How To Open a Frozen Car Door

Opening icy car door
It couldn't have happened at a worse time. We're late for work, traffic is slow and your car door is frozen shut. If you need to know how to open a frozen car door or lock, here are a few suggestions.

Step 1

Try to get inside the car. The first step in trying to open a frozen car door is trying to get inside the car. Try all of the other doors on the car to see if they will open, and try your trunk as well. Ideally, you can open a frozen car door by pushing it open from the inside of the car. If you've managed to get inside the car but still can't open the frozen door, turn the car heater on to full blast and continue to step 2.

Step 2

Use a de-icer. This is probably the most popular method for opening a frozen car door. You can purchase this at your local department stores in the auto section. Your mechanic probably carries a few varieties too. Just don't make the mistake of storing the de-icer in your glove box. Inside the car is not exactly the ideal spot for your de-icer to be when you're locked out. Keep a small bottle in your purse during the winter months, or store some in your garage.

Step 3

Melt the lock. If it's just your car lock that is frozen, you can heat up your car key with a lighter and insert it into the lock. It will take a few tries, but it should melt the ice. A blow dryer directed at the lock will also quickly work to melt away the ice. And some even claim that a warm thumb held against a lock for a few minutes will provide enough heat to melt a frozen lock. Whatever you do, do not use boiling water to open a frozen car door or lock. Not only will it freeze too quickly anyway, it could seep deeper into your locks and freeze there too, leaving you with a much worse problem.

Step 4

Chip away the ice. Using a snow scraper, gently chip away the ice around the outline of your door. If you've cleverly left your snow scraper inside your car, you could always find something in your garage or trunk that has a sharp edge. Whatever you use to open a frozen car door, just be careful not to chip away the paint too.

Step 5

Use windshield washer fluid. You can also melt away ice from a frozen car door by using windshield washer fluid. Simply dump the washer fluid slowly into the door, giving it time to trickle down the door. Don't splash it on or most of it will fall directly to the ground. Slow and steady is the trick.

Step 6

Heat up the door. You can melt the ice away from the edges of your frozen car door with a blow dryer or portable heater. As always, use extreme caution not to burn yourself or to heat up the car too much. It could cause you or your paint job to blister.

To prevent your car doors from freezing again, spray the edges of your door with a good de-icer. Park the cars inside or at least in a covered area and don't let snow or ice accumulate. The less exposure your car has to ice and snow, the less likely you'll be dealing with how to open a frozen car door.


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