Driving in snow can be a fun or terrifying experience. Check out the following list before you pack your bags or load up the whole family. Before you head south to the slopes, here are some things to remember.
A National Parks Annual Pass is a good option if you visit the snowfields several times per season. You can save time driving by using designated lanes within Kosciusko National Park.
Before you leave, it is essential to have your vehicle checked and cleared. Extreme cold can cause damage to a car that is otherwise well-maintained.
Check your Windscreen
It would be best to inspect your windscreen for chips or cracks. Glass that has already been damaged will be more susceptible to cracking and chipping in colder weather. Glass becomes more fragile due to a constant low temperature, cold winds, frost, and snow buildup. Make sure you have a plastic ice scraper. This will make removing the bulk of the snow or ice from the windows easy.
Also, it’s a good idea to inspect and, if necessary, change your wiper blades. Clear visibility is crucial when driving. It can be frightening to become blinded by the salt, snow, and mud on your windscreen. Ineffective wiper blades can make things worse and even cause an accident.
Coolants with high-temperature capabilities are the norm in Australia. There are many types of antifreeze on the market today. You can check with us if your vehicle requires a specific coolant mix.
You can find concentrated brands as well as ready-mixed brands. Pre-mixed versions of engine coolant are often referred to as such. These can be used immediately in your vehicle to top up or replace any damaged parts. You must dilute the antifreeze concentrate with water before it can be used. It is usually a 50/50 mixture. This can differ between vehicle models and makes. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Antifreeze is necessary for your cooling system to lower the water’s freezing temperature before driving in snow. This will make it less likely that the cooling system will freeze. Your radiator’s cooling system’s capacity must be equal to the antifreeze.
It’s a good idea also to add antifreeze to the windscreen washer. This will keep the lines and water in the washer from freezing. The water will not freeze on your windshield if you use the washer while driving.
Check battery and alternator
Although it is essential to have your battery tested and checked before you head out on the snowy roads, most of the damage has already been done. Our hot Aussie summer wreaks havoc on our car batteries. The engine bay’s high temperatures will accelerate the corrosion of the internal plates. This causes the battery to lose capacity as it vaporizes the internal electrolytes quicker. Your vehicle may have a weaker storm, as all the technical talk is about.
Your vehicle can only start if you are in a colder environment. Your vehicle’s engine needs more power to start in cold weather. Your battery will have a more challenging time supplying the power you need the harder it gets. Additionally, the harder the oil, the thicker the engine oil. It is easier to turn your engine over if the oil is more viscous. This is the result.
Modern fuel and electrical systems often hide a weak battery by starting the engine with minimal cranking. It can be too much, especially considering the additional work required to start cold engines and the summer damage. Many batteries choose to stop working in the winter months.
Your battery will have to work hard when you drive in the snow. Ensure you have all your car’s electrical components tested before you leave, including the alternator and battery. If you are stuck on a cold, icy highway, take your time with roadside assistance.
Check your HVAC System
We enjoy sitting around a log fire to keep warm in the snow. It would be so simple to have our vehicle’s heating system work as it does. Well, it’s not. It’s different from our HVAC unit at home. Our car’s heating and cooling systems are independent.
The heater must work properly to keep everyone warm and cozy during traffic jams. The air conditioner must be in good working order as it defrosts the windscreen and reduces condensation. In an already challenging environment, visibility will be reduced if the windshield is not frost-free.
There are many parts to keep us safe, mobile, and comfortable. Inspecting hoses and belts regularly is essential to prevent excessive wear and deterioration. We have already spoken about the importance of checking your antifreeze levels.
Carry snow chains
You can call them wheel, snow, or tire chains, but you must have at least one set. If you drive through Kosciusko National Park and don’t have any, police will conduct random inspections.
Purchasing chains are unnecessary, as they can be hired in the snowfields. It is essential to practice fitting your chains before you need them. Pull into a fitting chain bay. These bays are marked and offer plenty of space. The right bays are built on flat ground, making attaching the snow chains to your vehicle easier.
You must also follow any instructions given by police or resort staff about when your vehicle should have chains. You could be fined or even forced to park your car if you don’t have the chains installed.
Keep an emergency pack
When driving in snow, an emergency kit (or as it is sometimes called) must be in your boot. You should have a few essential items in your emergency kit. You should have water, snacks, and a first aid kit.
You can make your emergency kit from items you already have at home. Safety is something we all understand. However, these specially designed and marketed emergency kits will run you hundreds of dollars.
Some people need more space to store anything in their trunk, while others can carry enough gear to live for several months in their car. AAMI insurance has an excellent article that can help determine your needs.
Before climbing the mountain, ensure you have filled your tank with fuel once you reach the snow. If any delays are caused by bad weather, it is essential to have your heater on while you wait in traffic. Enjoy the sport and have fun.