With winter in full swing, it helps to know how to keep your vehicle from becoming an impenetrable block of frozen water. Sure, you can wield sharp instruments, but with a few handy items and some preventative care, your car can be ready to drive in no time. Here’s how:
To keep locks in place over a frigid night or melt an already frozen lock, you have several options.
- Place a magnet over the lock overnight.
- If you don’t have a magnet handy, stock up on Vaseline, as this product can melt ice and prevent build-up. You can dip your key in it and insert the key into the lock for thorough coating. Done once a week, this trick will keep your locks in working condition all winter.
- If the lock is already frozen, dipping the key in Vaseline before inserting it into the lock will start the melting process (this step may need to be repeated if the lock is heavily frozen).
- If the lock is frozen, try spraying it with a de-icer or using a hair dryer to melt the ice.
Often, the first instinct when your window won’t roll down is to keep trying, but continue pressing the button when the window and weatherstrip have been frozen together can damage the motor (not an inexpensive fix). If you do break your motor, we can fix it for you.
Instead, try inserting a credit card between the strip and window to break up the ice so you can remove it. Otherwise, waiting until the cabin heats up is your best bet for using the window.
A little pre-winter preparation goes a long way in keeping a good seal between the car and door. First, inspect the rubber gaskets along the door to check for wear and tear, since melted snow can seep into these areas and create a frozen barrier. You can also place a small towel or rag between the car door and door frame (just above the window) when you park your car for the night to give yourself another way to get the door open in the morning. Using the exposed rag and door handle simultaneously gives you a greater chance of getting it open without breaking the handle.
In addition, spraying the door frame with cooking lubricant (Pam, for example) or silicone spray will keep it from freezing. If the door is already frozen, avoid trying to pry it open, as the force can damage the seal. You can check all doors to find the one least frozen and get into the car that way. Otherwise, the hairdryer method can work in this instance, too. If all else fails, wearing heavy-duty gloves and pounding the ice until it breaks can help free up a frozen door.
These tips were brought to you by Village Autoworks in Roseville and Woodbury MN.