Looking for Advice - Long Road Trip

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by Kaelan, Nov 13, 2020.

  1. Kaelan

    Kaelan New Member

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    Hi Everyone! I have a 2007 Prius and I'm planning to do a road trip in a few weeks (the first 2 weeks of December). I'm going to go from San Jose, CA --> Flagstaff, AZ --> Denver, CO --> Salt Lake City, UT --> back to San Jose.

    This is my first big road trip during the winter and I'm going solo so I was planning on buying chains to have as a backup but I was wondering if anyone has any other advice to plan ahead and make sure I'm safe on the drive?

    These are the Interstates I'm planning on taking if that helps at all:
    I-5, I-15, I-515, I-40, US-287, I-25, I-80
     
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  2. SFO

    SFO Senior Member

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  3. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Prius are at their best with lots of long hours on the highway. Keeps all the batteries happy... You'll learn about your 'traction control' system in snow for sure... Also if you want to be way less likely to get stranded, it's worth spending $20-30 on OBD2 bluetooth device and use phone apps like Dr. Prius, Torque, hybrid assisstant... These apps allow you to get you car out of shut down mode, as well as read and clear error codes, monitor battery health, disable traction control, etc. Here's buyer's guide: Hybrid battery diagnostic and repair tool for Toyota and Lexus
     
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  4. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Check tires, lights & wipers, renew any found wanting.

    When they say "use chains" they really mean "everybody GTFO the roads, and use chains for life-or-death travel." Honestly I wouldn't bother with them. They're okay for short distances at low speeds around town, but very unsatisfying on a long road trip vs. just stopping early for the night, getting a good night's sleep while the storm passes.

    So, be ready to hole up in a motel or something if you hit really bad weather.

    Bring water, food, clothes including socks and boots in case you get stuck.

    If at all possible slide your schedule to go when the weather is nice. No other single factor will matter as much.
     
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  5. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Welcome back Leadfoot... Haven't heard from you in while... This forum is better with you you here!
     
  6. cyberpriusII

    cyberpriusII Prodigyplace says I'm Super Kris

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    Chains are perfectly fine for people who:

    1) Know how to put them on AND take them off.
    2) Observe the warning not to exceed (usually 30 MPH) safe speeds.
    3) Do not use them on bare pavement (If you put them on for an icy/snowy stretch, remove them immediately when the road clears)>
    4) Drive a vehicle suited for chains.


    I do agree though, that traveling more than a few miles with them is a bit of a headache!

    And, even with chains, the Prius is not exactly very good in snow/ice in the West. East Coast, apparently it does a bit better (difference in type of snow/ice).

    PriusCamper was understating it a bit with: You'll learn about your 'traction control' system in snow for sure.

    Kris
     
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  7. royrose

    royrose Senior Member

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    I-80 can be really bad in winter, both snow and rain. They close sections at times but they clear it quickly once a storm passes. Just leave enough time to get off the road for a while if needed. And make sure you have good tread on your tires.
     
  8. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    The high mountain passes of the American West are no place to learn about driving in snow, with or without tire chains.....

    One big cavet. I have purchased several sets of chains over the years. MAKE SURE THEY FIT YOUR TIRES BEFORE YOU NEED THEM.

    Do a trial fitting in a nice warm dry spot. Twice I purchased chains that were the right size for my tire/vehicle....only to find when I got them home and tried to put them on, they did not fit.
     
  9. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    While I'm always one to encourage people to develop their driving skills at every opportunity, I tend to agree with this comment. Other than my own driveway, I've never gotten my Prius stuck in the snow. And after 150K miles over the past 8 years, my advice is to follow the weather and simply don't drive it in the snow where chains are required. Of course that's easy for me to say because all my traveling is on the west coast and during winter storms the highway along the coast is usually only rain when everything else further inland is snow.
     
  10. Aaron Vitolins

    Aaron Vitolins Senior Member

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    Since you’ve already got great advice, the only thing I’d say, check your oil..

    CHECK YOUR OIL!

    Highway, and hills, these old Prii will usually burn oil. Check the oil in the morning before the engine as started. This is the best way to get the most accurate reading.

    We have had many people post on here when their engine throws a rod due to low engine oil.

    Stay safe and enjoy your trip! Sounds like so much fun!
     
  11. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Lots of good advice so far. But I didn't see mention of siphoning out your junky southern windshield washer fluid and replacing it with winter weather fluid. My first trip up north in winter, I didn't know that the stuff down here is basically h2O. It froze into a solid block in the tank and I was stopping every couple miles on the interstate in a snowstorm to clear the windshield. Horrible experience that taught me a lesson I'll never forget.
     
    #11 jerrymildred, Nov 13, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
  12. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    ... For that far inland, pick fluid rated for at least -20°F. Don't go for 0°F mixtures, or heaven forbid, 32°F.

    Yes, spouse once brought home some stuff actually labeled "Protects from freezing down to +32°F!". I.e. no antifreeze whatsoever, still good for warm season bug removal up here, but not for winter.
     
  13. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Great point, but the best I've ever found in FL is 0F. Perhaps CA is better since they are closer to cold country. They even have their own cold country.
     
  14. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    wow, lol on that marketing scheme
     
  15. Jackie V

    Jackie V Junior Member

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    Awesome road trip... I want to go! Great info from everyone.
    Don't forget a tow strap-rope w/ the open hooks on the ends.
    Anyone w/ an awd vehicle could help get you out of a minor slip off the road.
    How about an electric blanket? Plugs into the 12v accessory thingy. $29.95
    Road emergency flares/fusees, Of course you'll have some awesome tunes.
    And when your not driving how about some of your favorite herb, just because!
    Lastly, a road trip urinary bottle $25.28 for those long backed-up traffic times.
    Have a safe, wonderful trip! It's a toke and some Steely Dan for me time!
    Happy Trails.
     
  16. alftoy

    alftoy Member

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    Might be better to install winter tires. And keep an eye on this web page.

    National Weather Service
     
  17. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I can hardly find anything on the grocery store juice shelf anymore that doesn't say "100% juice with added ingredients".
     
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  18. TJG1

    TJG1 New Member

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    Also, I'm not sure what good chains will do, if you really need them. My 05 only has 4 inches of clearance off the ground, so I'd be bottomed out pretty quickly, chains or not. BTW, I live in Michigan, and it has happened.
     
  19. ski.dive

    ski.dive Active Member

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    The PRIUS sits very low to the ground!!!
    Many inches of snow can accumulate very quickly=Drive it only on plowed roads
    Believe me, I've been thru some brutal snowstorms.
     
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  20. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    When a Prius bottoms out in the snow it's not gonna go anywhere without a great deal of fuss...
     
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