Road salt. It's wonderful at keeping South Dakota roads free from ice and snow. The safety benefits road salt provides is undeniable. However, your vehicle HATES it.

Everyone knows what rust will do to a car, so if you want your car to last, it's important to wash the vehicle as much as possible, even when temps dip below zero.

The biggest issue when washing your car in freezing temps is preventing the doors from freezing shut. Most cars today have keyless entry, do the locks freezing isn't as much as an issue as it used to be. However, a car door can freeze shut where the door frame and rubber seals meet and lock you out of your own car.

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I prevent this in a few different ways. After my car comes out of the wash tunnel and the air dryers have blown off most of the water, I immediately pull into one of the vacuum areas. Then I grab a clean towel and wipe down the door jams and rubber door seals. If you only do one thing, do this and you will most likely not have a frozen door in the morning if the car is left outside overnight.

Another thing I try to do is wash my car in the morning or at lunch, but several hours before sundown. Park your car at work so that the driver's side is facing the sun. Even the weak winter sun will have enough strength to help prevent water from freezing your doors shut by the time you get out.

Here's some prevention you can do before you wash the car. Apply cooking spray to the rubber door seals. Take a can of Pam and spray it directly on the seals. Follow that up with a microfiber towel to wipe off the excess.

If you wash your car and the doors do freeze, don't yank on the door handles. They are most likely plastic and if you pull too hard, they can easily break. Even if you are successful in opening the door this way, you could tear the rubber seals. Instead, gently push on the door with your hand or by leaning up against the door. This might break the ice bond, but be careful to not push hard enough to dent the metal.

If that doesn't work, try to melt the ice with a hairdryer or pour lukewarm water over the door. I would only use the water trick as a last resort. Watch the temperature of the water. Do not use hot water as that can create a temperature difference great enough to shatter the glass. If the water is hot enough to burn your skin then it's too hot for glass.

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