Here at Great Valley Lockshop in Malvern, PA we understand how common it is during the winter months for car owners to suddenly find their door locks frozen up. Whether you need to get to work, take the kids to school or simply run errands, a frozen car door lock can keep you from being where you need to be.
Fortunately, there are a few homespun methods that you can employ to quickly de-ice your car locks safely and without damage. In cases where none of these work or your key has become lodged in the lock, our professional automobile locksmiths can save the day. First let’s discuss what you shouldn’t do if your car door locks are frozen.
What Not to Do When De-icing Car Door Locks
Don’t panic, first and foremost. Your initial instinct may be to pour hot water on the lock or try to chip away at the ice. These are no-no’s and can cause serious damage to your vehicle. Pouring water in the lock can cause water to get inside the door frame and freeze again or it can result in thermal shock that shorts out modern electronics such as sensor and lock cylinders. Chipping at ice on door locks can be tricky, and this process may result in breaking dinging your car and chipping paint away, too.
Now that we’ve covered what not to do, here are 7 safe ways to properly de-ice your automobile door locks.
What to Do When De-icing Car Door Locks
1. Start the Engine
Often, only one side’s door locks will freeze up, especially if one side of the car is facing the sun. Try to gain access through another door or a hatchback so you can get inside and crank the engine. This alone may be enough to warm the frozen lock within a few minutes, so you can get on your way quickly.
2. Heat up the Key
First, this method is not recommended if you have a specialty key with internal electronics, as this can permanently damage the key. If you have traditional keys, put on gloves for safety and remove any external key fob if one is present. Get a lighter and apply the flame to the very tip of the key. This may help warm the tumblers and help you de-ice your door lock.
3. Using Breath to Solve Frozen Door Locks
If the door lock appears to only be slightly frozen, you can often use handy household supplies to breathe life into this frigid situation. Try using a straw or a toilet paper tube to apply your warm breath directly to the locking mechanism for a quick thaw. You might have to blow for a few minutes, but this is one of the easiest methods using home supplies.
4. The Hair Dryer Option
This is a particularly safe and effective de-icing method for automobile locks. If you have an outlet in your garage or have an extension cord long enough to reach the car, use a standard hair dryer to remove serious ice overs. Depending on the model of the hair dryer, a toilet paper tube can also come in handy to focus the air directly on the lock.
5. Use Hand Sanitizer or WD-40
If you find a car door lock is frozen, dab a bit of hand sanitizer on your key stem and gently maneuver it into the frozen lock. These alcohol-based sanitizers will often burn through the ice in car door locks rather quickly, so you get moving again. However, there is another home item that can serve as a preventive measure for ice forming in locks—good old WD-40. If you just take a moment to spray a dab on the door lock each night, this wonderful solution can winterize your auto by keeping internal condensation from actually freezing.
6. Park in the Sunlight
If you don’t have a garage to park within, consider which direction the sun rises in, and try to strategically park with the driver’s side door facing that direction so it receives direct sunlight first thing in the morning. More than a solution, this is a preventive measure that can help stave off those pesky frozen car door locks.
7. Take Advantage of Commercial Lock De-icers
One of the safest and most effective ways to de-ice car door locks is to use a formula specially designed to melt ice. These commercial lock de-icers are typically alcohol based, which quickly frees up your car lock mechanisms and allows you to gain entry.
They typically take five to ten minutes to work, and you may have to apply a second application, but they sure can be time savers when you’re in a hurry. The best aspect of these formulas, is that they can also be applied in evenings when temperature drops are expected to serve as a prevention for frozen locks the next day.
Are You Iced Out of Your Car and Need Assistance?
Great Valley Lockshop provides 24/7 auto locksmith services and much more! Whether you need de-icing service or simply a lockout service, you can call Great Valley Lockshop at 610-644-5334 or request a quote online! for emergency assistance. Our mobile locksmith services are available to those within a two-hour radius of our headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania.