Where can I get a plow to put on the front of my Explorer?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

I am a Southern California native who moved to L.A. (lower Alabama) in my
teens. I never really experienced winter weather until I married and moved to
Maryland. I'm living somewhere between Baltimore and "the District," but I
can't tell you my exact location because my question involves potential tax

Ever since I moved here, I notice that as the weather begins to get cold, men
drive around town with snowplow devices on the fronts of their Dodge Rams, Ford
Broncos and Chevy Suburbans. I understand they make large sums of cash by
plowing driveways and streets, all of which I'm sure is dutifully reported to
the Internal Revenue Service(!). I never saw anything like this in all my years
as a Valley Girl, and am wondering if this is some sort of Yankee "guys only"
thing, or do you think a girl like me could get in on the gravy train by using
my husband's '95 Ford Explorer?

Where do you get one of those plows? What do they cost? And how much money
could I make doing this (if I don't get caught, that is)? Please answer soon.
The winter's here and I need a little extra spending money. Thanks! -- Janene

RAY: Wow, Janene. Good for you for having that entrepreneurial spirit! And
don't worry about the taxes. My brother hasn't paid his in years, and no one's
noticed yet!

TOM: Hey!

RAY: The answer to your general question is that you can get in on the gravy
train if you want to. Men happen to drive most of the plows, but there's no
reason you can't drive one.

TOM: Unfortunately, Ford does not recommend that you put a plow on an Explorer,
because it puts too much weight on the front axle. So your choices are limited.

RAY: John Princing from Scientific Brake Inc., which sells plows, says Western
makes something called a "Wheel Blade," which would work for your Explorer. The
Wheel Blade plow actually rides on its own little wheels and suspension, which
support the weight of the entire plow. That little baby would cost you about
$3,000 installed.

TOM: The owner's manual includes instructions on "how to plow," but if I were
you, I'd accompany another plow driver during a storm or two and watch how it's
done before you solo. You'll have to study hard to learn the skills and
techniques involved in completely blocking in the driveways of innocent
homeowners. Offer to bring hot coffee, and I'm sure you'll be heartily welcomed
by almost any lonely plow driver.

RAY: But a better option might be to buy a used plow. For a few thousands bucks
-- sometimes even less -- you can find a used plow that's still attached to a

TOM: And that would prevent you from ruining your husband's Explorer. The truth
is, plowing is hard on a vehicle, not only because of the extra weight of the
plow, but because of the forces involved. Think about it. You keep banging up
against snow banks. It's like crashing the thing 1,000 times a day.

RAY: Plus, if you have a "dedicated" plow truck, you can leave the plow
attached all year round, which is much more convenient. After all, it snows in
Maryland -- what? -- five or 10 times a year, right? Your husband might not
appreciate going to work at the Dean Witter office and pulling into the company
parking lot everyday with his wife's 8-foot plow on his Explorer.

TOM: That's what I'd do, Janene. I'd look in the Want Advertiser for a "used
truck with plow." Please let us know how you make out.

* * *

If you want to ruin your car, we have 10 ways for you to do it. If you don't
want to ruin your car, we have "Ten Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without
Even Knowing It!" You can order the booklet by sending $3 and a self-addressed,
stamped (55 cents) No.10 envelope to Ruin No. 1, P.O. Box 6420, Riverton, NJ

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One