As the winter cold settles in, many of us are already experiencing problems with our vehicles. Your windshield is iced up, car doors won’t open or shut, and wiper blades get frozen to the windshield. Naturally, this is annoying, but taking the wrong approach to unfreezing your car can actually cost you expensive damages. But how to get all that ice off when you have somewhere to be?
Frozen Car Doors and Locks
One of the most irritating dilemmas that cold weather presents is frozen car doors. Everyone has been there – you go to start your car in the morning and the door simply won’t open, no matter how hard you pull! Or, slightly less common but twice as troublesome, you get in your car to drive to work, and the door simply won’t shut. Driving down the highway while holding the door closed is cumbersome and dangerous, if you even can get in the vehicle in the first place.
This annoyance occurs because condensation gets trapped in the tumblers, and as temperatures drop, the water droplets freeze the latch. Sometimes, this isn’t enough to freeze the door shut, but prevents the latch from moving between the latched and unlatched position, which doesn’t allow you to shut the door properly. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks available, but not all are good for your car. Here’s some do’s and don’ts for de-icing a frozen car door or lock.
- DO rub some Vaseline on the key and turn back and forth in the lock a couple of times.
- DO spray de-icer into the lock.
- DO use a toilet paper tube, place it over the lock and either blow in it or use a hair dryer. This centers the heat to where you need it.
- DO try opening a rear door, climbing in to start the car, and let the doors heat up before trying to open again.
- DO prevent this from happening in the first place by wiping weather stripping with a rag and WD-40 before parking the car. This can help it keep from sticking.
- DO regularly apply de-icer to the lock and latches throughout the winter to help prevent frozen locks.
- DON’T try to pour hot water over the door – you risk a cracked windshield and adding water that can quickly freeze may only worsen the problem.
- DON’T try to force the door. When the handle is cold, you could actually break it off or damage the lock mechanism.
- DON’T attempt to drive when door won’t close. Let the heater in the vehicle run and try the other tips before driving.
Icy Wiper Blades, Frozen to Windshield
Icy wiper blades are another misfortune of the winter season. The worst thing you can do is try to operate frozen up blades over an icy windshield. You could nick the glass, and break the blades or at the very least, cause a faster deterioration of the wiper blades. Again, just like with frozen doors, it’s best to allow yourself time to deal with the frozen wiper blades, and avoid bad practices.
- DO flip wiper blades up off of windshield when parking.
- DO allow defroster to run for a while to warm up the windshield. This can help you disengage the wiper blades from the glass.
- DO try to clear snow and ice buildup from the wiper blades with your gloved hand.
- DO fully scrape ice off the windshield before turning wiper blades on.
- DO use a rag with de-icer windshield washer fluid to wipe the blade and help melt off ice.
- DON’T pour hot water over the wiper blades and windshield – again, this can cause glass problems and add to the ice.
- DON’T try to drive with a frozen windshield and wiper blades; your visibility will be severely impaired!
- DO invest in winter wiper blades, like Everblades Heated Windshield Wipers. These heated wiper blades won’t prevent ice from building up when you are parked, but can prevent that build up while you are on the road.
- DON’T think of heated wiper blades as the fix-all! It’s still necessary to clear ice off of the windshield and allow wiper blades to unfreeze before attempting to drive or operate wiper blades.
- DO see more clearly with Heated Wiper Blades!