Wednesday, February 9

HARD Freeze

This Is the Lock that DIDN'T Freeze Shut
I like my OnGuard locks that I got at Wally World. Somehow, I wound up with a full size one with a cable and, what's even better - a Mini U-Lock that includes a cable. The mini has never given me a hint ofa problem other than the velcro for the cable coming off.

HOWEVER, unlike the full size one, the mini either stays where it's nice and warm or it travels along for remote duty. The full size OnGuard has led a harder life. It stays at work, in the sun, or rain, or, as I've discovered recently, until a HARD FREEZE immobilizes it. That could be REAL INCONVENIENT to show up at work and find a lock that won't open or to be all ready to ride home and find a lock that won't let go of the bike.

Last week, the big U lock wouldn't unlock. Fortunately, I tested it in the cold the day before and discovered the problem under controlled circumstances. Well, today, it is frozen shut once again. For the moment, my mini is staying at work as a backup, but in a warm dry location. Anybody else have a problem with a U-lock freezing in the locked position?

FWIW, I notice that my local Wally World has the OnGuard mini locks once again. At $15, it is a real bargain! I just wish I knew how to keep them from freezing up if they've gotten wet and then exposed to a hard freeze.


Anonymous said...

Boy, that would be a bummer to come out after work to find your bike "frozen" to a pole. I guess it would be kind of like that little kid in the Christmas story about the Red Rider BB gun who got his tongue stuck to the pole!

I've stopped carrying my cable and lock. Don't need it at work and on those rare occasions I need to leave the bike for a few minutes I've felt comfortable with finding a place where I thought it wouldn't roll away.

John Romeo Alpha said...

For $15 they may make good test subjects!

Apertome said...

Oddly enough, my large OnGuard Bulldog U-lock "froze," and this was months ago, when it was warm. I hadn't even had it very long.

I replaced it with a Kryptonite and haven't had any problems since. I guess your mileage may vary!

Justine Valinotti said...

I once got to work only to find my Citadel U-lock frozen. I used to leave it on the rack where I was working at the time.

In frustration, I poured a cup of hot coffee on it. Ta-da!

Big Oak said...

Justine's idea is a good one, although it seems a shame to waste good coffee!

One trick I used when I lived in Wisco was to liberally apply WD-40 (you could probably use most any spray-lubricant) inside where the key goes, and in the holes where the hasp connects. I did this every time the lock got wet, and although it became quite an oily mess, it hardly ever froze. If you are a neat person (I am not), you won't have any trouble with the oily mess. Not that it bothered me, I just hated getting it on my hands.

Mark said...

I had a large On guard U lock. It didn't freeze up on me but I really wasn't happy with it. I thought it was junk actually. I am looking for a new lock.

Anonymous said...

As Big Oak suggests, WD40 is good, also cut a bit of that foam insulation stuff they use on water pipes, you cut it to size and form. Ducktape to shape it if necessary. Oh... do they sell that kind of stuff in texas I wonder?

cycler said...

My guess is that it's not the lock itself but water in the lock that's frozen.
Hot coffee (or given the thermal mass is pretty low-tepid water), would thaw it pretty fast. I would then take it to a nice dry location overnight (especially somewhere where it can sit next to a heater and drain and dry) and then put either graphite lubricant or WD-40 in the mechanism. Up here in the frigid north, I have to do this every once in a while to the padlock on my bike shed, and have just gotten in the habit of putting a puff of graphite in all my locks once a year when I get the graphite out.
I'm pretty sure that Graphite is hydrophobic, and it does keep everything operating really smoothly- It's great for sticky house hardware too.

cycler said...

Actually, you should probably go with something like WD40 that's miscible with the water first. If you put MORE water in it it will just take longer to dry.

Steve A said...

Many good suggestions here. We should remember that WD-40 is an acronym for "Water Displacement formula #40."

Also, it sounds like time for a review of lock knowledge, starting with "the Sheldon Brown method."

Steve A said...

Oh, the lock was frozen this morning but unlocked with no fuss when it was time to go home. WD-40.

Post a Comment

No Need for Non-Robot proof here!