Winter Temperatures Can Freeze Car Door Locks

December 11, 2010; 7:06 AM
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Frozen car door image courtesy of

Winter's bitter winds can freeze car door locks, windows and doors. Use these quick and easy tips to combat the ice.

Frozen Door Locks:

Nothing can be more frustrating than finding your car door locks frozen when you are ready to leave. One way to prevent this from happening is to place a magnet over the lock overnight, according to

Another way to prevent frozen locks is to dip your key into Vaseline, put it into the lock, and turn the lock back and forth a few times. Repeat this to make sure the Vaseline is well-distributed onto the parts of the lock. This method should be done once a week during winter months, according to WD-40 can also prevent locks from freezing.

If you find the lock already frozen, you can spay de-icer into the lock. It is good to keep a few cans handy in the winter months.

If you do not have de-icer, heating up the key could offer a quick fix. Hold the key with an oven mitt or tongs and heat the key with a lighter or matches. The heated key inserted into the lock should melt the ice. If the key is made of only metal, you can heat the key while it is in the lock. Do not try this with keys that have plastic at the top.

Petroleum jelly or Vaseline can melt the ice. Dip the key into the Vaseline, then insert it into the lock. Once in the lock try to wiggle the key. Do not force the key to turn; this could result in breaking the key off in the lock. If this does not work right away, repeat the steps three or four more times, then wait for five minutes.

As a last resort when all else fails, you can use a hair dryer. Plug the dryer into an extension cord, and direct the air at the lock. Make sure to block any wind with your body. When using this method, you can put the key into the lock to help direct the heat.

Frozen Power Windows:

When you push the button to roll down your power window and it does not go down, do not keep pushing the button. The window is likely frozen to the weather strip on the outside of the car. If you keep trying to roll the window down, you can damage the window motor, and this could be expensive to repair, according to

The best thing to do is to insert a credit card or plastic comb between the window and the strip. This should help to break up the ice. Remove the ice as you go.

If you can, wait until the car interior warms up. The ice should then melt shortly.

Icy car image by

Frozen Car Door:

You can prevent your door from freezing shut by spraying the door frame with spray cooking lubricant like Pam.

If you have not treated the doors and find them frozen shut, try these steps to unfreeze them.

First, try all of the doors (including the hatch) to find the one least frozen. Do not try to force a frozen door open. This can damage the seal around the door.

Next, while wearing gloves, hit the ice with the palms of your hands, and remove the ice as it breaks.

If this method does not work, you can use a hair dryer to melt the ice.


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