6 Tips on How to Unlock a Frozen Car Door

Unfortunately, frozen car doors are something you might have to deal with if you live somewhere with cold winters. However, knowing various tips on how to unlock a frozen car door will help tremendously when that day comes. So, how should you unlock a frozen car door?

This article will go over various ways to unlock a frozen car door no matter how it’s frozen, such as by the lock, the handle, or the door itself. Remember these methods so you’re prepared if you ever have a frozen car door.

1. Heat Your Key or Fob

The first way you can get a frozen car door open is to heat your car key up. This method works if your door is not opening because your lock is frozen shut, and you can’t get your key in.

To heat your key, all you need to do is get a lighter or a match and heat the tip of your key. Once it’s warm, stick it in the lock as far as possible and wait for the ice to melt. If the ice is still not fully melted and your key cools down, heat the key again and continue this process until the ice fully melts.

You should only use this method if your car key does not contain any electric parts or a chip, as the heat will damage it. Additionally, if your key has a plastic end, be sure not to heat it or it will melt!

If you have a car with a key fob, you can’t heat your key as a method of unfreezing the lock to get in your car. However, there is still a way to get your frozen car door open if you have a car with a fob.

To do this, start your car with the fob from the outside and let it warm up for a few minutes. As the inside of the car heats up, the doors will start to heat up too, and any ice that’s preventing you from getting in the car will melt.

This method will take a little longer if you don’t have the heat on inside your car, but be patient! Eventually, the car will get warmer, and you’ll be able to get inside.

2. Use a Hair Dryer

Another way you can get your frozen car door open is by using a hairdryer. All you need to do is turn on the hairdryer and face it to blow on the ice until it starts to melt.

Make sure you’re not blowing hot air in one place on the door for too long because it can damage your car or shatter your glass windows. If all of the ice you’re trying to melt is in one place (such as on the handle or in the lock) use the hairdryer for 20 to 30 seconds, then take a break and let the car cool down before starting to blow again.

Unfortunately, this method only works if you have a portable hair dryer or an extension cord that’s long enough to reach your car to plug in a hairdryer.

However, if you do have a hairdryer and an extension cord that works, I would recommend this method because it’s the easiest.

3. Pour Hot Water on the Door

Another way you can unlock a frozen car door is with hot water. Of course, this method works best if you’re at home or someplace with access to hot water.

To use hot water to unlock your frozen car door, follow these steps:

  1. Get some lukewarm water (not boiling), and put it in a container to take out to your car.
  2. Figure out where most of the ice is. Is it on the handle, in the door’s crack, or somewhere else?
  3. Slowly pour the water onto the frozen area. As you pour, the ice will start to melt..
  4. If you still can’t get the frozen door to open, repeat the process.
  5. Once the car door is open, wipe down any extra water on the sides and edge of the door so the car door doesn’t freeze again.

Hot Water Method Precautions

It’s essential to make sure the water isn’t too hot because it can damage your car or break open your window if it is. The water only needs to be warmer than the ice you’re pouring it on.

Even if you can’t get warm water, you can use cool water. However, it will take longer, and you’ll need more of it to get the car door unfrozen.

Additionally, if you use this method and your car sits outside in the freezing cold, you risk having the water freeze. Therefore, making your car door freeze again.

The hot water method is best used if the temperature outside is warmer than freezing so the water won’t freeze again.

4. Use Your Body Weight To Push the Door

If the door itself is frozen and not the handle or the lock, you can try pushing on the door with your body weight to get the ice to crack. If you can get the ice to crack as you press against the door, you should be able to open it.

Make sure you’re pushing on the door and not the window so you do not risk breaking the glass.

This method is the easiest to use since it doesn’t require any equipment or materials, but it only works if the handle and lock aren’t frozen. However, it doesn’t hurt to try- especially if you’re in a rush.

5. Use a De-Icer Spray

A great thing you can use to unlock a frozen car door is de-icer. You can use de-icer on your door handle, your lock, or around the edges of your car door. All you need to do is spray it and it’ll melt the ice so you can get your door open.

Of course, this method only works if you have de-icer available. But, you can be prepared by buying some ahead of time. Therefore, you’ll have it when your car door is unexpectedly frozen!

The Prestone AS247 Trigger Spray Windshield De-Icer is a great product from Amazon. The bottle is easy to spray, and the formula works fast to melt the ice so you can unlock your car. The de-icer liquid is also not going to refreeze after you spray it. Therefore, you can use it on your doors, locks, handles, and even your car’s windshield and windows.

If you don’t have a de-icer on you or it’s  locked in your car, there is another option to get your car lock unfrozen: hand sanitizer!

Put some hand sanitizer on your key and stick it in the keyhole, and give it some time. The ice should unfreeze, and you’ll be able to unlock your car.

The alcohol and ethanol in hand sanitizer can lower the freezing point of water, so it’ll help melt the ice quickly. Hand sanitizer is a great option as it’s a common thing that people carry on them, especially compared to de-icer.

For a video tutorial that shows you how to use de-icer to open your frozen car door, watch this YouTube video from Mr. Locksmith. He also shows you another way that you can make your own de-icer other than using hand sanitizer:

6. Use an Ice Scraper

The final way you can get your frozen car door open is with an ice-scraper. Take your ice scraper and chip away any ice on the outside of your door handle or in the cracks of your door.

You need to be careful when chipping away the ice so you don’t scratch your car door or otherwise damage it.

This method only works if the ice is on the outside of the door, and you can reach it with an ice scraper. If the ice is inside your lock or you’re unable to reach it, this method probably won’t work for you.

If you like this method best for unlocking your frozen car door, you should keep an extra ice scraper in your garage or house. If your car door is frozen and your ice scraper is inside, you will not be able to get it from inside the car.

Final Thoughts

Realizing you have a frozen car door can be frustrating, but they’re not as challenging to open as some may think. There are several ways to get around this ice and into your car.

If the lock is frozen, try heating your key, turning on your car using the key fob, or using a de-icer. If the door itself is frozen, you can pour hot water on the door or use a hairdryer to melt the ice. Additionally, you can try pushing the door to break the ice or break the ice with an ice-scraper.

See also: How to Find a Lost Car Key

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