from Goss’ Garage by Pat Goss

A small investment in some winter chemicals will make winter driving safer and reduce your winter-hassle-factor. Most winter products are designed to thaw frozen things or to keep them from freezing in the first place. At the top of the winter chemical food chain are the ice melting chemicals called deicers. The most common deicer is for thawing ice covered windows and mirrors but it can also prolong the life of your wiper blades and wiper motor.

A little moisture and a dip below freezing usually means the rubber edges of your wiper blades will be tenaciously frozen to the windshield. Of course you don’t realize this until you turn the wipers on and they refuse to move. But lest you like buying wiper blades and wiper motors immediately shut the engine off. Next, spray windshield deicer on the blades and in a few seconds they’re free. But do not restart the car or turn on the ignition until the deicer has thawed the blades. With the ignition switch on the wiper motor will automatically cycle on and off and struggle until it forces the blades to move. The stress of the motor tugging at the frozen blades shortens the life of your wiper motor and damages your wiper blades.

Silicone is excellent for keeping door and window weather-stripping soft and pliable, but did you know that it can also prevent a seriously annoying winter problem. Silicone liberally applied to your weather-strip once or twice during the winter will usually eliminate frozen doors. Doors become impossible to open when moisture on the weather-strip freezes to the metal it seals against. Although the time honored ritual of pouring hot water on the doors opens them, it can cause frozen locks, shattered window glass and damage to parts inside the door. A liberal application of silicone keeps the rubber so slippery ice can’t stick to it and you aren’t frozen out.

Frozen locks are one of life’s more humbling tribulations which, brings up another invaluable winter product, lock deicer. Lock deicer comes in a small spray dispenser and quickly thaws frozen locks. But this is one of those products with an extremely high foolish-factor. Many drivers keep their lock deicer in the glove box or console. Seems reasonable until you need it and it’s conveniently tucked away inside your frozen-shut car. If the deicer is inside the car and your locks freeze you’re outa luck! All deicers should be kept in the garage. Frozen out with your fix frozen inside will severely test your patience.

In addition to the lock deicer you must have graphite lock lubricant which replenishes lubricating oils the lock deicer destroys. Using graphite lock lubricant several times each year will make locks last the life of the car and help keep locks ice free. Lock lubricant prevents water intrusion, and if no water enters the locks there’s nothing to freeze, it’s that simple. A little forethought prevents being frozen out.