Lachlan passed away in January 2010.  As a memorial, this site remains as he left it.
Therefore the information on this site may not be current or accurate and should not be relied upon.
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Welcome to Lachlan Cranswick's Personal Homepage in Melbourne, Australia

Winter Driving in Canada/Ontario as well as Ontario drivers licences, car dealerships, Snow Plowing in Deep River, etc

Getting to and things to do in the Deep River, Upper Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada area

Lachlan's Deep River homepage is at

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Winter Driving in Canada/Ontario

  • Part 1. of winter driving paranoia - getting the car to start in the cold

  • Part 2. of winter driving paranoia - minimize risk of sliding off icy/snowy road
    • Goodyear Icegrip snow tires /ice tires - Cdn $447.00 for set of 4; Steel rims: Cdn $262.00 for set of 4.
    • Warning: some people who have tried Ice tyres in the past have found them good for ice, hopeless for snow. For snow, get snow tires was their advice. Though for all wheel drive vehicles like a Subaru, colleagues have recommended just sticking with all season tires.

  • Part 3. of winter driving paranoia - after spending all that money
    • Take bus / or other public transport during snowy/icy conditions.

  • Part 4. if taking a flight out in winter, check the weather and go the night before if required.
      366 Hunt Club Road, Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1V 1C1
      Tel: (613) 739-7555
      Fax (613) 739-7005
      Direct toll free Canada & US: 1-866-468-4442
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  • Using the Davis CarChipEX for computer diagnostics on a 1999 Subaru Legacy (using the OBDII connector)

  • Other Products:

  • Get Ready for Winter Driving
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    • Winter Equipment
      The following items should cover most situations:
      - windshield scraper and snow brush;
      - lightweight shovel;
      - bag of sand, wire traction mat or other abrasive substance;
      - large box of facial tissues;
      - properly inflated spare tire;
      - wheel wrench and jack;
      - first aid kit;
      - flashlight;
      - flares;
      - battery jumper cables.

      For long distance travel take extra precautions: bring a blanket, candles, lighter or matches, emergency rations, lined winter boots, hat and other warm clothes, and small heating cans.

    • Use a block heater in winter when the temperature drops to -20 deg C (-4 deg F) or below. A block heater keeps your engine oil and coolant warm, which makes the vehicle easier to start and can increase winter fuel economy by as much as 10 per cent. Use a timer to switch on the block heater one or two hours before you plan to drive.

  • Driving in a Winter Wonderland

  • DRIVEABILITY DIAGNOSTICS: Replacing the Oxygen Sensor as Preventive Maintenance, Larry Carley, ImportCar, January 2000

  • Canadian Driver - Coping with cold weather

  • Canadian Driver - Cars and cold weather

  • Winterizing Your Car

  • PlugRite / Plug Rite electronic block heater monitor

  • Winter is at our door - Automobile block heaters

  • Energy Saving Tips For Winter

  • Winter - Car Tips
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    • Connect your block heater with a power saver cord. This cord features a built-in thermostat that will sense the temperature of the coolant in the engine and allows power through to the block heater only when the temperature drops below -7° C. You can buy a power saver cord at automotive retail stores for about $29.00.


  • Tip #4: Block heaters and Power Saver Cord

  • Winter - Car Tips - Block Heater Savings - Power Saver Cords / Block Heater Cords
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    • A power saver cord is an extension cord with a thermostat built into it. The thermostat monitors the temperature of the coolant in the engine turning the block heater on and off. This maintains the right engine temperature for a quick easy start.

      When outside temperatures are -20°C (-4°F), the power saver cord is only on for 20% of the time. At -30°C (-22°F) the power saver cord is on for 55% of the time. Remember too that it takes approximately three hours to cool down a hot engine to the cut-in temperature of the thermostat. By using a power saver cord, no electricity is used during this cool down period.

      Check for power saver cords in the automotive section of local retailers. It takes only a few minutes to have one professionally installed

  • power saver cords for car block heaters
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    • Jasper Energy Efficiency Project (JEEP) wanted people to use power saver cords for car block heaters. They learned that a program in the Yukon had been successful in selling the cords but that most of the cords had not been installed or had been installed incorrectly - apparently because customers had been expected to perform the installation themselves.

  • power saver cords for car block heaters

  • Subaru Engine Block Heater
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    • When should the engine block heater be used? The heater can be used whenever the outside temperature is below freezing. The heater raises the engine's water temperature by approximately 50 degrees. This keeps the engine warm and eases the starting of the cold engine.

      What are the power requirements for the engine block heater? The heater uses standard 115 volts of power and draws 400 watts

  • Fall tune-up checklist

  • Block Heater Installation Instructions
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    • The element is 600W and uses 120VAC. The heater is located centrally in the engine block, and the heat it generates spreads quickly throughout the entire engine! For example, at 10°F, the engine, manifolds, carburetor, expansion tank, EVEN THE OIL PAN all feel warm to the touch if the heater is left plugged in throughout the night. Engine temperature can be read on the dash gauge at about 50°C, or over 120°F! A TEMPERATURE RISE of 80°F to over 100°F can be expected if left plugged in eternally.

    • The unit uses 600W whenever it’s plugged in. There’s no thermostat, so it’s easy to waste electricity with it. Outdoor timers work well for block heater management. In the summer, don’t use it, as it could potentially boil the coolant.

  • Car Talk's Official Winter Driving Tips

  • Getting ready for cold-weather motoring

  • Plug it in
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    • Q. What is the difference between block heaters and engine heaters?

      A. They are the same thing. There are a number of different types. The most common is the "freeze plug heater." It is installed in a freeze plug port of the engine block where it warms the coolant in your engine block.

    • Q. How much does it cost to use?

      A. A major engine heater manufacturers recommend that freeze plug heaters be sized at approximately 150 watts per liter of engine size. A 2.3 liter/4cylinder engine would cost about 3.1 cents an hour to operate. A 5 liter/8 cylinder engine would cost about 6.7 cents an hour.

  • Block heaters: Advantages galore!
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    • The block heater is scorned by some car owners, who think that plugging in a car “spoils” it, makes it “sensitive to cold” and unlikely to cold-start on a day when you haven’t plugged it in. This is patently untrue. Humans are sensitive to cold... metal is not. There are only advantages to using a block heater and, when used properly, it does not have to cost a fortune in electricity.

      Generally, you should start using a block heater when the temperature drops to -12°C, and it is imperative to use it anywhere from -15°C to -18°C. Finally, have the unit checked during your fall tune-up to be sure it’s in good working order.

  • RE: Engine block heater
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    • I have EXTENSIVE experience with block heaters over the years here in Vermont. It sure is nice to start the engine and have some warm air coming from the vents soon afterwards. (not to mention that the ENGINE LIFE is drastically increased.)

      I usually only use a block heater when the outside temp is below 0F. A 12 or 10 gauge xtension cord with a "indicator lite" molded into the end is the best choice. (Sears) Using a smaller gauge xtension will simply loose the current in the wire and reduce the effectivness of the heater.

      I also use a heavy-duty outdoor timer that comes on about 2-3 hours before I will be starting the engine.

      xplikt above is correct... the "risk" of leaving it on for too long lies in using copious amounts of electricty and eventually burning out the heater.... again, from experience with my 1st engine heater many years ago... I used to plug it in when I got home from work every night. It lasted about 1.5 winters before it stopped heating.

  • Q: I was wondering if you have any advice for winterizing Volvos? I'm planning to move to Edmonton, Alberta.

  • a. A battery blanket (an insulated, electrically-heated wrapper which keeps the battery warm overnight). It will prevent the battery from freezing and will aid in cold weather starts. Cost: around $15.00;

  • c. A heavy duty battery. Get the *largest* one which will fit. Generally around 700 to 800 cca (cold cranking amps) should do. Of course, make sure that the battery cables are clean, tight and well crimped. Cost: around $80.00;

  • f. A set of *very high-quality* jumper cables (8 ga wire). Cost: $50.00. If you have a well-tuned car and the above equipment you may not ever need a boost, but you'll be well received by "damsels-in-distress"!

  • Living in Ottawa, the world's second coldest capital city (just behind Ulan Bator, Mongolia), gives one a good appreciation for cold weather operations. Equiping the car is the first step. Equiping yourself is the second. I recommend that every car carry the following:
    • a. a candle and matches
    • b. a sleeping bag;
    • c. a spare pair of gloves, winter boots and a hat; and
    • d. a few candy bars.

  • Block heater fire destroys car

  • 1994 Dodge Intrepid Engine Block Heater Fire

  • Canada - Automotive - Parts

  • The UNOFFICIAL Legacy Outback FAQ, V 1.2

  • Schumacher automatic car battery charger - 1.5 Amp Fully Automatic Onboard Maintainer/Charger

  • Intelligent Parking Lot Controller

  • Space-saver spare designed for emergency use only
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    • How to help your car cope with cold snaps

      For a couple of weeks every winter, the mercury will dip in to the minus 20-degree range, making starting and driving an older vehicle a challenge.

      I have several suggestions that can make it easier to start the engine and keep it running well in frigid weather.

      Two wonderful items to install on any older vehicle are block heaters and battery warmers. They cost very little to purchase and install and almost guarantee the battery has enough reserve to start the engine.

      The block heater alone will not add life to the battery, but does make turning the engine over easier. If I had to choose one, I'd pick the battery warmer.

      An alternative to the warmer is a small two-amp battery charger that can be permanently connected to the battery and plugged in at night.

      Use gasoline antifreeze when the temperature falls below minus 20C. Never allow the tank to fall much below the full point. This reduces the risk of condensation forming in the upper empty part of the tank.

      If you cannot park the vehicle in an area with electrical access for the block heater and battery warmer, you might consider filling up with a tank of super gasoline during the cold snap.

      Install synthetic or semi-synthetic oil in the engine, which will reduce the power both the starter and battery must provide to turn the engine over quickly. When the engine turns over quickly, it will start more easily.

      The thinner synthetic oil also provides better lubrication in the first few seconds after start-up.

  • Idling Quiz
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    • 7. Using a block heater helps an engine warm up quickly, which means less fuel consumption and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. True or false?

      TRUE: Yes, block heaters can be a fuel-saving device because they heat the engine block and lubricants. This means that the engine will start more easily and reach its peak operating temperature faster. A block heater needs to be plugged in for only a couple of hours (instead of overnight) to do its job.

      FALSE: The answer you're looking for is "true." Block heaters can be a fuel-saving device because they heat the engine block and lubricants. This means that the engine will start more easily and reach its peak operating temperature faster. A block heater needs to be plugged in for only a couple of hours (instead of overnight) to do its job.

    • 8. Once a vehicle is running, the best way to warm it up is to drive it. True or false?

      TRUE: Very good – driving your vehicle ensures that all parts get warmed up, and it doesn't waste fuel. Until the engine temperature begins to rise, it's a good idea to avoid high speeds and rapid acceleration.

      FALSE: Sorry. Driving the vehicle is the right answer – that way, all parts get warmed up, and fuel isn't wasted while you're going nowhere. Until the engine temperature begins to rise, it's a good idea to avoid high speeds and rapid acceleration.

  • Canadian Weather
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    • Virtually all Canadian automobiles (except possibly those in warmer coastal areas) are equipped with block heaters . This is an advantage needed to start cars on cold winter mornings or after a day in a parking lot. Many people also invest in interior car warmers which also get plugged in when the car is left to sit for long periods during the winter. An interior car warmer won't keep the car toasty but will reduce the effort needed to scrape the ice off the windows and lessen difficulties associated with children waiting for the regular heater to take effect.

  • Did You Know? What's fact, what's myth, what's new? Some interesting and often unknown facts on vehicle engines and idling!
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    • 2. Once a vehicle is running, the best way to warm it up is to drive it! With computer-controlled, fuel-injected engines, you need no more than 1 to 2 minutes - 30 seconds is actually recommended for normal winter temperatures - before driving away, provided it is safe to do so (e.g. frost is off of windows).

      In extreme weather, it is frosted windows that will prevent you from driving away sooner. Here's a tip: roll down one window just a crack.

    • 4. About those block heaters:
      • a)Using a block heater is a much more efficient and effective way to warm the engine than idling. A block heater warms the engine block and lubricants, which means the engine will start easier and reach its peak operating time faster.
      • b) You don't need to leave a block heater plugged in overnight to warm the engine - two hours is more than enough. Many people use an automatic timer to switch on the block heater at the appropriate time.
      • c)In temperatures of -20 deg C, block heaters can improve overall fuel economy by as much 10%. For a single short trip on a cold day, the fuel savings could be in the order of 20%.

  • Plugging In & Timing It - by Deb Moore

    • Probably everyone in Fairbanks knows you need to plug in your vehicle when it gets cold outside – to avoid wear and tear on the car, to say nothing about improving our air quality. However, at what temperature do you need to start plugging in? Twenty below? Zero? Actually, your car should be plugged in at anything under 20 F ABOVE zero!

    • According to a new study by the National Research Council, vehicles will start from 0 to 20 F temperature range without preheating the engines – leading most drivers to plug in less frequently above zero than they do below. However, starting a cold engine produces much higher carbon monoxide (CO) emissions than does starting a preheated one.

    • According to GVEA, engine heaters will generally warm the engine to the maximum attainable temperature within 3 hours. Running the heater any longer than this creates an unnecessary expense. Use a timer to turn on your engine heaters 1 - 3 hours before you wish to leave. In the process you save energy and money (up to $60.00/year on your electric bill).

    • Power saver cords (available through GVEA) are another way to save energy and money while preheating your car – especially if you might need your car for occasional errands while at work and won’t know two to three hours ahead of time to plug it in. Power saver cords allow electricity to pass to the engine block heater to heat the engine up to approximately 40 F. At that point, a switch in the cord is automatically flipped to turn off the electricity to the heater. When the engine has cooled down to about 20 F, the switch is flipped back and the electricity once again passes to the heater. In this way, the engine is kept preheated without wasting unnecessary energy. Power saver cords are conservatively estimated to reduce each vehicle’s preheating energy use by about 40% over an engine heating season (when temperatures are 20 F or below).
  • Recommended contactors for keeping driveway clear of snow in Deep River, Ontario, Canada
    • "Murray Mitchell does a good job at a reasonable rate. His number is 584-2483."

    • Mitchell's Contracting
      Murray Mitchell
      63 Hillcrest
      Box 1726
      Deep River, ON K0J 1P0
      Phone: (613) 584-2483

    • mitchmam at

    • Mitchell's Contracting (Deep River, Ontario):

Obtaining and Transferring a licence in Ontario, Canada

  • For taking the written test: Victorian (Australia) Driver licences do not have the issuing date on them. You will have to contact VicRoads and request a letter (or a fax to the local Ontario DriveTest office) with this information. As of October 2003, this VicRoads service cost AU $13.20.

    VicRoads Registration and Driver Licence enquiries and Test Bookings Fax number: (613) 9854-2399

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  • Getting an Ontario Driver's Licence:

  • Exchanging an Out-Of-Province Driver's Licence:

  • Ready for Ontario's roads - Newcomers Guide to Graduated Licensing:

    • Drivers from the United States, Japan, Republic of Korea, Austria, Germany, Switzerland or Canadian Forces - Europe
    • Drivers from any other country

  • Ready for Ontario's roads - Newcomers Guide to Graduated Licensing: - I am from another country - I have had a driver's licence for two years or more:

    • You must bring the following items to any DriveTest Driver Examination Centre. The addresses of the centres are also listed in the blue pages of your local telephone book.
      • proof of name and the date of your birth. You must be 16 years or older;
      • a piece of personal identification that has your signature. Your record of landing from the Canada Immigration Centre is an example of acceptable proof of identification. There is a list of other acceptable pieces of identification in The Driver's Handbook;
      • an original document in English or French to prove you have a driver's licence from the country where you were driving and show proof of how many years of driving experience you have.

  • Qualifications of purchasing the car from the dealer (May 2003)
    • Dealer will give you the sales certificate
    • You take or phone this information to the insurance company and get your insurance
    • Take / phone the insurance information through to the dealer
    • Then get your plates from Ontario Motor Vehicles
    • Then drive the car off the lot

  • Driving Instructors around Deep River/Pembroke, Ontario, Canada

  • Driving Schools in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada (from Yellow Pages)

    • Behm and Phelan Driving School Ltd
      • 137 Mackay Street, Pembroke, Ontario, K8A 1B8, Canada
      • Tel: (613) 735-8020
      • Map

    • Pembroke Driver Academy
      • 1021 Pembroke Street West, Pembroke, Otario, K8A 5R3, CAnada
      • Tel: (613) 732-9494
      • Map

Buying a car in Ontario, Canada

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