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Ignition Interlock Device Tips for Cold Weather

Your interlock device gives you the freedom to get where you need to go safely. While interlock devices are built to withstand a lot of weather fluctuations, extreme heat and cold can cause some challenges. Luckily, we have many suggestions for things you can do to protect your device from extreme cold.

How Can I Make Sure My Interlock Is Working in Cold Weather?

There are many things you can do to make sure your interlock stays in good working order even in the coldest weather. Starting your car is especially important when driving in snow and icy temperatures. You want to make sure your vehicle is able to start and warm up so you can get where you are going on time. Try some of these tips to help your device weather the cold:

Seek Out Parking That Can Protect Your Vehicle

If covered parking is an option for you, this is your best bet to protect your car from extreme weather, snow, and rain. Even if a parking structure is not heated, it still offers considerable protection from wind, cold, and moisture. If you have to park outside, try to park in a way that your windshield receives the greatest amount of sunlight. Sunlight can help keep your dashboard and device warm even in chilled temperatures.

Make a Barrier on Your Windshield

When your windshield gets covered in snow, the sun can’t find its way in to warm your dashboard. These big snow piles can also make it harder to warm up your car. You can use a black snow guard or frost guard overnight to protect your windshield. If you don’t have one, you can also use household items like sheets, shower curtains, or tablecloths to make a homemade barrier. Even this homemade version should keep snow and ice from piling up on your windshield.

Insulate Your Interlock From Weather

Some interlock providers might offer protective coverings or sleeves that fit their devices, but you can also use household items. Things like an oven mitt, sock, glove, towel, or mitten that can be wrapped around your device help keep it warm. When your device is safely wrapped and insulated, you can place it upside down in your cup holder, passenger seat, or console so it stays safe, dry, and warm.

Keep Your IID off the Floor

Make sure your interlock is stored above floor level. This will prevent it from sitting in the coldest part of the car. Also, it will prevent the interlock from getting covered with dirt, debris, and snow from you and the passengers getting into the car. Try storing it on the seat or inside a dry cup holder. 

Plan Enough Time for Trips

Your device will make you take a breath test before you start the engine. However, your device may take longer to warm up in colder weather. Some devices can warm up if you blow warm air into them (without initiating a breath test) or hold them in your hands. When you activate your interlock device by pressing the power button, give it a few minutes to wake up before testing. This will ensure the device is fully functional.  

Start Your Car to Prevent Cold Weather Battery Issues

If your car sits in cold weather for a significant length of time without running, you might encounter some battery problems. Start your vehicle and take a short drive multiple times per week even if you have nowhere specific to go. Even sitting in your running vehicle in a safe, non-enclosed space, can help keep your battery charged.  

Cold Weather Don'ts

There are many legitimate helpful tips online about caring for interlock devices, but there are also some that are perhaps too creative. Trying some of these methods might result in damage to your device, so avoid the following tips:

  • Use caution if disconnecting your device: While some states do allow devices to be disconnected in extreme weather, most don’t. Check before trying this method, because your state does not allow this, it could be considered tampering. Tampering can result in penalties or an increased interlock term.
  • Don’t attempt to thaw with hot liquid: Hot liquid will only damage your device, it will not warm it up.
  • Don’t use outside sources to heat your device: Don’t microwave your device, or hold it over a stove, radiator, or another heat source in an attempt to thaw. This could damage it.

We hope these tips are helpful! If you need more information about keeping your device working in cold weather, contact us at 877-370-7308.