a spin. If you do start sliding, easy off the gas and lightly apply the brakes. ABS will not help much on snow BTW.

I grew up driving with all season radials but the last couple of years of living in Canada, got a set of steel rim wheels with dedicated snow tires for winter driving. Made a huge difference. FWIW if you do get a snow tread tire, get all four wheels done, otherwise the car's handling will be un-balanced and you can lose it like I did once (360 spin on a narrow single lane bridge - but small car so didn't touch).
 

Mozz

A Local
May 20, 2003
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I honestly believe the biggest problem on the Aussie High Country in winter is impatience pure and simple.

Unfortunatly a very close second is advertising RE DAT in some 4WD makes some driver's think they will be fine where in fact it creates a false sence of security.

Thirdly ABS is next to useless in icey conditions as it CANNOT react as it should due to lack of traction getting the wheel to actually turn again.

Mozz
 

Deejay 4879

First Runs
Feb 28, 2006
1
0
0
87
Palm Cove, Queensland, 4879
There is a very strong attitude that drivers must be first to arrive, no matter what, and that chains are just thrown on, leaving the ends slaooing against the inside of the guard, and TO HELL with everybody else. These drivers think that they are not only invincible but indestructable as well. No wonder people get hurt or killed on our Alpine Resort roads.
Mountain road driving is an art, and until you become proficient, is a health hazard.
On the narrow stretches without snow poles the correct driving rule is "IF ON THE OUTSIDE YOU STOP", a lesson learnt the hard way without injury 50 years ago; we were caught by a tree that prevented us dropping 30 metres into the Goulburn River at night.
 

Bugski

A Local
Jul 15, 2003
18,937
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Hot Ham
I get the distinct impression from this thread that most of the bad experiences are in NSW. I guess that's because your roads are practically straight and not that high meaning that even regular vistors to the resorts do not actually drive in snow/ice that much.
 

Lactic

Hard Yards
Dec 21, 2003
624
0
86
65
Newcastle
Your observations would be pretty correct. My sojourns to Vic have revealed a much greater level of competency in dealing with snowy roads.

The most important thing if staying in Jindabyne is to make sure you are ahead of the pack on a dump day or you won't make it up the road to Perisher before 11 am and, if it is a real dump, the same goes for Thredbo and the Ski-tube.
 

cwpski

Hard Yards
Apr 26, 2005
203
17
88
London
Hey all,

Just a quick question re - snow chains

At what point should i put snow chains on my car - I am heading down to PB soon (in the next week or so) and am wondering at what point chains should be put on the car -

ie - is this when there is a light dusting of snow on the road, or would i be ok driving without chains (but slowly) when there is only light snow on the road???
 

Snow Addict

Part of the Furniture
Jul 15, 2004
28,722
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When directed. IMO, you will get directed far earlier than you really need them IF you are driving to conditions.

But the RTA/NPWS will cater for the lowest common denominator.
 

Mozz

A Local
May 20, 2003
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I agree sa I had a stand up argument with NPO when directed to fit chains at Wilsons when there was a strip about 80 mtrs wide just over the top at Rennix (usual place) and again at Dainers now that is rediculas IMHO. and bad for the Road, Your Chains and tyres.

They are covering their butts.
 

tim6

First Runs
Jul 8, 2005
89
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balmain
Putting pieces of card board on your wind screen especially if your leaving it over night works well and they peal striaght off.
 

adminvb

First Runs
Nov 11, 2013
0
5
0
Hi, I tried to read through everything to find what I was looking for but got impatient so I'm just gonna ask:

I'm looking at buying snow chains and I just want to know what the differece is between the ones you hire and the new ones they sell - diamond pattern? Is it worth me buying brand new ones or are old ones off ebay fine?
 

Mozz

A Local
May 20, 2003
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Opal Yes if you are to use them a lot then buy NEW or next option eBay BUT if they are on eBay they are likly to be pretty used.

Diamond pattern chains give good stability in all directions and virtually never "WALK" on the tyre and get out of place.

Hire chains are generally of the Ladder type and can allow your vehicle to slide sideways under certain conditions far easier than would be the case with Diamond pattern. They can "WALK" about and in a worst case scenario do some damage.

Explanation:

Hire chains are by and large basic Ladder types,
and quite often aren't looked after by the hirer and can be the source of some angst when they come loose and attempt to take out your guards or worse you brake lines ( Yes last year I rescued a young lady on Varney's Range when her car severed a brake line from a flailing chain.)

Most Hire type chain's will do the job BUT IMHO a BIG pain in the fender. They'll flog the hell out of your guards.

Diamond Chains are nearly All self adjusting and fit your tyre snuggly and do not "WALK" about on the tyre IMHO if you buy some reasonable chains at the average $150 ( depending on your car ).
there 3 things you will need to do:

1 Get familiar with them.

2 Learn how to fit them in the Dark with Gloves and a bulky Jacket ( I kid you not )
Reason: There isn't much fun in doing it in your driveway in 20 Deg and Warm sunshine only to attempt the same thing with gloves in -10 wind chill and 30-40 Kph wind and with blowing snow in the dark. (when your coming home from the hill)

3 Learn to be patient and progress smoothly with other traffic.
 

adminvb

First Runs
Nov 11, 2013
0
5
0
If your driving your car and you use the ski tube do you have to pay park entry fees for your vehicle.
 

Mozz

A Local
May 20, 2003
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FOS to be honest yes simply because you are still using the same 4 wheels to stop/slowdown/change direction.
In Canada parts of the US where winter conditions are constantly below zero, and studded tyres are allowed then Vehicles like the Volvo X Country fair very well. Aussie conditions are testing for any driver.


Now that being said the average 4WD/AWD can proceed reasonably well in conditions that would force a 2WD to resort to use chains, but in the same conditions a 2WD with Chains will out drive either a 4WD or AWD simply because they have more traction on their 2 wheels than the AWD counterpart.
Based on many years of driving in all sorts of conditions IMHO Best to worst in the Traction game when conditions are borderline to actually requiring chains.

4WD/AWD with at least 1 pair of chains
FWD with Chains
RWD with Chains
4WD No Chains
FWD then RWD with No Chains with the FWD just in front due to the fact it is pulling into the corner's rather than pushing.

Depending on the conditions, driver ability, tyre type, weight, Tyre size, this list can change quite dramatically.

Currently in NSW the RTA is NOT requireing Chains for 4WD/AWD BUT a smart driver IMHO would have a set.
 

CarveMan

I Never Slice
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Adding to Mozz's excellent advice - no matter whether your car is 4WD, AWD, FWD or RWD, if there is ICE on the road only 2 things will help - Chains, or studded snow tyres.

So, even if it doesn't look deep, if what you are driving on is not nice dry chalky snow, or slush that you can see the bitumen through, chains are the answer. To laymen it sounds weird, but a thin layer of ice is far more fatal to a 4WD than 30cm of deep snow.

This is what usually brings 4WD owners unstuck, and you will see a disproportionate amount of them off the road in these conditions.
 

Mozz

A Local
May 20, 2003
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The best place to see exactly what Carveman is refering to that I know of is the bridg at Sponars challet. The number of times that people come unstuck there with ice on the road.

The reason for this is the cold air under as well as over the road and the bridge being the low point, well you get the idea.

The funniest I've ever seen was a guy with DAT wondering why the car was all over the place, with the electronics trying to keep up with the slippage, Mud gravel it will cope with just fine but on ICE, IT DOES NOT WORK in icy conditions !!! It is a liability and can make some of these drivers think they are bulletproof.
 

the steeznator

First Runs
May 15, 2006
74
0
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41
sydney
Opal what size tyres do u have?
i have a pair of the diamond chains which are easy to fit and have had little use many used 5 times. they are in good condition.
im looking to sell them as i have a new car and they no longer fit.
they fit 16" wheels and should also fit 15"
i would sell them cheap, interested?
 

SnoWhite

One of Us
Sep 20, 2002
4,646
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D'eye said:
you should carry chains even when going to the tube.
This is good advice if it's been snowing down to low levels. I've had to put chains on to get to the Ski Tube a couple of times.

cwpski said:
At what point should i put snow chains on my car - I am heading down to PB soon (in the next week or so) and am wondering at what point chains should be put on the car
Snow Addict said:
When directed. IMO, you will get directed far earlier than you really need them IF you are driving to conditions.

But the RTA/NPWS will cater for the lowest common denominator.
As Snow Addict says, the RTA will direct you to fit chains if required. However, if you are travelling to the ski fields late at night or very early in the morning there probably won't be anyone on duty to direct you to fit chains. If you know there are snow falls expected around the time you will be arriving, phone ahead to get an idea of road and weather conditions. I had friends come down to Jindabyne last season on a night when there was substantial snowfalls between Cooma and Jindabyne. Fortunately, they checked on the weather and roads when they stopped in Cooma and hired chains there, which was wise as they needed them to get to Jindabyne. :cheers:
 
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D-eye

Photographer and skier
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SnoWhite said:
D'eye said:
you should carry chains even when going to the tube.
This is good advice if it's been snowing down to low levels. I've had to put chains on to get to the Ski Tube a couple of times.
My all time favourite is the time it started snowing at 4pm while I was at work at East Jindy. By the time I finished work at 8pm I needed to put on the chains. I drove back to Jindy, out to Lakewood estate to drop off a stranded motorist at work (he didn't have chains and didn't want to risk the hill from East Jindy to jindy) Back to Jindabyne, into my garage, out the next morning up to the tube, went skiing till lunchtime, headed back and only took the chains off when I got to Penderlea. :evil: It was an excellent days skiing. Pity I had to head back to work.
 
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HiLo

Old n' Crusty
Mar 26, 2001
58,705
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teckel's right, on a purely legal basis, but on a practical basis, even at Lake Mountain I've seen times when chains on an AWD would have been an extremely good idea.
 
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