Removing Snow From Driveway - Best Long Term Solution?

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With a GRAVEL DRIVEWAY, is there ANY practical method?
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You should lie down in the guy's driveway and have a bulldozer run over you about 666 times.
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Wrong again. Gravel driveways are suboptimal especially when it snows.
You get to lie there 287 times. I'd sentence you to 288 times - but that would be too gross. ;)
Dick
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Dick Adams wrote:

Gravel driveways are just fine if you have a clue and maintain them properly, and just for reference, a paved driveway requires maintenance as well.
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SteveB wrote:

Absolutely. A snow blower works just fine on a gravel driveway if you know what you are doing, and of course if you get a reasonably capable vehicle with 4WD or AWD you don't need to do anything but drive. As I noted already, you don't have to get a big truck or SUV, most any Subaru vehicle and others with AWD and some ground clearance do just fine. The Viper and the Prius will need to stay in the garage until spring of course.
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That's fine if you only have one car coming and going each day, but my wife and I leave at different times and neither of us wants to commute in a truck. Then there's the licensing, insurance, and maintenance of a truck unless you drive one anyway.
Also, we can have a foot of snow here, and completely bare pavement just a mile or two down the road. It doesn't make sense to drive a big gas guzzler truck when the majority of our commute is completely clear.
Even snow tires would be hard to justify, both for cost and the hassles of swapping them with regular tires every year. We only get a few snowstorms each year, and the last several years we've had practically nothing. We would just end up wearing out the snow tires before we ever really needed them.
Anthony
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HerHusband wrote:

As I already indicated, look at most anything Subaru if you don't want a truck or SUV. My mother has a Subaru Impreza and it handles the "just drive over the snow" in a 100'+ gravel driveway just fine. Indeed it handles the on-road snow just as well as my 4WD 1T truck, it just can't handle the off road driving I do.

Again, you're not reading what I said. There are plenty of cars capable of handling on-road snow just fine.

I don't use "snow tires" either, and I think they are mostly going the way of the dodo. I use an all terrain, all season tire and they handle whatever I throw at them just fine.
Go buy a couple decent Subarus and be done with it. If you don't like Subaru for some reason, I believe there are a few other more expensive AWD options out there in other brands, but be sure to check that they have ground clearance comparable to the Subarus.
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Hi Pete,

I'm reading you fine, but I have no interest in buying a new vehicle right now. We're quite happy with our cars. 350+ days a year the roads are clear and completely passable. The remaining two weeks aren't enough to make AWD a significant factor for choosing a car. And even during a snow storm, it's not an issue once we get down off our hill.
We're VW folks. I've been driving a 1976 Rabbit for the last 18 years, and had a few Rabbits before that. My wife drives a 1986 Jetta, and has had a few VW's in the past too. With a good set of all-season tires, we generally have no problem coming or going. There's just a couple of steep spots in our driveway that are problematic, and when the snow gets deeper than the underside of the car it's not so easy going. :)
We can go anywhere we want to if we chain up, but I'd rather not chain up just to drive 150 feet out to the road. :)
Anthony
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wrote:

Sorry to drop in on this thread rather late. We live in Iowa. This has been one of the worst winters we have had in many years. We have an eight horse Ahrens (or however you spell it) two stage snow blower that will handle just about anything except very wet snow. That plugs the shoot and we have to take it out of gear, wait until we are absolutely sure the auger and all other moving part have come to a complete stop. Then we dig it out of the shoot with a small round point shovel we have. We back up a ways and put it back in gear. If we are lucky we will be able to move along quite awhile, but not always. We live on a four lane main street and our driveway gets filled a number of times before they are done. I don't cuss at them because I ran one of those plows for 34 years, but I don't have to like it.
This winter some of our snows have been in excess of 6" with drifting, while others have only been 1"-3" of the fluffy stuff that is hardly worth using the machine on. Unfortunately I strained my back on the very first snow and the doctor told my wife she has to do the shoveling and learn to use the snow blower. Actually, she's pretty darned good at it.
She has been asking me if we can look at one of the light weight electric snow blowers that she could use on the lighter snows by next fall before the first snows come in December. I have to confess that I have thought about that for a number of years, but just have never followed through with it. Our driveway is over 90' from the street to the garage and then there is a turn around area behind the house and of course the rather large dog run that we try to keep clean so it's easier to pick up their droppings.
We have two lawn mowers; one is a rechargeable electric and the other is a corded electric and we love them both. No gas, no oil, no spark plug. Just sharpen the blade once or twice a year.
Our neighbor has a light weight gas Toro snow blower and they have a gravel driveway. She has it adjusted up just enough that it doesn't throw gravel at her hour or ours.
Good luck with whatever you decide.
I would like to have a 4-wheel ATV with a plow on it, but just cannot justify the cost of even a used one. Besides I am not the type to take one mud running or any of that other stuff the young pups around here do with theirs.
Take care and be well.
--

Grandpa Chuck
--
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I ended up buying the Toro 1800 electric snowblower for $300. It took less than 30 minutes to assemble, and we still had patches of snow around I could try it out on.
I didn't have much snow to test it with, but I think it's going to work very well. Our driveway is about 150-200 feet long, but with a 100' cord and an outlet on our pumphouse about halfway up, I can reach the entire drive.
The snow we had left was mostly packed wet snow from earlier shoveling. The Toro 1800 had no problem going through it. I was impressed. With some of the taller piles I just lifted it up and set it on top, then worked my way down through the snow bank. Quick and easy.
We have a gravel driveway, and yes, it picks up tiny bits of gravel here and there, but no more than hand shoveling does. Of course, the blower throws the stones so I'm careful to aim the shoot where the stones (or snow for that matter) won't hit anything.
Now I just have to wait for our next snow fall, which we probably won't see till sometime next year.
The only real gripe I have with the Toro 1800 is the handle height is not adjustable. I'm six feet tall and the handle is kind of low. It gets worse when I try to tip the blower up slightly to avoid picking up stones. My back gets kind of sore from all that bending over, but it's still better than shoveling.
Take care,
Anthony
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SteveB wrote:

little pile of stone where the plow stopped. It is just normal maintenance no different than cutting the grass or trimming the trees.
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George wrote:

It's also an excuse to rent a Bobcat for the weekend to redistribute the gravel as well as tackle other landscaping rehab, and of course, just have fun with it.
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Yes, the same options you have with a paved one. Been doign it for 30 years on mine and on the old man's for years prior to that.
Maybe you should look around outside your suburban little house with a 10' drive.
Harry K
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Hi,
I have a similar situation and I am also looking for a different/ cheaper solution. We live in Westchester County, New York. Over the last few years the winters have been quite mild and snow has not been that much of an issue. Our drive way is about 150 feet with a car park bit near the garage doors. Our driverway ends onto a private road which we share with neighbours. We all share the plow costs of this road, but my driverway is my problem. Each time it snows it costs me $US 75 for the driverway, car park bit and my share of the road. Fortunately winters have been not too bad or it would get VERY expensive.
We have an ashphalt driveway not a gravel one. Hence I think this option may not suit your needs. I think the truck plow when it hits your gravel driveway it will tear up the driverway. One of our neigbours has an electric heated driverway. For mild snow and ice it works O.K. For the really heavy snow falls I see him out there with a snow blower because the system cannot keep up. It is somewhat temperature and snowfall rate dependent.
The downside to having a plough guy come is that you only want him to come AFTER the snow has finished. Hence you have a time slot when you want to get your car out BUT your driverway is socked in. This is especially difficult for us because we live on a hill and getting up it to go home in snow is not possible with normal tires. So my solution was to get snow tires. I have a Honda Civic (Front wheel driver only) and Bridgestone Blizzack snow tires. These tires really do the trick and I can make it up a 1:14 gradient, max building code gradient, in 6 inches of snow. All our neighbours have AWD cars of one sort or another. However on a really bad day, even one of those SUV AWD got stuck, but they have the normal all-season car tires on them.
For gravel driveways alot of people like the Honda snow blowers with tracks.
http://www.hondapowerequipment.com/snotra.asp
The main advantage is that the scoop height can be controlled accurately. Many snowblowers simply allow the scoop to scrape the ground. This is bad for gravel driverways because your snow blower will scoop up all the gravel as well. In the Honda's case the weight of the snow blower rests on the tracks, hence the scoop can be held just above the gravel. From net experience people say the electric start is really not worth getting because it is so easy to start anyway, and you need a nearby plug to power the starter. I was really considering getting one of these to lower the snow clearance costs.
Maintenance wise I find the Honda products to be pretty good. I use Stabil in the fuel of my Honda lawn mower, and it always starts, no problems.
I think the only downside on the Honda snow blower is the cost, these puppies are listed at about $US 2,400.
Let us know what your final solution is and maybe I will do the same.
Warmest regards, Mike.
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To the discussion, I would add, living in coastal NJ, I haven't had much need for snow removal either the last decade. However, I did buy a Sears gas blower with electric start. The electric start takes care of the issue of having to pull start it when it's cold. It starts right up. And maintenance has been minimal. I just run it dry of gas at the end of the season. And change the oil every year or two. Some years I haven't used it at all, like this year so far, but it's a great convenience when I do need it.
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HerHusband wrote:

Don't rule out the snowblower. With some simple once-a-year maintenance, you can sock it away and it will be ready when you need it.
Modern snowblowers have electronic ignition, so there are no points to rust up on you. Even the lowest-end models have electric start now. Plug in an extension cord and push the button. Mine starts with 1 pull, though, and it's a cheap "Yard Machines" model.
Put about double the normal dose of StaBil in the gas and run the engine for about 5 minutes. Then drain the gas from the tank until dry, and restart the engine. After it quits, pull it a few more times to make sure the carb is dry. Replace the fuel line on the dry tank. Park the snowblower.
The point of the StaBil is so that if there is any residual gas, it won't turn to varnish on you before it evaporates.
Next time you go to get it out, it will be ready to go and will start within 2-3 pulls. You should get the machine out, gas it up, and start it around Thanksgiving. Drain it and put it away around St. Patrick's day.
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HerHusband wrote:
Best Long Term Solution is to move to Hawai'i.
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jJim McLaughlin wrote:

Agreed, however it is also by far the most expensive solution.
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Well, you said best LONG TERM solution. This is my favorite.
The DOE has a lot a nuclear waste they'd like to dispose of. Encase it in cement and bury it under suburban driveways.
You'll never have to shovel again.
As long as you don't sleep in the driveway, you'll be fine.
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Hire a guy to plow it.
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