When the thermometer dips below freezing temperatures at Mr. Locksmith we receive many calls from customers who are locked out of their cars because the car door lock is frozen. Note: the most common cause of frozen car locks is the customer washed their car and not only is the car lock frozen but the entire door. Most of the time only a small amount of water has entered the car lock via the key hole.
So what do you do if your car door lock is frozen “do not pour hot water over your car door and car lock.” Boiling water may or may not work but the hot water may damage the door lock and seals. Also, the water will freeze again this time in the lock and linkage.
I have found the best method to loosen up the frozen lock is using a spray “Lock De-icer.” Lock De-icer is available at most Automotive Stores and Canadian Tire.
No Lock De-icer?
If you are at home Hook up a blow dryer. If you don’t have a long enough extension cord try warming your key with a lighter (not too hot or you can melt some parts of the lock, a lot of plastic parts in modern car locks). Just heat the key up and put it into the lock, remove the key and reheat, keep doing this until the lock will eventually unfreeze and open. Note: If you do not have a lighter use you hands to warm the key.
Lubricate Your Car Locks:
During cold weather flush your car locks with WD40 to remove the moisture (do not use oil, this attracts dust and dirt and will eventually jam the lock). Again, the best solution is “Lock De-Icer” sprayed into the car lock key hole. Gently put the tip of your car key into the lock to push back the key lock dust cover and spray lock de-icer into the keyway.
Never try to force your door open. Cold plastic and metal become brittle and cold metal will break with very little force. We have had to open cars with a broken car door handle because the customer try to force open the door.
A very simple method is to try opening the passenger door or the cars hatch. However, most modern cars only have a drivers door lock and no passenger lock.