Most of us are not auto mechanics or professional drivers. The knowledge we have gained about taking care of our vehicles was passed to us from parents and grandparents. A lot of that information is true and helps keep our car or truck operating at peak performance. But, there are instances when that “knowledge” is based more on incorrect tradition than fact.

Now, it doesn’t really hurt if you believe the old wives’ tale that you should fill your gas tank only at night (which is not true). But it can hurt you, and badly damage your car, if you believe that hot or boiling water should be used to deice your windshield or door locks. Pat Goss explains why this is such a bad, dangerous, and potentially costly mistake.

So next time your kindly grandfather or grandmother suggests that you don’t need an ice scraper and that you should just dump some hot water on that ice, please share this with them. It could save them a lot of time and money and perhaps cement your status as their favorite grandchild.

You have questions, Pat Goss has answers

Is there any truth to the old-wives tale that I should pour hot water on my car to unfreeze my windows or doors?

Pouring hot water on cars is never a good idea, especially on the windshield. You see, if there is even the tiniest little bit of crack the thermal shock of the hot water can cause the windshield to literally split all the way across from top to bottom. So what initially was an eighth or a quarter of an inch chip becomes a replacement windshield.

Additionally a lot of people like to pour boiling water onto the doors of their cars to thaw out the locks and so on, and that is genuinely a bad idea. You see, inside the door of a modern car there is all sorts of electronics. Electrical lock cylinders, different things like that, censors and so on. Well, pouring hot water on there, again we have thermal shock. We have something ice cold we shock it with hot water, that’s number one you can damage the parts. Number two, we get water inside the door, it freezes in the various parts. Freezing water causes things to break and your pot of hot water hasn’t saved you anything it has cost you a ton of repair money.