We are moving to Vermont in August, driving across country so I can go to law school. I need tips on prepping the truck for the 3,000 mile drive plus tips on what I need to do to prepare the vehicle for snow. Do I need snow tires? An engine block heater? (and what is this?) Do I need to have the truck’s underside coated to protect from salt? And do I need to do something to coat all the scratches and dings in the bed of the truck to keep rust out?
Do you have 4 wheel drive or rear-wheel drive? Rear-wheel drive only doesn’t work in snow, there’s not enough weight in the back end.
Are you going to leave the car outside overnight or in a garage?
It’s rear wheel drive, but the roads are plowed twice daily and we’ll only be using it to go to the grocery store and back a few times a month.
There’s no garage, so the truck’s going to be outside all the time.
We’ll be in South Royalton village, if that helps.
You don’t need a block heater-- they’re nice little devices that plug in and pre-warm the engine so you get heat faster (and if you’re someplace really cold like Nunuvut or something it’ll stop the coolant from freezing).
Your truck is already as rustproofed as it’s going to get-- in fact applying aftermarket undercoatings often prevents salty water from draining out and makes rust worse. As for the bed scratches, if they’re down to metal you might consider going over them with some touch-up paint, but if they’re just superficial, don’t worry about them. If you do use your truck in such a way that it gets scratched up a lot, you might consider having a spray-on bedliner applied.
As for tires, your compact 2wd truck is going to be very squirrelly in the snow. You’ll definitely at least want to keep a good set of all-seasons or all-terrain tires on it and snow tires will make all the difference in the world. You’ll probably also want to put 200lbs or so of tube sand over the back axle.
I’ve got all terrains on now and they’re only 8 months old, so I’d like to put off getting new tires if I can.
Any thoughts on whether I should get the custom sand pack for the truck bed that GMC sells for this truck or just throw some sandbags in there?
As everyone says, a rear-wheel-drive pickup won’t be a good snow vehicle, even with the winter tires and extra weight, so drive carefully and avoid bad weather as much as you can. By late September, make sure you’ve replaced your current washer fluid with winter washer fluid and make sure you’ve replaced your coolant if it’s due. Before winter really kicks in, put an extra blanket, hat, and gloves in the truck. Cellphone coverage isn’t great in Vermont in general, so see which company has the best coverage in that area and consider switching to them if necessary.
spent 30 years in Vt. as long as the schools are open roads will be well plowed. rare day that schools are closed. plenty of pick ups in VT that get along just fine…most put bags of sand or cinder blocks in truck bed. Enjoy fall colors.
Winter tires make treacherous winter driving a pleasure.
You can get away with not using them. However winter driving will be a top most thought when in the conditions or simply caught in them.
I would highly suggest four winter tires if you don’t want to think much about it. You’ll never look back and wonder why you spent the money.
Don’t believe the **** about the cost. Remember despite what people post, your regular tires do not wear while being stored in the winter.
Throw a lot of weight in the back and drive very carefully, because your back tires are still going to spin.
It’ll start if you have a good battery and your coolant is good down to -30 degrees.
Other than making sure the coolant is OK, You’ll probably be fine. You’ll probably want some sandbags or something similar eventually to get some weight over the rear wheels, but some people get by without them. We moved up here to Chittenden County with RWD vehicles and sometimes dealing with snow if we needed to go somewhere and the storm exceeded expectations was a bit of a nuisance, but the only time we’ve ever needed help was when my wife high centered our Toyota Camry on a pile of ice in someone’s dirt driveway. I had chains for both the RWD cars but very rarely had to use them – maybe once every other Winter. You can buy a set of chains for your pickup for under $100. If you decide to carry them, make sure that you know how to put them on because learning how when it’s dark, the wind is howling, the temperature is well below freezing, and the snow is a foot deep is not likely to be the high point of your day.
No, you don’t need block heaters or anything like that. You’ll see winter daytime temperatures in the teens or 20s. Nighttime temperatures 10 above to 10 below Fahrenheit. Occasional cold spells might get down to 20 or 30 below, but not for long and the state pretty much shuts down when it gets really cold. Likewise, usually lot of snow, but few horrendous storms. Two to six inches is routine and you are expected to deal with it. 18 inches or more is unusual and you can soldier on through it at your option.
Rust? It’s going to happen. Or it isn’t. There isn’t much you can do about it except to apply touch up paint to scratches and dings
Route to Vermont. I’d take I15 to Salt Lake City. Then I80 to Cleveland, I90 to I91 to I89 West. You’ll have to pay some tolls. I’m pretty cheap, but I think they are worth it. Royalton is, if memory serves exit 2 or 3 on I89. There are more scenic routes through upstate New York and rural Vermont, but I’m guessing that by the time you get to Syracuse, you will just want to get the drive over with and not dink around with picturesque town centers full of Summer tourists. There is only one long uphill haul on that route – over Parleys Summit between Salt Lake City and Park City. If you have any doubts about your truck’s cooling system, you may prefer not to do that during the hot part of the day.
As GJ said, make sure it’s over the axle, and SECURED inside the bed. I know one poster on here turned a wooden pallet upside down and rigged it inside the bed of his truck to secure the stuff he puts in his truck every winter.
Maybe if you search the dumpster of a local grocery/department store for a decent sized, but broken one, you’ll not have to pay for it.
Las Vegas to South Royalton, VT…You will think you are on a different planet…“New England Winters” take on a whole new meaning…
They don’t sand the roads in VT. The plow just lays down a strip of pure salt on the centerline and the sun does the rest…Vehicles don’t rust here, they dissolve and they do it rather quickly. Your truck will be okay with snow tires and 500 pounds of bagged sand in the back…During heavy snow days, you just stay home…
"According to the American Bar Association, there were 1,116, 967 licensed attorneys in June of 2006. The number rose to 1,128,729 by the end of 2006, and grew to 1,143,358 by the end of 2007. Number of lawyers for each state in those years can be found on “Lawyers By State” on the ABA Website. "
Are you SURE you want or need a law degree??
If you are not going to buy winter or snow tires, I’d suggest that you get a set of chains, or at least the cable type and keep them in the vehicle.
I don’t think Vermont is in the Arctic circle unless the Vermont legislature has put it there. For years, people drove in the northern states with rear wheel drive vehicles. I think in ice storms and freak snow storms, some southern states may be more dangerous as far as driving is concerned. Since you will be in school, you won’t be doing a lot of driving. Do as the others suggest–put weight in the back of the truck and use snow tires. When that first snow falls, find an empty parking lot and practice braking and turning.
If you use common sense, you will be fine.
Make sure all th emaintenance is up to date.
Make sure all your fluids are fresh and proper for cold weather, especially your coolant and windshield washer fluid.
Yes, winter tires are a good idea. Especially for a newbie to this climate.
Forget the undercoating. It’ll do no good on a modern vehicle and can cause opportunities for rust where none currently exist.
I like those spray on truck bed linings. You can buy cans at eth parts store and do it yourself, or pay someone who does this.
By all means add weight over the rear axle (or just forward of the axle). If you use sand, I suggest putting it in solid plastic containers with secure tops and securing it well in the truck bed. Any loose object can become a deadly flying object in an accident. Sand in bags will retain water and develop rot spots in the bed.
What I did in my pickups was I made a flat “box” out of 2x4s with a 1/4" plywood bottom, the box portion of the structure being just fore of the axle, the longitudinal 2x4s being the bed length to secure the box, the 2x4s being secured to the bed. I loaded two layers of 1"x8"x16" patio blocks into the “box”, then screwed the lid on with decking screws. That left me with a still usable bed, and the blocks and box were easy to remove and put back as the seasons changed.
I also carried plastic bottles full of dry sand just in case I got stopped on sheer ice on an incline.
Come fall, you may also want to get rubber-booted winter wipers. Regular wipers will ice up quickly in a storm and completely obliterate your vision.
A AAA membership can be a lifesaver also. In a storm, many tow shops do the members first and non members wait. Their fee is guaranteed for members.
I don’t think you need to do anything but put stable weights in the bed over or behind the rear tires. If you only use the truck a couple of time each month, pick nice days to do it. If you can stay off ice and drive gently to the grocery store on Saturday or Sunday, you will be fine.