Q:

How do you keep car door locks from freezing shut?

A:

To prevent car door locks from freezing shut, keep them lubricated with penetrating oil or a commercial de-icer. Most door locks freeze over due to the condensation settling inside the mechanism, which allows ice to form on the tumblers.

If the door manages to still freeze over after taking precautions there are several ways to melt the frozen locks. Listed below are three common methods that will break the ice and allow the door to be opened.

  • Heat up the key
  • Warm the key up and insert in into the lock cylinder. The heat from the key could be enough to melt the ice on the tumblers. A hairdryer can be used to warm to the key. Do not heat the key up too much, as many new cars have smart chips in them that are damaged by excessively high temperatures.

  • Use a cardboard tube
  • Place a cardboard tube onto the lock cylinder, then proceed to breathe on it. The hot air will loosen up the ice inside.

  • Use a hair dryer
  • If the car is within a reasonable distance of a electrical outlet, or if there is access to a portable hair dryer, use it to warm the lock cylinder and door. After a few minutes, the heat will melt the ice on the tumblers and allow access to the door.

The door itself can also be kept from freezing shut by wiping the weatherstripping with penetrating oil before leaving it over night.

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