Putting on chains for snowy conditions

Getting your car ready for the Grenoble ski season

Putting on chains for snowy conditions
Putting on chains for snowy conditions


These 7 easy tips from François Lemaire of e-montage will help you prepare your vehicle for the ski season in Grenoble.


If you already live in or are thinking about moving to Grenoble, it might be for a very simple reason – those beautiful snow-covered mountains surrounding this wonderful city.

Skis and gear: check. Season ski pass: check. Vin chaud: check. Car: errr…?

Before tackling anything complicated on your vehicle, always consult the owner’s manual first and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and advice. Once you have done this, keep the manual in a convenient location, such as the glove compartment, where you’ll be able to find it quickly if you ever find yourself stranded on the side of the road.

Tip 1: Replace dirty interior ventilation filter(s). Leaves and debris falling on the car can clog the filter and cause the heating system to be less efficient. The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for maximal passenger comfort and driver visibility. Remember that by setting the heater to recirculating mode your vehicle’s interior will warm up faster; however, it should be set to the outside air intake mode for proper defrosting of the windshield.

Keep in mind that recirculating mode will also circulate wet air (from melting snow dripping from your boots) causing your windows to fog up and the interior to feel damp. An inexpensive set of rubber mats will help keep the interior of your vehicle from becoming humid which can lead to mold and mildew growth in the carpet, upholstery and air conditioning system.

Tip 2: Keep the fuel tank filled when the outside air temperature drops below freezing. This will help prevent moisture from condensing in the air above the fuel in the tank. This condensation will eventually sink to the bottom of the tank and into the fuel lines, clogging the lines as it freezes. By adding a bottle of fuel conditioner (such as Wynn’s, Bardhall, CRC, … found in any supermarket or auto parts store) into your fuel tank at every fuel refill, you can help keep the moisture from freezing inside the fuel lines and avoid costly repairs.

Tip 3: Check the cooling system. The coolant level should be at the “max” line indicated on the antifreeze reservoir. If the level is too low, add non-diluted coolant as water could freeze and break the reservoir before it has time to mix with the rest of the coolant (depending on the system). Always make sure the reservoir cap is clean and tight – this is the cap that has the “never open when engine is hot” warning on it – heed it!

Tip 4: Check or have your battery checked. The most accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. However, you can perform routine care yourself to extend the life of your battery. Always avoid contact with corrosive deposits (white or green powder on battery posts) and battery acid by wearing eye protection and rubber gloves. Brush away corrosive deposits from the battery posts and connections using a wire brush. Any loose post connections should be properly tightened. Be aware that removing the battery cables can cause loss of data or radio codes on some older vehicles requiring you to recode the radio, so make sure you consult your owner’s manual first before disconnecting battery cables. Step-by-step instructions for recoding the radio are typically provided in the owner’s manual.

Tip 5: Inspect all head lamps and lights and replace any burned out bulbs. Periodically clean road grime and road-salt crystals from all head lamps and lenses. Never use a dry rag for cleaning as this can scratch the lenses. Instead, use a soft wet sponge to remove grime and dissolve salt crystals. Remember that the French Code de la Route requires you to have replacement bulbs as well as a yellow reflective vest and safety triangle in your vehicle at all times.

Tip 6: Check your tires for proper tread depth and condition, and at least once a month check the tire pressure. You should find information indicating the proper pressure for your tires on a sticker located on either the fuel door (German cars) or on the driver’s door frame (French cars). Don’t forget to check the condition and pressure of your spare tire as well, and make sure that the jack and tool kit are in good working order.

Tip 7: Lastly, always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle containing: extra socks, boots, blankets, hats, gloves, a flashlight with extra batteries, a small shovel, a bag of salt or cat litter, and tire chains (adapted to the tire size). Keep some high-energy snacks in your glove box (such as granola bars, dried fruit or nuts) along with some bottled water (not more than ¾ full to allow for freezing).

These 7 easy tips will help prepare you and your vehicle for wintry roads. Always remember to adapt your driving to current road conditions and allow extra time to reach your destination. And most important of all, be safe and enjoy the slopes! If you have any questions about your vehicle or are uncertain about how to perform one of the steps above, give me a call or drop me an e-mail – I’ll be happy to help you!

06 04 04 16 79 or service@e-montage.fr