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Need advice: padlocks in winter


smudge
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We have a chain secured with a Master Lock to lock the gate at camp, and it gives me fits. It's supposed to be outdoor weather specific according to HoSmudge, but it rarely works well....especially when the temps are below zero and I'm out there getting frostbite! HoSmudge says use a lighter on the key and then try to jam the key in there. Uh, riiiiiiiggghhht. I try to leave it so it gets sun exposure, and that helps when the sun is on it. But this is winter in the Yoop, so that doesn't happen much.

It looks like the inside has some rust (it's a fairly new lock). Would it help to put some chain lube on a Q-tip and swish it around in there?? (Nashbar lube does a great job in my creaky cabinet doors!) Also, should I get a coffee can to cover the lock to keep rain and snow out?

Hoping to hear if @sheep_herder has any advice; thinking he probably has experience with this sort of thing. Also wondering how @KrAzY handled locking up his camp property in the Yoop. Of course I am interested in hearing from anyone with experience with this sort of thing. Thanks!

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I regularly give my outdoor locks a serious spray dousing with WD-40 followed by much actuation.  Sometimes, a heavier lube might be better, such as an automotive oil.  Of course, I don't live in Siberia, so I don't have extreme conditions to deal with.  :)  But I would suggest the spray WD-40 and see if that helps.

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It's probably moisture that is freezing inside the lock that is binding it up.  I work with many locksmiths and they often recommend graphite to any sort of wet lube to free up stuck locks.  You might have to apply it frequently due to the conditions.   If I can offer one piece of advice is to not force the key as it's sure to snap off inside the lock. 

 

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1 minute ago, Zackny said:

You could always pee on it.

Being a CA boy living in VA I once went to my car on a freezing cold morning and couldn't open the door lock.  One of the guys from Michigan said pee on it.. What? Pee on it, your lock is frozen.  Uh I don't have to go...  So i went back into the barracks, got some hot water and viola! 

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5 minutes ago, Road Runner said:

You drank the hot water and that made you need to pee?

Man you guys are dense... So I went into my barracks room, got a cup of hot water, went back to my car with that cup of hot water and poured it on the frozen lock.... Better now! ;)

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1 minute ago, Parr8hed said:

That is what WD40 is made for.  It is really more of a cleaner than a lubricant.  I would hit it with WD40 a few times and get it working then put some chain lube all up in it.

FYI I'm sure this will work and since you are talking about a pad lock that is easily replaceable probably better (easier) than graphite as it's readily available.  Often we use graphite for door locks on exterior doors that get gummed up.  Lubricants can build up in the tumblers which over time make the matter worse.  

We don't have the extreme weather you guys have but many of my customers are near the ocean and the salt air does damage west facing exteriour doors near the coast. 

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1 minute ago, ChrisL said:

FYI I'm sure this will work and since you are talking about a pad lock that is easily replaceable probably better (easier) than graphite as it's readily available.  Often we use graphite for door locks on exterior doors that get gummed up.  Lubricants can build up in the tumblers which over time make the matter worse.  

We don't have the extreme weather you guys have but many of my customers are near the ocean and the salt air does damage west facing exteriour doors near the coast. 

Yea, I always use graphite on door locks.  Pad locks get the WD40 treatment.

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I've been using the same master locks on my snowmobile trailer and shed for 12 years. WD 40 displaces moisture, I use it lots. I have a list of things I do the first weekend of every month. Plug in the snowmo battery chargers, test the backup sump pump, spraying the locks with WD 40, etc. And if the WD 40 doesn't work, I start the snowthrower and aim the exhaust at the lock for a few minutes, then soak the lock with WD 40 in the garage overnight.

Or you can just build a Yooper snow roof over the gate to keep the elements off it.  ;)

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15 minutes ago, jsharr said:

I would use dry lube of some sort.  You might try it on the lock too.

 

blaster_dry_lube.png

 

This is the funniest post of the year.  A guy from Texas telling a lady from Michigan's Great White North how to deal with a frozen lock.........

Classic.

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Graphite seems to be the way to go here. I think HoSmudge was thinking of making a "roof" over it to keep the elements out; but that hasn't happened yet, so I'm ready to go the coffee can route.

Thanks for the input!

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When I was the maintenance supervisor at a 475 acre camp and retreat center we must have had 50 things locked up with master padlocks, they all had homemade covers made from old inner tubes and we never had any problems with them. I was never big on padlocks because like they say they only keep out honest people and they are a pain in the ass always getting out of your vehicle and going to unlock the gate, etc. but I was an employee so I played along with their game.

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6 minutes ago, smudge said:

Graphite seems to be the way to go here. I think HoSmudge was thinking of making a "roof" over it to keep the elements out; but that hasn't happened yet, so I'm ready to go the coffee can route.

Thanks for the input!

How about some likes for all of our hard work?   :)

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4 minutes ago, Road Runner said:

How about some likes for all of our hard work?   :)

What, for suggestions of peeing on it??  I figured the "Thanks for the input." would cover it, but since there is a "like" war going on today.....

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Sorry I'm late to the party... 

I use either graphite for things like that, and also wd40. Other then that get a lock that has a rubber cap thay fits over the key hole. Sort of like this one

4340cab7-6d9b-4eb5-8136-e78f862e13ca_1.7157f2571bf0e0679557856e211ab0b5.jpeg

Other then that, there is the just deal with it factor for living in coler climates. I also found cheep vodka to be a good de-icer

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Get one of these at a local big box or automotive store:

 

5655940-11.jpg

You can also use isopropyl rubbing alcohol and pour it into the keyhole.  Do not use any kind of quality drinking alcohol to free up the lock, because that is alcohol abuse.

 

If these methods fail, then, Grasshopper, you must follow the example of The Master:

-approach the gate at ramming speed

-if the lock breaks you'll get through the gate

-if the lock holds, you'll fly over the gate (just be sure to stick the landing!) ;)

 

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