How to Unfreeze Car Door Locks – works for house door locks as well
Frozen door locks are a pain when you need to hit the road. Don’t use hot water to fix frozen door locks. A hair dryer or de-icer is a better fix
Ice and snow can result in your key not fitting into the lock and you being locked out of your vehicle when you need to leave for work or drive home. You may also end up with a frozen lock if you wash your vehicle in cold temperatures. It only takes a small amount of water to freeze up a lock and prevent it from working.
What not to do:
A common response is to pour hot water over the lock. While you may find that it unfreezes the lock in some cases, it can also damage the lock and the seals that surround the lock. The water can also freeze again inside the lock, especially in extreme cold.
Don’t try to force the door open with other objects like screwdrivers or pry bars. You could end up breaking a door handle or other components and be left with an even bigger problem.
Steps to opening a frozen car lock:
>One of the easiest ways to get inside your vehicle is to try another door. Much of the time, only one lock will be frozen and you can access the inside of the vehicle through the passenger or back doors.
>If all of your doors are frozen, you can spray some de-icer on the lock. This generally works to loosen the ice within a few seconds. If you are at home and don’t have a de-icer, you can use a hair dryer to warm up the lock. That heats the lock more gradually than pouring hot water on it, so you won’t risk damaging the lock. Once the ice melts, the lock will turn.
>Another option if you have a cigarette lighter is to heat up your key and put it in the lock. Don’t let the key get too hot or it could melt the components in the lock. Also be careful not to burn your fingers!
>To prevent your locks from becoming frozen, you should cover the vehicle before it rains or snows. Also, although it’s important to keep your car clean in winter, avoid washing your car when the temperature is cold enough to freeze the water before it dries.
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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 car 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 glove-box! 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 CAR 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.
>Rubbing alcohol can dissolve ice, but repeated use may damage your rubber gasket.
>Some varieties of windshield wiper fluid are mostly alcohol, and can serve the same purpose.
>Diluted white vinegar is a last resort, as it leaves a lingering smell and — according to some — may leave pock marks on the window glass.
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sources: our experiences locksmith tech at mdm locksmith
*Any action you take upon the information on this article is strictly at your own risk.