It's the time of year when days are short, the sun is scarce, and down jackets prevail.  A time when your feet are cold, windshields need scraping, and the roads get messy.  It's this time of year that we love, because it means skiing and riding, cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and crisp cold weather.

With the change in season, we have some suggestions for caring for your racks during the cold months so you'll get the most out of your investment for years to come.

Remove Your Bike Racks

If you're not going to be hitting the roads or trails with your bikes for a few months, take off your bike mounts.  Roof bike mounts, as well as Hitch Mount Bike Racks, have lots of moving metal parts and whether you encounter salt or sand in the winter, the cold wet environment can lead to rust and premature aging.  Most bike racks are easily removed and don't require a lot of storage space, and dry storage through the winter months will keep them working properly for years to come.

Lube the Locks and Other Moving Parts

If you have a Cargo box, or ski rack, or any other rack accessory that you'll be locking and unlocking in the cold, it's a great idea to spray the lock cylinder with some silicone lubricant or other lubricant like graphite or lithium grease.  The lube will help prevent the lock tumbler from freezing.  If you find that the lock is frozen, warm the key up with Bic® Lighter for a bit and insert the key into the lock.  Let the heat dissipate through the lock cylinder and then try turning it.  Don't forget all those other moving parts too, like hinges and latches or the slide rail on your Thule 91726 Pull Top Ski Rack.

Spraying some lube inside the lock cylinder of your rack will help prevent freezing when the mercury heads south
A little lube on the sliding mechanism of the Thule Pull Top Ski Rack will keep this rack moving smoothly
Lube the sliding rod that secures the box lid on Thule Cargo Boxes
Spray some silicone lube inside the points where the lid secures into the base
Yakima Cargo Box Mechanism
Lubing the Yakima Sky Box will keep it opening and closing smoothly
Yakima Sky Box Latch Point
Keep the spring inside the Yakima Sky Box latch lubed for smoooth action

Wash Your Car

Even though it's going to get dirty quickly, washing your car will not only keep your rack in good working order, it will keep your vehicle in good shape too.  Salt, Magnesium Chloride deicer, and other road grime can quickly work through your rack and vehicle finish if it's not rinsed off regularly.  Be sure to give your car or truck plenty of time to dry (don't wash it at sunset).  Frozen doors and key holes can wreak havoc on getting to work on time or worse, getting in line for the lift on a powder day!

Last But Not Least

As always, exercise caution while driving in winter conditions.  Keep plenty of spacing between cars, have good winter (snow) tires, good windshield wipers, clean and clear headlights and plenty of washer fluid that won't freeze.  Make sure you have plenty of fuel in your gas tank too.

Also, remember a winter emergency kit.  You can include a sleeping bag, gloves and a hat, a shovel, jumper cables or jump box, a camping stove to melt snow, chains, fire starter, flares, flashlights or headlamps, or anything else you think can be handy.

The Thule Large Trunk Organizer is an excellent way to carry all of these items together, in a zippered compartment, where they'd stay organized in the back of your car.

We want you and your gear to arrive safely!  Have a great winter!!!