7 Tricks to Open A Frozen Car Door Lock You Might Not Know

October 16, 2022

Fatima Buzdar

After a long day out, you are walking towards your car as you get shivers from the freezing cold, snowy night. Naturally, you can not wait to get into the warm haven of your car. However, as you attempt to open your car door lock, you are hit with a dreadful revelation: the car door lock is frozen. The culprit seems to be none other than the ice inside the lock, taunted by the layers of frost upon the external door. Turns out you are not alone in suffering from the ruthless cold.

A frozen car door lock does not just hold you back from the much needed comfort of your car heat and commute to your warm home, but it also can potentially endanger you by leaving you stranded out. Additionally, frozen door lock components can also be prone to breaking down or weakening and that can make your car vulnerable to car thieves, which is a danger you should not underestimate. According to York police statistics, the car theft rate has soared by 50% compared to last year in the York Region. Hence, you should not delay in getting the issue resolved, whether when you face it or when you suspect the signs of it.

So how do you unfreeze your door lock and open your car door when you are stuck in this unfortunate situation that is stacking up your woes about the ruthless winter? We will explain the tricks that can open your frozen car lock, as well as how an automotive locksmith can promptly unfreeze the car door lock for you.

How to Thaw a Frozen Car Door Lock?

There are various methods that may be suited to help to unfreeze your car door lock that is stuck due to ice forming within it. However, there is no guarantee that you can resolve the issue with any of them as a layperson. Additionally, you should take caution when trying any of these methods. Without proper expertise, it can be easy to damage the door lock further or leave you with a broken key, which you surely would not want. When in doubt, it is best to turn to a locksmith.

1. Your Breath

Yes, your breath which you will blow into the lock to help melt the ice within it. This may seem very ineffective and you might be ready to rule it out. However, depending on how stubbornly the lock is frozen, your warm breath may be more effective at defrosting your lock than you may think. This is also the easiest method and it poses no damage to the lock. Hence, this might be best to be your first step in troubleshooting your stuck door lock.

Blow directly into the lock and encapsulate the lock with your palms so that your breath gets blown straight into it without getting impeded much by the wind. After blowing, check if the lock works. It might not work yet as it can require various attempts.

2. Hair Dryer

Blowing your warm breath into the lock did not work? This is where the warm air of your hair dryer can come into play, which may be more effective. You can apply its warm air directly into the lock, which may dissolve the ice within the lock.

3. Hand Sanitizer

This method may also catch you by surprise. How even does a hand sanitizer come into play for defrosting a lock? Well, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer certainly is more capable to help your issue than you may think and it is one of the simplest methods to try. It is also possible that you carry a bottle of hand sanitizer on the go, especially since the pandemic, which can be handy if your door lock gives out due to cold on the go.

You might be wondering how exactly it works. As alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, it would lower the freezing point of water once it comes in contact with the ice inside your lock. This would result in the alcoholic content breaking down the ice and this would dissolve the ice within the lock.

In order to apply it, you just need to abundantly coat your key with your hand sanitizer. Then gently put it into the lock, and wiggle it around with low pressure to spread the sanitizer without risking any damage to the components.

4. Petroleum Jelly

A tub of petroleum jelly can be handy when it comes to thawing your frozen lock. As an effective lubricant, it can soften the ice inside the lock and help defrost the lock. To use it, simply coat your key with a low amount of petroleum jelly and then insert the key into the keyhole. Then turn the key in different directions to spread the petroleum jelly. Make sure that you do so carefully so that the force does not result in further damage and consequential headache for you.

5. Lighter or Match

This is definitely the method you should take the most caution with, even though it is one that can be very effective. With this method, you would heat your key from the warmth of a lighter or match, and then insert the heated up key into the lock so that the heat it generates melts the ice accumulated inside the lock components. The generated heat can be very handy in this case, but as you might be able to tell, this method has the potential to hurt you or damage the key if you are not careful.

You should make sure to protect your hands with thick gloves or oven mitts when trying this method and handling the hot key, so that the key does not burn your hands. Additionally, you definitely do not want to have a go at this method if you attempted to open the door with flammable substances like hand sanitizer, lubricant or petroleum jelly before. The last thing you would want in this situation is to generate a bit too much heat and have a key on fire in your hand...

6. White Vinegar

This homemade solution of white vinegar and water can do wonders to de-ice a frozen lock, but you need to take close care of the white vinegar concentration. A ratio of 3:1 with white vinegar to water is recommended. If the white vinegar concentration is too high, then beware that it can result in damage to your vehicle lock components with corrosive effects. The last thing you want is further damage upon your lock.

Once you have prepared the white vinegar and water solution in a 3:1 ratio, pour it into a spray bottle. Then spray a bit of it into the lock and operate the lock with the key. If it still does not work, give it a few more tries with the spraying the solution and operating the lock with key until you feel an effect.

7. De-Icer Spray

A lock de-icer spray has got to be the best way to instantly dissolve that stubborn ice inside the door lock instantly without posing damage to the inner workings of your lock. As soon as you spray it into the lock, you will likely be able to see it melt ice in a blink of an eye. Keeping its effectiveness in mind, it is recommendable to keep it close to access to you during winter.

Should You Call A Locksmith If Your Car Door Lock is Frozen?

When you are locked out of your car, time is likely to be paramount. Whether it is a commute to your work or home, you would likely need to access your car as soon as possible. However, attempting to open your frozen car door lock on your own can consume more time than you would like it to, especially if you do not actually know what you are doing. You may also lack the proper tools to do the task or the knowledge for how to operate them properly.

Additionally, as a layperson, there is the risk of damaging your car door lock further. While the lock components are frozen, they can be sensitive and prone to breaking if excessive force is put upon them. You can also risk breaking or weakening your key if you try to exert too much force into the lock in attempts to force it open.

The problem could very well be beyond a matter of thawing the lock as well. The build-up of ice does not just jam the lock, but also causes the inner workings of the lock to be vulnerable to damage as mentioned above. This means it is possible that your lock also has broken components that need to be dealt with to make the door lock work again. The solution may require replacing the broken components or even the whole lock altogether. Lastly, it is even possible that the lock is stuck due to one of various other issues that cause a stuck lock, even if the lock appears frozen from external view.

Hence, unless you are sure about what you are doing, it is best to curb your enthusiasm for DIY and seek an automotive locksmith's services. Expert automotive locksmiths have the expertise and tools to diagnose and resolve your hassles without causing damage to your car lock components. They also understand that time is crucial in such matters. Along with a prompt arrival to your location, they can quickly fix the lock that is frozen shut, as well as repair or replace any components if needed.

Get Your Frozen Door Lock Promptly Defrosted Now

Looking for the best locksmith in Richmond Hill to defrost your frozen car door lock? Perhaps you are at your wit's end after trying every DIY method you can try, or you do not feel confident to attempt fixing it on your own; or you simply need to get your lock fixed promptly because understandably, time can be paramount for commuting matters and being stranded out of car can be highly inconvenient or even dangerous. Either way, you do not need to panic as we can get your door lock back to working in no time.

Our expert locksmiths have served car owners in Richmond Hill with excellent services for 5 years. You can trust in us to arrive to your location in a timely manner and quickly get the door lock unfrozen with our tools without posing damage to your vehicle. Additionally, if we find that any lock components require further repair or replacement, we can swiftly get that resolved as well.

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A quick look in to the question we are constantly asked.
You should get a professional locksmith to replace your lock because locksmiths have the skills and tools that the average person doesn’t own. Just because you have the tools doesn’t mean you are equipped to do a task that involves opening a lock or changing the key. For one thing, most people don’t own lock-picking sets or specialized tools like what a locksmith would have. These are tools that would give you access to a lot of safes and doors without having to damage them in any way.
A locksmith is a person who repairs or installs locks, and that's maily what we do. However, we are often called to provide other services as well, such as installing deadbolts, repairing broken keys, and providing security advice. The most common services that a locksmith provides are lock installation, lock repair, key duplication and key replacement. As a company, we expand upon the latter and also deal with other not-so-common household annoyances like garage door repair and installation, electric openers, patio sliding doors, emergency locksmith services, and many others
The fact that we’re not fast, but faster is certainly one of them, but there are also many more. Some of the benefits that we can provide you with include:
- We provide customer satisfaction through efficient customer service, fast and pleasant techs, fair prices, and quality locks and keys.
- Top quality products that we use. We keep abreast of the latest developments in the industry to make sure your home is fortified with the latest security products and that your locks are of the best quality.
- You get courtesy, reliable, and trustworthy service at all times.
In most cases, the best route is to swap out your old set of locks altogether. Older locks were typically made with a variety of simplistically cobbled together devices and even today, a great deal of shoddy craftsmanship is still seen. The best locksmiths in the industry will always direct you towards picking up a new set of locks and that’s because a trained professional is able to not only replace the parts that are broken, but make sure to outfit you with high end parts that will ensure you’re getting a much more secure locking solution that will last for well beyond the of your current doors.

Some situations, however, do allow for a repair instead of a replacement, but most of the times require from specialized equipment not generally available in the household.

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