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Ignition interlock devices and cold weather

Ignition interlock devices are easy to operate in all seasons, however, drivers who use ignition interlocks should know that cooler temperatures mean simple preventive maintenance and tricks are required when using your device. As temperatures drop through the fall and winter, keep these tips in mind.

Take care of your battery

Cold weather is tough on batteries, and completing a few simple tasks will help prepare your car battery for the winter. Visit a local auto parts store to test your battery load and ensure it’s capable of holding a charge during very cold weather.

If you experience extremely cold weather, make sure to start your vehicle daily to keep your battery fully charged. Your Intoxalock service center may be able to provide some additional battery maintenance services to prepare you for cold weather.

Enable Intoxalock Sleep Mode

One of the best things you can do to help protect your battery is to use Sleep Mode if your car is going to sit for two or more hours (8 or more hours in warm weather). The process is simple:

  1. Press and hold the button on your device for three beeps before you shut off your vehicle.
  2. Release after the third beep. Now, your device is in Sleep Mode and will remain there until you press the activation button the next time you go to provide a breath sample. 

Sleep Mode is an exclusive feature Intoxalock offers to help maintain your car battery in cold weather, if approved by your state. This mode will turn off your ignition interlock device’s internal heaters, preventing battery drain. It’s important to allow a little extra time for your device to warm back up next time you go to activate it, since those heaters were turned off.

Download our fact sheet: Cold weather tips for operating your ignition interlock device

Warm the device

Allow yourself a few extra minutes before you need to leave so your ignition interlock device can warm up. These tricks will help:

  • Before activating your breathalyzer, remove the mouthpiece and slowly blow warm
    air through the unit. This will help the device warm up before providing your breath sample.
  • Remove the mouthpiece after each time you drive and take it inside with you.
  • Leave the device in a vertical position to allow moisture to drain and not freeze in the air tube.
  • Warm a towel or blanket and wrap it around the device on extremely cold days.

Avoid these tricks

Sometimes people try to get creative to warm up their device, but remember to be patient. The above tricks will help warm up the device. Never try any of the following:

  • Do not disconnect the device and bring it inside (unless you live in Minnesota and are approved to do so by your monitoring authority), as this will register power interruption and may be reported as a violation.
  • Do not pour hot liquid down the air tubes.
  • Do not use the microwave to thaw your device.

Using your Intoxalock ignition interlock device in colder climates requires some extra care, much like using your vehicle in cold weather does. With these few tricks, you’ll have a successful winter driving with your ignition interlock device.

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