Hair Dryer

5 ways to quickly unstick a frozen car door/lock

Welcome to Alberta… you wake up the morning after snow and ice have fallen and you walk outside to find your car door frozen solid. You don’t have time to wait for the sun to thaw the ice, so what do you do? If you are lucky, you can remote start the car, the heater was already on, and once heated up the door opens. What about a frozen lock or you can’t remotely start the vehicle?

Here are some ideas to safely and quickly open a car door that is frozen shut.

  • First, try some good old elbow grease. Give the door a closed fist bang around the perimeter to try to break the ice (if there is too much ice, save your fist).
  • Grab your ice scraper to chip away any ice along the door seam. If you don’t have an ice scraper, any stiff plastic object will do the trick (credit card, etc.). Stay away from metal, as you will risk scratching your car’s paint.
  • Use a hairdryer (and an outdoor safe extension cord) to melt the ice around the door frame.
  • Most auto parts stores and gas stations sell de-icing spray that can be sprayed into the lock and around the frame of the door.
  • You can also try heating the car key with a lighter (be careful to not burn your fingers) although it won’t help with a frozen door frame. Do not over-force the key to turn as it can break or get so bent it won’t work anymore.

Heat Key

Here’s how you can help prevent your doors from freezing shut in the first place:

  • Cover your car with a tarp or other cover to keep shielded from the elements.
  • Shut a plastic bag in your car door before the winter weather hits to keep the door from freezing shut (you can still lock the door if it’s parked outside).
  • With a rag, rub PAM cooking spray, WD-40, or even Vaseline, on the door rubber seal and the door frame (while the door is open).

spray de-icer