California girl's first winter in Massachusetts!

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by rosey9279, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. rosey9279

    rosey9279 New Member

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    Hi Everybody,

    I have a 2001 Prius and recently moved to Boston from San Francisco. My amazing car drove me through the south across the country, and somehow drove me safely through a tornado in New Mexico! Well, that's a completely different story. Anyway, I would love to keep this beauty in tip-top shape while living here on the east coast. However, being from California, I am utterly unprepared for the winter that is fast-approaching. I am clueless about what I need to do. I've been told I need to buy snow tires, but I don't know what kind or anything else that I have to do. All help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!
     
  2. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    I grew up in MA. My memories of winter were warm & wet. When my family decided to move to MN, every there thought we were nuts. It's much colder & drier. The snow is much lighter and there is little opportunity for ice... until late in the season. Then MN starts to resemble MA.

    The only preparation I've ever done with either my 2001 or 2004 Prius was to upgrade the tires to all-seasons with more aggressive traction. And that was it, until last year when I tried grille-blocking to preserve heat and improve MPG a little.

    .
     
  3. Dipena

    Dipena Senior Member

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    I live in Mass, but this will be my first winter with my '08 Prius. So I am curious about what will happen.

    I live northwest of Boston, where we typically have lots more snow. In Cambridge you shouldn't have that much. Knock on wood.

    When I moved here over 20 years ago from California (San Diego), the general consensus was that you don't need snow tires, just good all season radials. Not sure how different the considerations are with the Prius, though.
     
  4. Freedom

    Freedom Member

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    I live in RI, not so far away from you. Just got my '08 Prius in August, so I am trying to figure out what if anything I need to do, as well.

    I read all the threads on tires, and it seems the originals aren't so good; but they only have 1715 miles on them, I'm thinking I won't replace them for now.

    I did automatically had the mudguards put on my car; we get loads of "slush" around here, especially March to May.
     
  5. brick

    brick Active Member

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    You don't need no "replace" the tires. Get a separate set of snow tires (Blizzak, X-Ice, etc.) on their own dedicated rims. Then you can just swap them back out for the stock wheels and tires in the spring. Snows wear like mad on warm, dry pavement so you wouldn't want to drive around on them year-round, anyway. Good all-season tires can do the job OK but in my experience nothing beats a dedicated winter tire.

    (I'm from MA, and was only recently exiled to South Carolina. The Blizzaks are waiting for me in the event of repatriation!)
     
  6. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    I get to stay here in CA. I grew up and drove in Mass, NY, Wisconsin , Ohio and Greenland. I will not get into winterization, too much. Make sure engine coolant is correct for Mass and the windshield wiper fluid is also right, other wise you can replace a slightly fogged view for a worse frozen windshield view. If you are parked and can't get out of the spot make sure your wheels are straight first! Then try to rock it back and forth to press a path to help inertia. If you normally follow by 1-3 car lengths, in snow make that 10-20 lengths . Never tromp it and never try a quick turn. Do not throw the car in Brake on snow, you will likely skid. Be very attentive of the other cold weather natives and how they drive, they have lots of experience and most are great drivers! ( in snow ) In spring they turn into CA maniacs. Last tip, keep chains in the car, know how to put them on. Keep extra warm clothes in the car. If you commute daily to work and park outside, you will be confronted by at least one winter storm, leave earlier, that way you will not be tempted to hurry. Figure you are going to be late anyway. All the above apply to any car, I don't think the Prius has any advantage when it comes to Winter driving. Hate to say this but,.............you will miss CA. ( Wear gloves)
     
  7. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    I'm going to state the obvious: Buy an ice scraper & a brush for snow. A spray can of de-icer can be helpful. Check your washer fluid & reduce the concentration of water.
     
  8. SureValla

    SureValla Member

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    and dont try to go up any off ramps of storrow drive from a dead stop in the snow

    i know from personal experience you won't make it

    i do not miss living in boston, have fun
     
  9. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

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    Good Morning,
    I get the impression you might have recently bought a used 2001. I would suggest getting your transaxle oil changed fairly soon and consider getting an engine block heater for improved fuel economy. The mileage of our 2001-03 Prius, the NHW11 model, is fairly sensitive to the cold. There is some relief if you can get or make a radiator block to reduce the amount of cold air that comes in.

    These charts made from the mileage database at GreenHybrid.com will give an idea of the likely temperature effects on mileage:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    The last one is mine and I have no explanation for dip at 70F.

    Bob Wilson
     
  10. McDonald

    McDonald New Member

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    I am also from California living in Boston, and this will be my first year with the Prius. I survived the last two winters with my VW Jetta with regular tires, and don't plan on putting any special tires on the Prius either. I don't have a garage (so nowhere to put an extra set of tires), I live in the city (so most roads are taken care of), and I don't drive to work or school (winter biking, yeah!), so am not really too concerned.
     
  11. satwood

    satwood Member

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    If you are bringing any car to the sometimes frozen north for the first time, I recommend having the specific gravity of the engine coolant tested to make sure it will protect from freezing. It isn't that often, but we do see temperatures below 0F around here and some CA and Florida cars can be seen with blocked hoses, broken radiators or such. You can buy a tester at the auto parts store real cheap or have a service station check it for you. On a 2001 prius, the engine coolant should probably have been changed at least once already but even if you know, at least check the concetration for freeze protection.

    I live in central MA and I do not have snow tires for my 2007 Prius. I drive the main highways in all conditions. Snow tires would be safer of course, if you have the money, but I did not feel I needed them to survive last winter.

    Beware of the nitrogen scam around here. Some tire places will charge you to purge the air out of your tires and replace it with nitrogen because they claim it shrinks less in cold and does not harbor moisture, which can condense and freeze inside your tires. I'll let others debate the merits of these claims, which do have some basis in fact, but I'll just say that even though I have lots of compressed nitrogen at my disposal for free, I still don't bother to put it in my car tires.

    Drive safe
    Steve
     
  12. hobbit

    hobbit Senior Member

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    Once the first significant snow arrives, find a big empty parking
    lot and just play with the car in it. Throw it into skids, try
    to accelerate hard, gently, straight, in turns, etc and same
    with braking. Use the e-brake to break the back end loose for
    some donut-shaped fun [which frankly is about the only way to
    get the rear to slew around]. Envision an intersection ahead
    and see if you can accurately predict how rapidly you could stop
    before a specific target point in slippery conditions.
    .
    It's fun and some of the best vehicle dynamics training you
    can do without ripping tires to shreds, not to mention for free.
    You just have to wait for a good snow, which over recent years
    has been kinda ... iffy around here.
    .
    The closest larger lots are probably out in the burbs a ways,
    like Burlington Mall and such.
    .
    _H*
     
  13. bruceha_2000

    bruceha_2000 Senior Member

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    I too am a So. Cal. native. Going into my 29th Vermont winter now.

    DEFINITELY leave a LOT of room between you and the vehicle in front of you when there is snow on the ground and SLOW DOWN. I know this is not easy in Boston, people will just keep filling that space on you.

    And watch your rear view mirror. The people behind might not be leaving enough space so you might have to modulate your slowing to stops to be closer to the person in front that you would like. My wife was rear ended a few winters back by a guy who decided when the light turned yellow, he would race to turn and assumed she would too. Unfortunately for her, my wife stopped cleanly as the light turned red. Obviously the uninsured, license revoked yahoo in the truck sent her and the kids into the intersection. No people damage and the Subaru was repaired, though it took better than a week.

    I can't tell you whether you need snow tires in Boston or not. Given the car's age, it isn't on the original tires and may or may not be on the same kind. However, if you don't feel like you have decent control, invest in a set of GOOD all weathers or snow tires. I think some places will store your summer tires for you if you have no space. Otherwise, maybe you have a friend with extra room for the tires.

    Driving in snow will take some practice. Driving on ice is just plain dangerous. Stay home.
     
  14. hc167

    hc167 Member

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    I live in both san francisco and Boston before, so I know your situation. nothing special that need to be prepared except that change your oil more often. and drive carefully in snow. My prius was in Boston last year and it was my prius only winter in Boston. so the mpg will definitly go down. but that is ok because that happen to all car. and people generally warm up their car in boston (I know a lot of people in san fancisco do not do that). just have a brush ready for your car in case you need to remove snow. and of course a good wipers. remember remove all the ice on your wiper when snow. I would suggest do grill block for your car in order to increase mpg. that is all. unlike people is san francisco, nobody put a snow chain on their tire.
     
  15. Brodie

    Brodie New Member

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    I've lived in the northeast all my life, but this will be my first winter with my Prius as well. Having spent 4 years in Boston for college and 2 winters in Cambridge working, I can tell you that while you will probably encounter some snow, the city streets are usually pretty well taken care of. If there's a huge blizzard, no one will be going anywhere anyway. Beware that if you park your car on the street, and there is a snow emergency, you'll have to move it at some point as they often ban on street parking so they can plow the roads. But lately we just haven't gotten a lot of snow.

    I don't think you need chains unless you're planning on driving up into the mountains. I've never seen anyone with chains in Boston or even in the 'burbs. If your tires are worn or old, get a new set of all weather tires. Living in the city I don't think it's necessary to get dedicated snow tires unless you're planning on doing a lot of driving up north.

    All the other advice is good. Get a scraper and a snow shovel to keep in the car. Practicing driving in the snow is a great idea. Drive waaay slower than you think, and ignore all the yahoos in SUVs who think they can drive over the speed limit because they have AWD. Slow down before you turn. Plain ol' snow is MUCH easier than the slushy, icy slop. So pay attention to the outside temp. If it's well below freezing, it's actually easier, as everything will be all snow. If it's between 30-34, be careful as it gets hard to tell if it's raining, snowing or something in between.

    BLACK ICE.....I've met folks from warmer climates who don't know what that is. It's ice that forms in a really thin layer on the road that you CAN'T see. The weathermen usually do a good job of letting you know when the conditions will be right for it.

    Good luck, and remember, enjoy the snow! Boston after a snow storm is beautiful. And go buy lots of fleece, hats, a scarf and waterproof gloves. NOW!!
     
  16. markderail

    markderail I do 45 mins @ 3200 PSI

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    Ditto ~ Brodie.

    Maine, upper NY state and Canada - tires that are designed for snow.

    Lower latitudes - you need ICE grippers.

    I recommend having your windshield and rear-window treated so that rain bounces off, and ICE doesn't stick as easily. Makes de-icing a lot easier.
     
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