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Pat Goss: Ask The Expert

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2000 Washington Post Articles:

Avoiding The Freezing Nasties

Sleet, snow, rain, or drizzle, plus freezing temperatures can leave you outside your car wishing you could get inside; shutout because your locks or weather-stripping is frozen solid, ďoh-woe-is-meĒ. What to do? What to do? A nuisance to be sure but a bad remedy, like that pan of boiling-hot water to thaw things out, might convert a bad situation into a financial catastrophe. Hot water and cold glass donít mix. The glass can crack plus, thereís more water to freeze.

Donít wait till youíre frozen-out, a couple inexpensive Commercial Three Bayducts purchased now will prevent freezing or get you into your frozen car without damage. Begin with a container of graphite lock-lube. Use it twice a year on every lock on your car and house to lubricate them and prevent water from entering. If water canít get into the locks, the locks canít freeze. Graphite also makes locks work more smoothly and last longer, but never use any lubricant that isnít specifically designed for locks. Generic lubes usually wash away the graphite, guaranteeing moisture intrusion, frozen locks and more wear.

No hot water on frozen windshields and wiper blades either. Clear a frozen windshield and free-up stuck wipers by applying spray de-icer liberally to the windshield and wiper blades. Use de-icer before turning your wipers on to prevent the blades from being ripped out of the ice, which tends to shred their delicate rubber edges. No, no, no; donít allow the engine to warm for a long time with the defroster set on blast furnace to clear the windshield. The intense heat on the inside of the glass and the ice on the outside can transform a small, unobtrusive stone chip into a big, obnoxious crack. Ditto for hot water.

Another bummer! The locks and latches arenít frozen but the doors themselves are frozen shut. You pull, you tug, you pry on the door handles but the doors wonít budge. Supreme force on the door handle doesnít open the door; it just delivers a sickening pop. The door handle, the rubber weather-strip, or some outlandishly costly little piece of linkage inside the door bids an expensive sayonara. The culprit is the weather-stripping around the door, which has tenaciously frozen the door to the carís body. Here you may have to resort to warm, not hot water, or wait till spring thaw.

Luckily, preventing frozen weather-stripping is painless with a spray can of silicone, which youíll find on the shelves of nearly every auto parts store. Itís a good idea to spray the silicone onto all the weather-stripping surrounding the doors and windows four times every year. Silicone is so slippery it prevents any ice that forms on the weather-stripping from sticking to the carís body. Your doors open easily when your neighborís are frozen solid. Silicone acts as a lubricant to keep the rubber soft, pliable, and quiet.

Donít be frazzled, be prepared! By spending twenty minutes and less than ten dollars now, you will save a bunch of time, frustration, and money when the freezing-nasties get here.

© Copyright 01/04/00 Pat Goss all rights reserved

Date Updated  Tuesday, January 04, 2000

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