One of the woes of winter is no doubt the tricky situations it gets you and your car into. At least you can rest assured that there are tricks to undo some of winter’s damages.
1. Gain traction with bleach
If your car is stuck on an icy patch and can’t get enough traction, pour a small amount of undiluted chlorine-based bleach over the tires.
- The bleach will react chemically to soften both the ice and the rubber, thereby improving traction.
- Wait for a minute to let the chemical reaction take place, and then try driving away.
- You can also supply traction by spreading sand, salt or cat litter over the snow in front of the tires.
- Because bleach accelerates tire tread wear, you should only do this in emergency situations.
2. Shovel snow with a hubcap
If your car gets mired down in snow, ice or mud, and you don’t have a shovel handy, take off a hubcap and use it to dig the car free.
3. Thaw door locks with a straw
If the lock on your car door freezes and you can’t insert the key, don’t get left out in the cold.
- Try blowing your warm breath into the keyhole through a drinking straw.
- The ice should melt in short order, after which you can unlock the door with ease.
4. Flame frozen locks
If the lock on your car door is frozen, very carefully hold the key in your gloved hand and heat it with a match or lighter.
- Press the key into the lock and turn it gently without forcing.
- After a few seconds, the hot metal key will melt the ice, and you’ll be able to open the door.
- Better still, if you have electrical power handy, use a hair dryer to direct hot air into the lock to melt the ice.
5. Start your car with a hair dryer
If you get up one cold morning and your car won’t start, connect a hair dryer to a long extension cord and direct hot air at the carburetor. Then fire up the engine with ease.
6. Spray away road salt
You know that the slush is full of the salt the city used to clear the roads, but did you know that salt could rust your car’s undercarriage? Not to worry, a cleanup is easier than you think.
- All you need is an old garden hose and an ice pick to give your car’s undercarriage a salt-cleansing shower.
- Punch holes in a section of the hose that equals the width of the car body.
- On a day when the temperature is above freezing, put the hose beneath the car, turn the water on full blast, and let it spray the underside of the car for 10 minutes or so.
- Move the hose and repeat the process until the entire undercarriage has had a good shower.
7. Yogurt cup scraper and scooper
Scrape ice from your windows and windshield using an empty yogurt cup.
- When you scrape with the edge of the rim, the cup will scoop up the ice.
- As you scrape, empty the ice onto the ground with a quick flick of the wrist.
Don’t get stuck this winter; these easy fixes will have you out of the snow and out on the road in no time.