Audi A3 Takes On Frozen Tundra In NYC

January 27, 2011

The terms freeze up or frozen create confusion when used in an automotive context, because the service facility never knows if a cold weather problem is being described or the car owner is making reference to the engine seizing up. This would be the case when an engine is run without sufficient lubrication (low oil volume or pressure) creating enough internal friction and heat to destroy the engine.

Neither was the situation for Peter Helfer's 2008 Audi A3, it froze up from the outside in. The sad tale was told in a New York Post article that related the aftermath of Helfer's attendance at a Jets playoff party. Not only did the East Village man have to deal with the let down of the Jets' loss to the Steelers, but he returned to the parking space he claimed 48 hours earlier to find his station wagon encased in what looked like four to six inches of ice.

The vehicle appeared to be singled out by old man winter for special treatment. But what could have caused this extra thick ice pack on a weekend that was precipitation free? Chalk it up to the city's efforts to correct a leaking water line, a repair procedure that occurred over the weekend. For whatever reason water formed a pond adjacent to the Audi and passing traffic continually splashed water on it while the temperatures struggled to reach the mid 20s.

When the car owner returned prior to work on Monday he realized he would have to do an ice carving in reverse to free his prized wheels-think hammer and chisel. The powers that be at his employer, a marketing firm in Queens didn't believe the reason for his no-show status until he sent them the link of a photo the Post had run.

City workers departed from protocol and pitched in to help with a steam-generating power washer that is normally used on frozen pipes. The Audi was no worse for the wear except for a shattered rear glass that fell victim to overzealous chiseling. Helfer said that he hoped that his insurance company would cover that damage.

After dealing with the automotive cryogenic episode, Helfer said he was glad it was over as he drove to a dealership to have it checked over for any lasting effects of hypothermia. 

[New York Post]
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