How to open a frozen car door

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Frosty car door
The lock on your car door is what?
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Most of us have dealt with the frustration of a frozen car door at one time or another, usually when we are late for work or in a hurry. Knowing how to open a frozen car door will come in handy. Here a few tips to help you break the ice and get on your way.

Tips for Opening a Frozen Car Door
  • If it's simply the car door lock that's frozen, try heating your car key with a lighter and inserting it into the lock. The heat from the metal may be enough to thaw the ice and allow you to unlock it. To ensure that the lock will not freeze again, spray it with WD-40.

  • If the entire door is frozen, carefully chip the ice away from the edges with a scraper. Be careful not to scratch the paint of the car. If you cannot chip the ice away, try pouring some windshield washer fluid on the icy areas; windshield washer fluid contains alcohol and this may help melt the ice.

  • Use a blow dryer set on high to melt the surrounding ice.

  • The best way to open a frozen car door and prevent future frustration is to purchase de-icer. Many good brands are available at hardware and auto shops just be sure the solvent displaces moisture and leaves behind a lubricant. If the lock itself is frozen, spray the product directly into the key hole, wait five seconds and then put in your key and try to turn it. Most of these products have straws that help direct the product out of the can and into small areas, making the de-icing process easy.

    Once the door is open, consider spraying the de-icer along the hinges of the door to keep other parts from freezing. Keep the de-icer in your home or garage where you can easily find it. Do not keep it in your vehicle. Having de-icer in your frozen vehicle won't do you much good.

  • While it may be tempting to pour hot water onto the lock to melt the ice, and will result in a quick fix, do not do this. The water could get deep into the lock and freeze, making your problem much more serious.

      Why Your Car Door Freezes

      All of the above methods will help you open a frozen car door; however, it may be wise to look into the reason why the door is freezing in the first place. Cold weather alone does not cause car doors to freeze; in fact, existing moisture that hardens when the mercury dips is the reason for ice buildup. When locking rods inside the door get dry and begin to corrode, any moisture in the air will freeze onto the rods and keep them from moving. Once this happens, none of the mechanics required to open and close the door will work properly. Consider removing the door panel and spraying the rods themselves with the de-icer. If you aren't comfortable doing this type of maintenance, a body shop will be able to do it for you.

      Knowing how to open a frozen car door is a must and will be sure to save you time and frustration on those chilly, winter mornings.

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