There are many things to love about winter. A frozen car, however, isn’t one of them. From doors that freeze shut to batteries that won’t start, cold weather can bring a host of problems for vehicle owners. Just thinking about these issues can be enough to send you checking one-way ticket prices to Aruba.

But fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), it doesn’t have to come to that. The next time Old Man Winter gives your ride the freeze, just give these handy hacks a try.

Problem: Frozen Door
When a car wash, rain or melted snow freezes inside the cracks of your car doors, you might be tempted to yank at the handle. Doing this, though, can easily break it off.

Instead, start by using a hand scraper to remove as much ice as possible along the door’s edges. Scraper locked inside the car? Reach into your wallet. Your credit card, or any other plastic card for that matter, can dual-function as an ice scraper in a pinch.

Then, bust out the hair dryer. Turn it on at full blast and aim it along the seams of the door until you can easily pop it open.

Problem: Frozen Lock
Just like moisture collects in a door’s seams, it can also collect inside the keyhole. Hot water might seem like a good way to solve this problem, but it can actually damage your lock, and this water is only likely to freeze all over again.

Instead, grab a lighter and hold it up to your car key (but be careful, it’ll get hot). Next, insert the warm key into the lock, but go easy. You may need to repeat this a couple times.

Don’t have a lighter? Hand sanitizer will also do the trick. Because alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, it can actually work as a de-icer. Simply coat your key with hand sanitizer and insert it gently into the lock.

Problem: Dead Battery
With freezing temperatures, your battery has to work overtime to start your car’s engine. Because of this increased strain, winter can be peak season for dead batteries.

If this happens to you, jump-start your car, then bring your car to a mechanic as soon as you can to see if you need a new battery. If your battery doesn’t work once, there’s a good chance it won’t work again. To learn how to jump-start your battery safely, consult these easy instructions.

Warding Off Bigger Issues
Unfortunately, not all cold-weather car problems are easy to fix. The good news is that some simple, preventive measures can go a long way toward minimizing your risk for more serious issues.

One thing you can do is switch out your engine oil for one with lower viscosity. Colder temperatures cause the fluids in your car to thicken, creating more friction. A low-viscosity, full-synthetic engine oil like Cenex® Maxtron® PCMO 5W-20 or 5W-30 can reduce strain on your engine in the winter months. 

Another easy preventive measure is to fill up with a  high performing fuel like Cenex® TOP TIER™ Detergent Gasoline. With a special additives package containing 2.5 times the cleaning power of conventional gasoline, TOP TIER™ fuels are proven to remove debris from your engine, reducing your risk of being stranded during the cold winter weather.  .

Whether you’re switching out your engine oil or your fuel, always check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for proper care instructions.

This year, don’t let winter put your wheels on ice. For more information, visit your local Cenex® dealer.

Photo courtesy of Flickr User
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