Winterization time is also a great time to improve your vehicle’s reliability, convenience, and safety. Whether you’re a gear-head or neophyte you surely realize there are numerous parts on a car that could suffer from harsh winter weather and chemicals.  Most repair shops are well versed in conventional winterization procedures but not necessarily with protecting obscure parts.

Door locks are a good example of forgotten services at most shops. What could be more frustrating than a door that won’t open with the unlock fob and when you try to use the key the lock is frozen solid. Not only is being frozen out of your car a problem so is worn-out locks and wear they will unless they’re lubricated. To prevent both problems use a graphite lock lubricant in all the locks on your car twice a year. That’s especially true of the lock that gets the most use, the ignition lock. Ignition locks get lots of wear and tear plus they are expensive to replace. Locks are mechanical devices and like all mechanical devices proper lubrication is their key to long life.

White lithium grease is an elemental product that adds years of life to door hinges and latches so lubing them at every oil change is recommended. This keeps moisture out of door latches, which prevents rust, wear, and freezing. Latches only freeze when it’s bitter cold and when they do the door can’t be opened.

Another frozen-out, can’t-open-the-door challenge results from frozen weather-strip. Weather-strip is the rubber surrounding car doors and windows. This usually happens when snow or ice on the car’s roof melts from warm daytime temperatures or heat from the heater followed by night-time freezing. Melt-water runs down over the doors and collects between the doors and the body, then proceeds to, you guessed it, freeze solid! Frozen doors won’t open; you’re cold, you’re miserable, and you’re locked out.

Either waiting for spring thaw or pouring hot water over the car is not realistic. Hot water makes matters worse and may cause damage to parts inside the door or cause glass to shatter from thermal shock. I don’t know about you but settling in and waiting for spring just isn’t an option so what to do?

This is one where you have to be proactive because waiting until it happens doesn’t work. During winterization and at each oil change, have your weather-strip sprayed with silicone. Silicone prevents moisture from collecting on weather-stripping and keeps the rubber soft and pliable for longer life. Even if water collects and freezes silicone is so slippery that ice can’t stick to it and the doors can’t freeze shut. For most of us winter driving is no fun but a couple shots of white lithium grease, graphite and silicone spray goes a long way toward making winter driving safer and more tolerable.


John Moser said:

December 9, 2014 at 8:01 pm

What about applying silicon to the 4 transaxle rubber boots? I recall your recommending this awhile back, but a Honda tech said it wasn’t necessary anymore on later models (mine is ’10 Accord).

Marcy said:

December 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm

Hi John:

Do not put silicone on new style CV joint boots. Most are no longer rubber but rather a sophisticated plastic compound that looks similar to rubber but is immensely more durable. They almost never fail if left alone. They are so much more durable that our sales of boots has dropped from four or five per day to perhaps ten a year.

Pat Goss

Mark Wallner said:

December 11, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Isn’t graphite lube for locks messy? I’d think it would transfer from my lock to my key to my pants pocket.
What about using one of the Dry-Lube Silicone/Teflon/wax sprays instead?

Marcy said:

December 12, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Hi Mark:

DO NOT use silicone or any wax based product on a lock. Those products are
temperature sensitive and do not do a good job of lubricating metal against
wear. We frequently find worn locks that have been liberally lubricated with
improper products that have gone away. Also when you use a product that is
temperature sensitive it gets thicker as the temperature drops and makes the
lock difficult or impossible to move. Finally although some products may
offer some moisture protection graphite disperses water to prevent lock

Is it messy? Couldn’t tell you as I have never had anyone complain about
that and we have been using it for 40 years.

Pat Goss

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