Moving from HOT climate (AL) to COLD climate (Iowa) - what new things should I consider?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by SRQ, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. SRQ

    SRQ Member

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    The job is having me move from the south to what is essentially the north-midwest.

    What things should I consider for successful operation of my Gen 2? I am from the south and have only driven in snow a handful of times, and never in the Prius. There's no rust on it, and I'm expecting that to change, however, one thing to consider is that the car has 200k miles on it, so I don't think it's going to be a very big deal since the car is at least halfway past its useful life anyway. I expect to drive 99% of the time in an urban/suburban environment.

    Should I get snow tires? What kinds of things should I consider with this car's particulars to help determine that? What kind of emergency equipment should I keep (was thinking of a few heating candles, flares, emergency blanket)? What kind of oil should I switch to, and should I do certain kinds of maintenance more/less frequently?

    Thank you for the help, I can always count on PriusChat to give me good advice :)
     
  2. ski.dive

    ski.dive Active Member

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    The Prius is equipped with 'Traction Control' to prevent slippage and tire spinning.
    The Prius’ Hybrid Drive System its built on top of the front drive wheels, making it the heaviest part of the car.
    It uses this to its advantage. By pushing the drive wheels through the snow, the Prius gets a better grip on the road. What’s more, electric motors, like the one found in the Prius, are more efficient at distributing torque. A common misconception is that only cars with high ground clearance are okay for snowy conditions.
    The Prius’ 5.25 inches give it plenty of clearance.
    In fact, roads which see steady traffic are often plowed before too much snow accumulates.
    *I have a home in Vermont and have never used snow tires, they are Plowing as fast as the snow falls!!!
    ***AND NEVER DRIVE ON ICY ROADS=NOT SAFE FOR ANY CAR, EVEN A 4X4
     
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  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    Snow tires is my first thought. Block heater too, if you can get it in the States.
     
  4. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    Block heater? It doesn’t get that cold in Iowa.
     
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  5. Austin Longenecker

    Austin Longenecker Junior Member

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    I'm moving to Minnesota in a few days so I've been wondering this too. I dont plan to drive much in the snow, seeing as I've only seen snow twice in my life, once in memorable history back home in Texas. That was less than one inch.

    As far as keeping the vehicle healthy in the cold weather, is there anything I should know about? Besides the engine knock that happens sometimes when left in cold weather without running for a few days?
     
  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Definitely winter tires or at least all-weather tires like the Nokia WR series (WRG4 is the latest). The reason is that the Gen 2 has an aggressive traction control system that cuts power (Gen 3 and newer Prii allow some wheel spin in conjunction with the traction control system).

    For a winter emergency kit, blankets, flashlight, waterproof candles, sand/kitty litter.

    Ensure your headlights are clean. If they're yellowed from the sun, polish them. You'll want the maximum light you can get for the longer nights. Ensure you have a healthy 12V battery (Although with a Prius, you're really just using the 12V to start the computers, rather than crank the engine so it doesn't need to be a strong battery, just a healthy one).

    Also, don't freak out but your mpg will suffer in the winter with the heater requirements.

    An EBH is also a good idea if you wanna heat up the engine sooner but if you're not planning to keep the car for much longer, then don't bother.
     
  7. Austin Longenecker

    Austin Longenecker Junior Member

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    I do plan on keeping the car for as long as it'll keep running. Is an engine block heater necessary for that?

    I know this is a gen 2 thread but I drive a gen 3, if that makes any difference. I saw a thread asking the same question I was wondering so thought I'd hop on in.

    Edit: I'm reading about those and it appears as if you have to plug them in? Living on campus at college, I do believe that'll be hard to do, if possible.
     
    #7 Austin Longenecker, Aug 15, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  8. Moving Right Along

    Moving Right Along Active Member

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    I live in Minnesota. You don’t need winter tires. My all seasons work just fine 95+% of the time in snow & ice. When I do get stuck, kitty litter or sand and a shovel will get you out. You don’t need an engine block heater for the car to run. Mine has started and ran in temperatures as low as -20 F. You will see drastically lower MPG numbers when it’s cold out. This is normal, and not something to worry about. The most important thing to be alert about is the traction control and anti-lock braking in winter. On icy roads, anti-lock braking will kick in and make it impossible to quickly stop the car. So you need to slow down much more gradually than you normally would, or you could go right through an intersection.
     
  9. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Necessary? No but it helps reduce the hit on mpg in the winter. I managed a 4.9L/100km (48mpg) lifetime fuel economy despite daytime temps in the -20s in the winter (as low as -40 one year) and summer highs in the 30s (high 80s low 90s).
     
  10. Austin Longenecker

    Austin Longenecker Junior Member

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    I wish I had summers like yours. This past week, it's been 52° C / 127°F in the sun.
    What about extended periods without driving? I don't think I'll drive during particularly icey days because I have zero experience of driving on snow or ice. How often should I run the engine to keep a charge in the battery?
     
  11. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    I got my snow tires.and block heater, pretty much 8 am day one, here in California North lol.

    Blockheater was in before we rolled off the lot, and snow tires about a week later.

    There's lots of things you don't "need", up to the individual.
     
  12. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    My advice is to just drive it. Extra measures for traction or warming help, but are not necessary. Here's an example of a commute to work for me in Minnesota...

     
  13. Skibob

    Skibob Senior Member

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    Man, I’m an old man now. When I was a younger man a good friend of mine took me into a parking lot full of snow and said “have at it”. It was my driving lesson to figure out how to drive a 1976 Starfire with a V6 and stick shift how to drive in the snow. Once you learn how to drive in the snow it’s not a big deal. When it snowed at our house in New Jersey I would take the 4 runner out of 4 wheel drive so I could get a taste of drifting in the snow. That 4 runner was a stick too. Sometimes it’s just fun.

    Once I was driving my 1972 Mercedes 220D in the snow going downhill towards a very large garbage truck. My car started sliding sideways toward the garbage truck. I kept the car on the road and was figuring why the car would not respond to my steering input. Stick in neutral, check. Foot off the gas, check. Foot off the break...NO.. FOOT ON THE BRAKE. Once I figured that out I took my foot off the brake and was able to correct and pass the very large garbage truck.
     
    #13 Skibob, Aug 15, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
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  14. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    Still, all things being equal, snow tires will give you significantly more grip.
     
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  15. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    It depends on the condition of the battery (an older battery will lose charge faster... now I don't know what the rate is since my Prius is the daily driver so at most I'll leave it sit for a week or two if I'm on vacation).

    Roughly run it for 30 minutes every 1-2 months? I mean if you're just leaving it for vacation, you'll be fine.
     
  16. Zythryn

    Zythryn Senior Member

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    Winter tires are not a necessity, however, they will give you better traction and security.
    One caveat, if you are living on campus and the campus is on a hill, get the snow tires.

    As mentioned above, for new snow drivers, I highly recommend going out to a big open parking lot and experiencing how the car handles in snow. Once you do this, you will have a better idea if you want snow tires or not.

    The basic rule is slow down and leave more room between you and the car in front of you.
    The next basic rule is watch out for the yahoos that think they don’t need to follow the basic rules because they have AWD. Those are usually the ones you see in the ditch;);)
     
  17. Austin Longenecker

    Austin Longenecker Junior Member

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    That sounds like a fun way to learn to drive in snow. If I can find one, I'll give it a try. I'm not too worried about it, but having no experience, I at least want to learn how it handles on snow one way or another before taking it on the roads.
     
  18. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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  19. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    It's kind of hard to tell what "New" things you might want to do, when we don't really know what "Old" things you were doing.

    In general, moving I'd want a basic check-up, with attention to fluids, coolant and brake. If this hasn't been paid attention to up to this point.

    My experience with my Gen 3 Prius has me ALWAYS saying I do recommend snow tires.
    Which always brings out a contingent saying snow tires aren't needed.

    But IMO, with the Prius's very aggressive traction control system, and regenerative brakes, I loved my Prius, but felt it wasn't the best snow and ice vehicle. Maintaining traction was important. IMO maybe more important than with other regular vehicles.

    So I would say, either invest into specific winter only snow tires-the best option.

    I would almost approach this like preparing for a long road trip. That is, I'd want at least rudimentary checks of everything.

    Once you've done that? Maintain the vehicle as per normal. Your geographical climate is changing, BUT the vehicle is designed to be used in diverse environments.
     
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  20. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That's because "needed" is inaccurate.

    "Beneficial" would be more appropriate.
     
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