How to avoid freeze-ups this win­ter

TROU­BLESHOOTER Pre­ventable with a lit­tle fore­sight and treat­ments

National Post (Latest Edition) - - POST DRIVING - Brian Turner Driv­ing. ca

It ’s c om­ing, whether we like it or not. We all know t hat sooner or later, we’ll be head­ing out to the drive­way to start a frosty com­mute, only to find ev­ery sin­gle lock- cylin­der, latch, han­dle, re­lease, and weather seal on our faith­ful daily driver is frozen shut, leav­ing us swear­ing into the cold win­ter air.

This leads to more un­nec­es­sary re­pair bills than you might imag­ine, and it’s all pre­ventable with a lit­tle fore­sight and the right treat­ments.

When a sud­den dip in out­side temps oc­curs af­ter a wet stretch of weather that’s in­vaded ev­ery­thing — in­clud­ing our bones, it seems — you can al­most guar­an­tee that one or more mov­ing parts of your ve­hi­cle will re­sist any at­tempt to make them budge. The trick is to give your ve­hi­cle a three­minute “lube- around” prior to the nasty weather. This is one of the eas­i­est DIY jobs you can do and it won’t eat into your off-time sched­ule.

To start, you’ll need some am­mu­ni­tion against the freeze- ups. A spray can of sil­i­cone lu­bri­cat­ing com­pound, a small squeeze con­tainer of a good qual­ity lock de- icer, and a can of good WD- 40 should do the trick. Since al­most all of these have mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cle and house­hold uses, none of them will go to waste.

Pick a dry and rel­a­tively mild day — any­thing above freez­ing will do — and let the ve­hi­cle sit in di­rect sun­light for a short amount of time to let things re­ally warm up. Then pop the hood, trunk or lift­gate, gas door, and all the side doors. Use WD- 40 on the hood and trunk latches, as well as the side- door latches. Don’t drown things; a sim­ple quick shot pro­vid­ing com­plete cov­er­age of the mov­ing parts is all that’s needed.

For door lock cylin­ders, use a small squirt from the lock de-icer. Qual­ity de-icers con­tain a suit­able amount of the proper lu­bri­cant, but ap­ply­ing too much can wash away any fac­tory graphite lube. If your re­liance on key­less en­try has you think­ing you don’t need a work­ing lock cylin­der any­more, the first day your ve­hi­cle has a dead bat­tery will change your think­ing.

The sil­i­cone lu­bri­cat­ing com­pound spray will be used for the rub­ber weather seals on doors and cargo- area open­ings, and even some hoods use them as well. If your ve­hi­cle has dou­ble door seals, don’t for­get to spray each seal. Give each one a good coat­ing that doesn’t leave any drips, and keep a paper towel on hand to wipe off any over­spray, but this spray should be clear, leav­ing no stains.

Look for the spray cans that come with a plas­tic straw at­tach­ment for nar­row spray pat­terns. Us­ing this, you can treat the win­dow run chan­nels, those felt-lined grooves on door frames where the glass runs. This can help avoid stress on the win­dow reg­u­la­tor mech­a­nisms and makes for eas­ier func­tion, if you’re driv­ing a hand-crank model.

For best re­sults, treat these ar­eas with the win­dows down to give bet­ter ac­cess and you may have to re­peat this easy process ev­ery other month. Don’t for­get they run al­most all the way to the bot­tom of each door, so use the spray straw to di­rect a good por­tion into the lower ar­eas.

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