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This MagnaLatch lock is a really nice product, but rain/snow/ice gets under the plunger, then inside the cylinder, then freezes. I have tried rubbing alcohol to unfreeze the latch, but the best remedy is really just a large glass of hot water. Is there anything I can put inside the cylinder and around the plunger handle to prevent the ice from locking the mechanism up? Parts of the latch are plastic so I imagine petroleum products would degrade it.

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A lubricant based on graphite powder is commonly used in lock mechanisms to prevent freezing temperatures from causing problems. Some of the graphite lock lubricants have a solvent/carrier fluid that evaporates, but I don't know if it is petroleum based. Some plastics are resistant to petroleum, but I suggest to read and follow all label directions.

As a decidedly safe alternative, consider a PTFE (aka Teflon™) spray or liquid lubricant. The substance appears to react with almost nothing and provides for quite good lubrication. For your application, a liquid form is going to be more easily applied, but may have to be applied more frequently than the PTFE grease option.

If you can apply the lubricant when temperatures are above freezing and the water within has dried, you'll have better luck. My "gut feeling" says that PTFE liquid lube is water displacing, but I don't have direct experience with that. The liquid has very low surface tension, most certainly less than that of water.

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Bottle umbrella

bottle umbrella

Cut the very bottom off a 2 liter soda bottle. Leave the top and cap on. Slide the bottle down over the latch. Cut a flap on the side so the top rail of the gate goes in the groove.

The bottle will keep rain off the latch. The bottle is deep enough it will not easily blow off. You will need to take the bottle off to open the gate. Put it back on when you are done.

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