December 14, 2017 at 11:08 AM

Do you operate used vans such as a Ford Transit, Citroen Berlingo, or Volkswagen Transporter for your business? Good solid, reliable workhorses with plenty of space for tools, materials and goods. Fitted with the side sliding door, they make loading and unloading double easy for the busy tradesman or harassed white van man. That is, until the likes of Storm Caroline ventures to UK shores. In areas like South Wales the mercury drops, temperatures plummet, windscreens freeze over and doors freeze shut – especially those oh-so-helpful sliding doors. So what’s the best way to keep your van doors swinging and sliding during freezing cold weather?

Is your van really properly maintained:

Everyone reliant on a van to go about their daily business knows how important keeping their vehicle in good working order is. Regular servicing and engine management checks, tyres checked for wear and damage, and lights checked for blown bulbs. Sadly, those poor old doors are so taken for granted they barely get looked at, until they refuse to open.

Frozen locks are not the same as frozen doors:

Frozen locks don’t mean frozen doors. A frozen lock is relatively easy to cure. If you can’t get the key into the door lock and you still use a lighter, gently heat the key and insert it as far as you can into the lock. If you don’t have a lighter, a few squirts of WD40 into the lock, and a few minutes patience, usually solves the problem.

If the lock works but the door refuses to open, chances are the door is frozen to the body by the door seal. Getting a standard frozen door to open is time-consuming and frustrating, and unfreezing a sliding door can be even worse.

Prevention is better than cure:

To prevent door freeze problems, choose a dry day and carefully check around all door seals. Seals take a massive pounding with doors being continuously opened and closed and may cause small hairline cracks around the rubber door seals. It is water getting into these hairline cracks that cause the doors to freeze to the body. Doors are closed and moisture is squeezed from the seals, where it sits and freezes to the body.

To prevent this collecting of moisture, first make sure the seal is totally dry. Use a soft bristle paint brush and gently brush away any dust and other debris, being sure to check the door sill drains are clear. Next, get a good quality water repellent silicone liquid or Vaseline and liberally apply to all seals, working as much as possible into those hairline cracks as you can.

One good application should do the trick but if you live in an area where temperatures regularly drop below freezing then a second application won’t do any harm. If you have an older van and seals are badly split, replacing them is probably the best option.

How to stop van doors from freezing

Category: The "Expert" Advice