We’ve all wondered what we’re going to do in case of emergency in the freezing cold where our car is concerned. Here are some handy tips to ensure that you and your car survive the winter season.
Wax On, Wax Off
During winter’s gloomy and short days, every last lumen you can squeeze out of your headlamps is going to improve your safety.
Here’s an easy two-minute drill: Make sure the headlamps are clean of dirt, rub car wax (any type will do) on the lamps, let it dry and buff it off. Then apply a second coat. For bonus points, do the taillights.
The slippery surface you leave behind will be less likely to build up an “icicle” coat when road slush refreezes on your car—and will make it easier to remove if it does.
It’s just as important to wash your car in the winter as it is in the summer. Washing your car will take care of the undercarriage of your vehicle that takes a beating from all the snow, dirt and ice. However, if you want to protect your paint job, there’s a shortcut.
We’ve all heard that pledge furniture polish is great for the interior of your car. It polishes and shines your leather and dusts your dash to perfection. However, have you ever tried it on the outside of your car? Turns out, according to one faithful Pledge user, it’s a wash and wax product all in one! Its slightly greasy texture breaks up the dirt, dust, mud, slush and snow and a soft dishcloth polishes it away.
This short touch up between real washes will keep your paint sparkling throughout the winter!
Vinegar: The Perfect Solution
Hate scraping off ice out in the freezing cold every morning before you go to work? Then ice proof them the night before. Just fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water and spray on your car windows at night.
In the morning, they should be clear of the icy mess. How does it work? Vinegar contains acetic acid, which raises the melting point of water—preventing water from freezing.
If you forgot to spray it on the night before and are afraid you’ve missed your chance, you haven’t. Simply spray it on in the morning, and watch the ice melt off.
Shut Out the Freeze with Cooking Spray
Ever tried to get in your car to go to work, and you can’t get the door open because it is frozen shut? You can prevent this by spraying cooking spray on the rubber seals around car doors and rubbing it in with a paper towel.
“Doors freeze when snow melts into the seals during the day, and then freezes at night,” said Robert Sinclair, Jr. of AAA. “The oils in the cooking spray prevent water from melting into the rubber in the first place.”
So dust off your bottle of cooking spray—if you cook as much as I do—and prevent morning frustration with this proactive tip.
Hand Sanitizer: Not Just for Hands
Car door locks can sometimes freeze, making it impossible to get your key in to unlock your door. Nothing like being stranded out in the parking lot when it’s 30 degrees below zero.
To ensure this never happens to you, put some hand sanitizer gel on your car key and the lock. Hand sanitizers contain alcohol, the main ingredient in most commercial de-icers. Just make sure to use a hand sanitizer that’s 60 percent alcohol. Sanitizers with an alcohol concentrate lower than that won’t work—it won’t sanitize your hands either so you shouldn’t be carrying anything with these specifications in the first place.
You’ve got a bottle of this handiness in your purse; just make sure you have enough to handle any winter needs that may crop up!
The above article was written by Kara Bishop and was published in the Winter 2012 edition of Vehicle MD.