Remedies to keep your vehicle free of ice

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By Cheryl Steenerson

Well we’ve made it to the season of “ahh.” The holidays are over and we start to settle back in to some kind of routine. Our days and nights are calmer. The decorations are back in their boxes and all the trash has finally been picked up. Now, we just have to get through winter.  
That means dealing with whatever Mother Nature sends our way. My truck is parked outside in the open, normally up on the almost top of the hill. Frost is an everyday occurrence, so I scrape a lot. I don’t like to start and run the truck, just so it can thaw out. It wastes a lot of gas.  I do have to admit to loving a warm vehicle, though.
I do have wind protection from the west and south, which are the prevailing winds here. That helps tremendously.  Regardless, it still gets pretty chilly up here and when starting the truck on a cold winter morning, I can hear the battery struggle and it’s only a year old.  
Keeping your vehicle out in the cold is hard on it and I just think having a garage or cover could add a year to the life of the battery. That extra year saves me money.
Not having to stand outside in the cold, scraping the windows, would save me time as well. I like saving both time and money, so I started doing a little research on car covers, or truck covers in my case.  
Turns out you can get a nifty custom made cover, guaranteed for four years, for as little as $130. That works out to about $30 for the entire winter. The top of the line covers are in the $300 range with a five year guarantee.
I’d want to call them to ask them a few more questions before I popped for one of them, though.  Like, how much does it weigh? If this thing weighs 40 pounds when it’s dry, it may be a bit tough to sling around on my own. If it’s wet went I take it off, will it freeze like a Popsicle? I want to learn more. In the meantime, I have a few other techniques to trick the cold.  
Big pieces of cardboard laid over the windshield keeps the frost off. Sheets, stretched across the windshield and closed in the doors do the same. Preventing the ice with liquid sprays are another tool. You can buy ready made stuff, or you can make you own.
Making you own means mixing three parts white vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle and spraying before the frost starts to form on your windows. If you don’t get out there before the frost, just wait until morning and break out the alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol, or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, with a drop of liquid dish soap, sprayed liberally onto a thickly frosted window will de-ice it. You can also add isopropyl alcohol to your windshield fluid (50/50 mix) and this will keep the wiper lines from freezing up.
While you’re out there working on your vehicle, be sure to check all the regular stuff like tire pressure, oil, brake fluid, antifreeze and your battery. Take the cooking oil out with you to rub onto the rubber door liners again.
 This keeps your doors from freezing shut.
Being able to open the truck door when it’s 15 degrees outside is a good thing.
Not having to scrape windows, before and after work, is a good thing. Realizing that we only have 71 more days until spring is a great thing.  Now, get out there. The sooner you get this done the sooner you can get back in the warm house and say, “Ahh.”
Happy growing.

Cheryl Steenerson is a gardening columnist for The Anderson News.