How to Unfreeze a Frozen Car Door LockCar doors and car door locks are notorious for freezing during the winter, particularly when it snows out. Moisture can seep into the door lock and freeze, making it impossible to unlock the car door. Try these tips to thaw a frozen door lock on your car!
Step 1 TRY ANOTHER DOOR: It sounds simple, but many people get flustered and panic when they discover that their car door lock is frozen and they may not think of trying another door! Try another door or the hatch. Often, one of the other door locks will work just fine!
Step 2 USE THE CAR DOOR LOCK DE-ICER: If you live in a cold climate, spend a few dollars and purchase a little aerosol canister of lock de-icer. Lock de-icer is easy to use and it can be used to unfreeze a car door lock or a frozen door lock on your home, office or other building. Insert the door lock de-icer nozzle into the door lock, squirt and unlock the car door.
Step 3 WARM YOUR KEY WITH A LIGHTER: If you don't have lock de-icer handy, move on to this step. Use a lighter or matches to warm the key for a few seconds and insert it into the lock. Sometimes, this must be repeated several times to completely unfreeze and thaw the car door lock. Be careful - the key is hot!
Step 4 PUT PETROLEUM JELLY ON YOUR CAR KEY: Petroleum jelly is a great home remedy for unfreezing a car door lock (or any other lock, for that matter!) Put a bit of petroleum jelly on the car key, wiggle it around and try to open the lock. You may need to repeat this step a couple times in order for the frozen door lock to operate.
Step 5 WARM THE DOOR LOCK WITH A HAIR DRYER: This is the most time-consuming method for de-icing a car door lock. You'll need to run an extension cord out to your car and focus the hair dryer on the door lock to unfreeze the lock mechanism.
Tips & Warnings
Park in a garage or car port when possible! A garage will usually remain at a temperature that's slightly warmer than the outdoors and the car's door lock will be somewhat protected from moisture when in the garage or under a car port.
Are you sure the door lock is frozen? If the key is turning, but the door isn't opening, your car door may actually be frozen - not the lock.
DO NOT keep the lock de-icer in your glovebox! If you can't get inside your car because the door locks are frozen, you won't be able to get to the de-icer! Keep a canister in your purse, your office desk drawer and in your home.
DON'T FORCE THE KEY TO TURN! This will only serve to break the key off in the lock. Metal fractures with surprisingly little force when it's cold out. Your cold car key could break off in the car door lock, or you could damage the lock mechanism. Either way, it's better to be patient and don't try to force the key to turn.