6 Critical Places to Lubricate Your Car Before Winter

A little lubricant in the right places can do wonders for your car this winter.

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winterize a carShutterstock/ Dmitry Dven

Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Winterizing your car is all about safety and preparing you for whatever weather conditions winter may bring. By ensuring your battery is in good condition, installing wiper blades to better handle the conditions, and in snowy climates, installing snow tires, you can ensure safety and reliable transportation through any unexpected winter weather events.

Winter brings with it water and salt-laden snow that can penetrate deep into door hinges, trunk latches, and more, causing damage by freezing and corroding these components. Lubricating these six often overlooked points around your vehicle will ensure they remain in good working order throughout the harshest winter conditions.

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Lubricate window tracks
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Window Tracks

Spray your car window tracks with silicone spray or dry Teflon. Silicone stays slick even in cold weather, so windows slide smoothly, lessening the wear and tear on your window motors.

Lower the window glass and shoot dry Teflon spray down the front, rear and top window channels on each door. Soak the tracks. Then run the window up and down several times to spread the lube. Finally, raise the window and clean off overspray with glass cleaner.

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Car weather stripping
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Weather Stripping

Spray silicone lubricant on all car door weather stripping. Silicone will keep ice from bonding the rubber to the metal doors. That’ll make doors open smoother and may even prevent tears in the weather stripping which prevents water, snow, and cold air from entering the cabin. By applying lubricant, you can keep the weather stripping flexible and in good condition, ensuring a tight seal and preventing any unwanted drafts or moisture from entering the vehicle.

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car hood latch
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Hood Latch

Spray aerosol lithium grease on the hood latch mechanism. And use the spray straw to force the lock ‘door’ open. Then inject a quick shot of dry Teflon spray into the lock cylinder. You don’t want to fight a balky hood latch when it’s snowing and you’re trying to add windshield wiper fluid.

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lubricate car locks
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Lock Cylinders

Apply a dry lubricant to your vehicle’s lock cylinders to prevent them from freezing or becoming stiff during cold weather. When the car door locks are lubricated, key insertion and turning are easier, reducing the risk of damage to the lock mechanism or broken keys. Additionally, it helps to prevent rust and corrosion from forming in the lock. You never know when your remote key-less entry system might let you down.

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car door hinge
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Door Hinge

Door hinges also require regular lubrication, especially when preparing your car for winter. Spray lithium grease on door hinges to keep them opening smoothly and prevent rust. First, wipe the hinge area with a clean rag and spray it with lithium grease. Move the hinge several times to work the grease into the hinge. And be sure to get it into both sides of each hinge. Wipe away the excess to keep it from collecting debris.

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FH05DJA_45413_011 lubricate wd 40 car gas tank lid
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Fuel Tank Door and Gas Cap

Road salt can corrode the gas cap and the door to your fuel tank, leading to rust and making it hard to open. A shot of WD-40 on the hinge a few times a year will keep it opening and closing without issue. The same goes for the gas cap itself. Dirt, grease and corrosion can all make it hard to get the fuel cap off when you need put gas in your car, or make it difficult to get closed up after you fill the tank. Spray some WD-40 on the gas cap’s threading to keep it working smoothly all year long.

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Know Your Lubricants

It is a good idea for every DIYer to keep silicone, lithium grease, and a dry multi-purpose lubricant on hand at all times. From lubricating your garage door to fixing your child’s squeaky tricycle wheel, these three commonly used lubricants have a number of applications. However, it is important to understand their distinct characteristics.

  • Silicone lubricants are known for their resistance to extreme temperatures and water-repellent properties. Silicone lubricants provide excellent lubrication and can also prevent rust and corrosion. They are ideal for rubber parts and plastic components where they provide excellent compatibility and prevent drying and cracking.
  • Lithium grease is a heavy-duty general purpose lubricant widely used in industrial and automotive applications. It has excellent mechanical stability and can withstand high pressure and extreme temperatures. Lithium grease is commonly used in bearings, gears, and other heavy machinery where long-lasting “wet” lubrication is required.
  • Dry multi-purpose lubricants, often utilizing Teflon, are unique in that they do not contain liquid or oil. Instead, they use a formula that creates a dry film on the surface, reducing friction and providing long-lasting lubrication. Dry lubricants are best suited for applications where dry, non-greasy lubrication is required, such as in locks, hinges, and sliding mechanisms.
  • WD-40 is not a grease or high-performance lubricant, though it is formulated with lubricating oils. It is particularly useful as a light duty lubricant, corrosion preventative, and degreaser, rather than for heavy duty lubrication applications.