How to avoid freeze-ups this winter
TROUBLESHOOTER Preventable with a little foresight and treatments
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.