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Lock De-icers

  • Available at: Automotive supply stores (Motomaster at Canadian Tire)
  • Price: $1.59 Pacer Lock De-icer, $5.49 MotoMaster Lock Lube and De-icer

There is nothing like freezing rain to prevent you from opening the car door or unlocking the frozen hitch lock. Keeping a bottle of lock de-icer handy works better than pouring coffee on it.

Lock de-icer is usually a concentration of isopropyl alcohol and maybe some lubricant. Thinking back to high school chemistry class, water freezes at zero degrees Celsius and the isopropyl de-icer won't freeze until -89C. When you spray de-icer into the lock, it bonds with the ice and does some molecular mumbo-jumbo you don't remember the formula for, but the good news is it causes the ice to melt.

We tested two products. The Pacer Lock De-icer squirt bottle (isopropyl) and the Motomaster Lock Lube and De-icer (it uses propane in the melting mumbo-jumbo). Two hitch locks were filled with water and left in the freezer. The de-icers were put to the test on the frozen locks and, within a minute, both were opened.

Pros and cons? The Pacer was messy and difficult to squirt deep into a lock, but it was cheap. The Motomaster spray penetrated further and, because it has an oil lubricant, ice is less likely to accumulate in the near future. Whichever one you use, don't store it in your glovebox – for obvious reasons.

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