I am a prepper. There I said it.

I am not a nut, nor am I preparing for nuclear war/ the collapse of society/ alien invasion; I prep for  more mundane things such as power cuts, or my car not starting in winter, or being stuck in my car in the snow.

That is what this post is all about; preparing to be stuck in my car in the snow, and prepping for cold weather so that hopefully I & my family don’t get stuck in my car in winter weather.

Of course this would be of more interest to others if I had written it before winter, but then I would not have had time to test this out.


Frozen Diesel
Smith and Allan anti-wax additive

Smith and Allan anti-wax additive

Last winter we went out on a cold February morning to start our 10 year old diesel PT Cruiser. It wouldn’t start, and we cranked and cranked until the battery died. I assumed that the battery was flat because of the cold (it had been -11°C the night before and the car was still parked in the shade at -10°C), a neighbour came out to help and we tried to jump start the car, again with no luck. It wasn’t until later I learnt that Diesel clouds at about -10°C, that this clouding can cause the fuel filter to clog up, and that our engine pre-heater was broken.

Since repairing the pre-heater is something I didn’t quite get round to this year this winter I used a diesel additive. I used Smith & Allan Diesel anti-wax agent, for the main reason that one £9.99 container treats 500ltr’s of fuel. It comes in an HDPE container and has to be added to fuel before the fuel starts to cloud, so I bought two small HDPE containers (from eBay) which would hold the exact amount I needed to treat a full tank of fuel, and then used them one at a time when filling up.

Easy, and we have not had an issue with fuel this winter.


Snow socks

There has been a lot written about these and I am not going to add much. I bought my snow socks (Autosock) 2nd hand on eBay hand for £30 and have used them once this winter. We’ve had a decent amount of snow this year but the roads were kept clear, and we avoided driving when we could.

Testing the snow socks on the day I bought them

Testing the snow socks on the day I bought them

The only time we were caught out was when driving back from one of Bella’s friends birthday parties, which was only a 15 min drive from home. Whilst we were in the party snow fell, melted, and then froze before more snow fell. This covered the roads in a very thin layer of ice and snow, which we had to negotiate on one of the steepest, busiest hills in our area.

We got over the top of the hill and hit an area of ice so steep that even only doing 4mph we took 5m to stop, and then if I tried taking the foot brake off, and using just the hand brake, we would start sliding again.

I steered us into the curb, and then once we had stopped, and the queue of traffic stopped behind us slid off down the hill (why do people do that, just blindly keep going – am I just overly cautious?) I hopped out and put the snow socks on the front wheels, exactly as per the instructions (except they say don’t put on when on a hill), just rolling forward a little bit to get the top of the socks on.

We were able to drive away, very slowly, and had full control of the car. When I got home I checked them and there were a few little holes (that said there were some before we started) but they were still in good condition.

I would recommend taking a rubble sack with you when carrying snow socks as they will get filthy with snow and road grime, and you will need somewhere to stuff them other than the supplied bag, which requires careful folding and pushing your arm in all the way to the elbow. Don’t use a bin bag as the weight of the snow socks will cause it to tear.


Washing Snow Socks

I looked for definitive information on washing snow socks online, and found very little. SO. Machine wash, 25°C, no conditioner, 1600 spin, hang out to dry (will be dry in a few hours). They will look like new (except for the holes).


Snow socks in the mud
I took this photo just after driving home with the snow socks on

I took this photo just after driving home with the snow socks on

I remember someone saying that these could be used when stuck in the mud, I of course can’t find where I read than now, but trust me when I say THEY CAN’T. That’s it, there is no need to share with the world how I know this.

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