Dents in the Driveway

A Wintertime Test for Ice & Snow Removal

This weekend, following a 3 day sleet then snow storm, we found ourselves stuck at home without any means of transportation. Granted, we do live at the very bottom of a very steep hill and should have moved our vehicles to higher ground during the first few hours of the winter storm but I guess we were all just too cozy underneath our blankets watching TV.

Because we didn’t move our vehicles, we paid the price. We exercised multiple approaches in attempts to remove ourselves from the icy driveway but sadly – failed multiple times.

With this article, we will take you through our icy escape and hopefully help others who are hoping to leave their driveways without dents or dings to your automobiles.

Shoveling the Driveway

metal-shovelOur only option in the beginning was some good old fashioned shoveling. Now this seems like it might be an obvious and fail safe way to remove the snow and ice. Unfortunately, we were not only facing snow and ice removal but snow and ice removal from approximately 30 feet of extremely narrow and dangerously steep blacktop driveway. With 2 shovels, one metal and one a thick molded plastic, we started at the top.

Removing the 3-4 inches of snow was a breeze but chiseling through about an inch and a half of ice was not. My wife was not experiencing any success with her molded plastic shovel. It simply was not strong enough to break through the ice. I, on the other hand, was able to slowly chip away at the ice with my metal shovel. With my successes, I decided to relieve my wife of her snow and ice removal duties and keep keeping on.

Tip #1: Ditch the plastic shovel and stick to the metal shovel when removing driveway snow and ice.

As this is the best route to take when removing snow and ice from a driveway, it is NOT EASY. Admittedly, I gave up after 4 hours and only maybe 5 feet of semi-successful ice removal.

Ice Melt for Snow and Ice Removal

Road Runner Ice Melt Test and Review

Luckily, my father-in-law lives in the neighborhood and volunteered to give us a hand in our automobile driveway extraction. He took us to the local hardware store to pick up some ice melt. Once there, we were sad to see that all of the rock salt had been swooped up and all that remained was a few lonely bags of Road Runner Ice Melt. I have never used an ice melt in fear of damage to the driveway but due to the circumstances I grabbed the last 4 bags and headed back to the driveway.

First I read the instructions.

Apply 2-3 oz. per square yard. Sprinkle evenly on to the surface area to be treated. Remove slush and water when melted to prevent re-freezing

roadrunner-ice-meltFair enough. I grabbed a plastic bar cup from the cabinet and began the process. I was careful not to over do it after reading a few horror story reviews on Amazon claiming the ice melt concoction turned their driveways to mush. I was encouraged when I heard the subtle sound of cracking ice beneath my feet. After distributing about half of the 20 pound bag onto the driveway, I headed back inside to wait for the magic to happen.

2 hours later….

I was disappointed to see that the ice had not turned to “mush” and could simply be shoveled away. I was pleased to find that the ice had weakened enough for me to break up the sheet of ice without as much effort as before. But still, it was not the INSTANT solution I had been looking for.

Tip 2: Use your ice melt within the first few hours of snowfall or in anticipation of a storm. Ice melt is also effective once the snow and ice has been cleared.

After checking the weather app on my phone, I decided to try again the next day as the temperature was forecast to be just above freezing level. I am pleased to report that after waiting a day and a rise in temperature DID help to improve my efforts.

With a little help from my father-in-law, we were able to clear 95% of the ice and snow from the blacktop portion of the driveway. The gravel section at the very bottom that lead to the front door is another story. Shoveling ice and snow from gravel is not easy.

Desperation Attempts

Dented Truck. Still Stuck.

truck-dent-paintless-dent-repairWith nothing left to lose, I decided it was time to just go for it. Without 4 wheel drive on a Toyota Tacoma, I now know my sexy silver truck was nothing but 3 season bad ass. Admittedly, after nearly 15 failed attempts at just “gunning it” through the slippery gravel and up the steep hill, I disliked my truck for the very first time. If you have not experienced the sheer emotional combination of frustration and desperation – you might never understand why I risked it all and ultimately ended up denting the passenger side panel on a tree on the side of the drive.

Tip 3: Sometimes it is better to just wait it out for a sunny day. 

I never like to admit defeat but in some cases, there really is just nothing left to do but wait it out.

Sunny Day Success

Ice and snow melting off blacktop driveway.
It will melt. I promise.

After multiple failed attempts, I learned a valuable lesson. If you see snow and ice in the forcast, move your vehicle someplace it can be easily removed. If you can not do this, make sure you apply rock salt or ice melt BEFORE the storm hits hard. You will save yourself days of work, half a bottle of muscle pain relief, possible auto dents & dings and missed work. And finally, if you feel like your only solution is to put your vehicle to the ultimate test and force your way out – don’t do it!

Tip 4: If all else fails, wait for a sunny day. Let mother nature undo what she had done. Eventually, it will happen.

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