The low temperatures and winds during winter tend to freeze things, including door locks. The condensation inside the tumblers is actually what freezes, making it impossible to open door locks. If you wash your car at night, there is a high likelihood that the locks will be frozen in the morning. Thanks to the guys at sunlakeslocksmith.com, here’s what to do if your locks are frozen:

Keep trying

Before you think of trying anything else, insert the key into the lock and try to open it. If it does not work, repeat the procedure several times, with short intervals. The friction could heat the ice in the lock and melt it. Do not force the key as it could damage the lock, some mechanisms inside the cylinder, bend the key or even break it.

You can also lift the door handle for some time, activating a heated element around the door lock. The ice in the lock melts and you can open the door. This feature is likely to be found in older models. Check whether your model has this feature.

Try access via other doors

Frozen lock3You can try to access your car via other doors. If need be, use the rear hatch. When you get in, you need to start the engine and allow it to run for a few minutes. The car will heat up, warming the locks on all the doors.

Spray de-icer into the locks

You can use de-icer or a can of WD-40 to spray the locks. De-icer is easily available in hardware stores, gas stations, convenience stores, and automotive stores, especially during the winter months. When applying the de-icer, you need to get the dust cover out of the way. Do this by partly inserting the key into the lock. Go ahead and spray.

Heat the key

Frozen lock1You can use a box of matches or lighter to heat the key. To ensure that you do not damage the key fobs, which contain computer chips that are easily damaged, hold the key with an oven mitt or tongs. Wear thick gloves to avoid burning yourself, if you do not hold the key using tongs or an oven mitt. If the key is made of metal only, heat it while it is in the lock. If it has plastic, do not heat it while it is in the lock. The heated key should melt the ice and get the tumblers moving.

Do not heat the key until it is too hot. Heat it until it is warm to the touch, as some lock cylinders could have plastic parts that can get damaged by heat. You may have to heat the key over and over.

If you do not have any of these tools, press the key onto the car’s hot engine block. This should heat the key enough to melt the ice in the lock.

Heat the lock

You can also heat the lock. A hair dryer is ideal for this. If the car is far from electric sockets, you may need a very long extension cord. You can also use a portable hair dryer. Direct the air at the lock, blocking the wind with your body. Putting the key into the lock will also help to direct the heat.

Use petroleum jelly or Vaseline

Petroleum jelly or Vaseline should melt the ice in the lock. Dip the key into the Vaseline. Insert it into the lock and wiggle the key. If it does not work right away, repeat the procedure several times and wait for about 5 minutes. Do not force the key to turning. The last thing you need is a broken key in your lock.

Use straw or toilet paper tube

Place the tube over the lock and warm it using your breath. This simple technique provides some warmth that melts the ice in the lock.

The last option

If the car door is totally frozen, you may need to apply heat to the entire door to get it open.

Caution

One of the ways to melt the ice in the lock is via heating. Do not pour hot water over the lock. Doing this increases the amount of water in the lock, making the lock freeze even more in future. Moreover, since most cars have a lot of plastic parts and soft rubber parts, you can easily wreck the seals. There are also some hydraulics or electronics hanging out under the locks that could easily get damaged.

You now know what to do if your locks are frozen. The extent to which the locks are frozen will determine the options that will work and those that will not.