Land Rover LR4 in the Snow

We’ve all seen that one person driving down the highway with every window covered in snow except for a 2″x6″ hole they are peering through. This uh… technique… is not only extremely dangerous, it is utterly unnecessary. Clearing the ice and snow off the windows takes what? Two minutes, tops? Putting that little rant behind us, we can move on to today’s topic.

Land Rover UK recently posted a video (embedded below) to its YouTube channel giving a few really good pointers on preparing your vehicle for driving in the snow. While the video doesn’t go into any detail on driving technique, it does give a good overview of making sure your Land Rover is ready for the white stuff. That is assuming you have any snow. Portions of the Great Lakes region are enjoy a very mild winter, with little snowfall and daily temperatures that approach 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Winter Driving Preparation Tips

  • Is it really necessary to travel under these conditions? We have to admit, we’ve done some unnecessary traveling in near whiteout conditions. Fortunately, we’ve never become stuck or stranded.
  • Carry communications. Carry a phone, maps, and check the weather frequently. A weather radio can give up-to-the-minute information on changing weather conditions. It’s surprising how quickly decent roads can become treacherous. 
  • Carry the proper equipment. A shovel, blankets,  snow chains, jumper cables, chemical heat packs, and gloves are common items for those who partake in regular winter travel. 
  • Be prepared to get stuck and have a plan for what to do. Getting stuck in your driveway — don’t laugh, it happens! —  is a much different scenario than being stranded on the Interstate. Know where your vehicle’s recovery points are and use the correct type of recovery equipment. You may opt to remove the plastic covers from your recovery points for the winter season. Trying to pry those things off with freezing fingers and brittle plastics can be an exercise in frustration. 
  • Consider winter tires. You can also consider running all-season tires if you don’t wish to maintain a secondary set of winter tires. Winter tires can make or break a winter driving trip, but all-season tires are a good general purpose solution. 
  • Clear your rims for snow to avoid wheel balance problems. If your vehicle starts vibrating at speed, it might have snow or ice built up inside the rims. Washing out the wheels with warm water can remove the snow and ice and solve the problem. Be sure to test your brakes after washing the wheels in freezing temperatures. 
  • Make sure window and door seals are clean. This reminds me of the time a friend washed his car in sub-zero weather and then went shopping. When he came out of the store all of the doors were frozen solid. There was no way to get into the car. Not only can your doors and windows freeze shut, if you open the door or window while it’s frozen may damage the seal. 
  • Make sure the wiper blades are clean and in good condition. Special winter blades can be purchased. These blades usually have a rubber sheath or a single-arm design that prevents the wiper from icing up. Even Land Rover’s heated windshields can’t keep up with the nastiest of conditions so having high-quality wiper blades is a must. 
  • Keep windows, lights, and license plate clear of snow. This one goes back to our little introductory rant. It takes just a couple of minutes to clear windows of ice and snow. If you don’t feel like going at your car with a scraper, you can let it run for a bit with the defrost setting on high to help speed things along.
  • Make sure the windshield washer fluid is suitable for the temperature. Frozen windshield washer fluid can damage your vehicle at worst, work ineffectively at best. Windshield washer fluids that ice up immediately upon contact with the glass are of little use. 

Driving in Snow

There’s an old chestnut that the anti-4×4 crowd likes to trot out whenever it comes to the topic of driving in snow: “The only thing four-wheel drive does is put you a half-mile farther away from help when you get stuck.” Of course, they never mention the other side of the coin, which would be “Four-wheel drive can help you not get stuck a half-mile away from your destination.” It really comes down to experience, as driving in snow and icy conditions is a learned skill. Four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and traction technologies such as Terrain Response can aid the driver significantly, but in the end it’s the experience that will see you safely from point-A to point-B in the wintertime.

More Tips on Driving



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February 9, 2012

RoverGuide

Articles, Buying & Ownership

Driving

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