It’s a chilly morning and you’re in a rush to get into your car. You pull and yank at the door handle, but it won’t budge. Your car door is frozen shut! What do you do? Here are five ways to open a frozen car door, as well as some tips on how to prevent this from happening again.
5 ways to open a frozen car door
1. Use a key to unlock the door
Sometimes all you need is your car keys. It’s essential to keep your keys in your hand when opening a frozen car door so you don’t drop them and lose them. Insert the key into the lock and turn it until you hear a clicking noise or feel the door unlock. Assuming the rest of your door is clear of ice, the lock should work now.
2. Gently bang on the ice with a rock or other heavy object
Using only your key, the ice around your car door may be too thick to break through. Using a large rock or another heavy thing, strike at the edges of the window until the ice shatters and you can see inside of your car. You can also carefully hit the ice with a rubber mallet or similar tool to break through the ice.
3. Use a de-icer
There are many different solutions on the market designed to get rid of ice around your car door. These can be found in most hardware stores or grocery stores, and they come in spray cans ranging from under $5 to over $20. Spray the solution into the crack where your car door comes up against the rest of your car’s body to help melt the ice.
4. Spray warm water on the frozen lock
If your key is still sticking out from the center of your doorknob, try spraying some warm water onto its frozen surface. Please don’t use boiling water, as this may cause the lock to seize up when it hits the cold metal. Instead, spray enough water on the key so that you can see it begin to dissolve some of the ice around the edges of your car door.
5. Apply heat using a hairdryer or a heating pad
A hairdryer should do the trick if you don’t have any water. Just make sure it’s not too hot because this could melt your door handle and cause other damage to your car’s interior. Instead, aim the hairdryer over the keyhole of your car door until you hear a clicking noise, signaling that the ice has melted enough to allow you to open your car.
You can also use a heating pad or other similar device instead of a hairdryer, but make sure it’s not too hot.
How to prevent your car door from being frozen shut
Now that you know how to overcome a frozen car door, here are some tips for avoiding this problem in the first place.
- Don’t leave your car outside for very long – If you know that temperatures will drop below freezing temperatures overnight, either take your car with you or cover it up. Make sure nothing is on top of your vehicle and that there’s plenty of space between it and other objects. This prevents prolonged exposure to the cold air, which can cause ice build-up around the edges of your door.
- Use a cover – If you must park your car outside overnight, a heavy-duty car cover will prevent it from being exposed to powerful gusts of wind and cold air, which will freeze the moisture that has penetrated the door shell.
- Keep things lubricated – As a general rule, make sure that all locks and hinges on your car door are lubricated adequately so they can move quickly against their metal housing. While not exactly a way to prevent it from being frozen, it will help you open it up faster in case it does get frozen.
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