How to Keep Car Doors from Freezing Shut

It’s bad enough having to shovel your way through a foot or more of snow to reach your car, without encountering a frozen door frame or lock. If you cannot park your car in a heated garage, your best options are usually an oil for the door frame gaskets, and rubbing alcohol or a heat source of frozen locks.


Method 1 of 2: Keeping Doors from Freezing Shut

1. Replace torn or missing rubber gaskets. The rubber gasket, or seal, along the edge of the car door is the area that freezes, not the metal itself. Inspect the seal on each car door and around each window. Visit an auto parts store to purchase replacements if you notice tears or gaps where water could seep in.

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2. Wipe down the door frame. Clean the entire door frame to remove road debris and other detritus that can build up over time. Water can collect around the dirt and freeze the door shut once the temperatures drop.

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3. Coat the rubber with a protective liquid. Rub oil or lubricant over the rubber seals with a paper towel. This will repel water, reducing the amount that enters the seal and freezes. There is some disagreement over which oil is best to use, but here are a few options:

  • A rubber conditioner or rubber care product are probably the safest options for long-term care.
  • Silicone spray lubricant can last several weeks per application, but it can damage foam rubber seals and should be kept away from paint.
  • WD40, another light lubricating oil, or even nonstick cooking spray are easily available options, but repeated use can dry out or disintegrate the rubber

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4. Use a car cover. If your car is parked outside, a car cover minimizes the amount of moisture from snow and rain that can reach the door parts and freeze.

  • Alternatively, find a heavy gauge trash bag and hang it over the open car doorway. Oil the rubber as described above, then shut the door over the plastic.

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Method 2 of 2: Preventing and Dealing with Frozen Locks
1. Rub the key and lock with rubbing alcohol. Choose a rubbing alcohol that contains at least 60% alcohol, so the alcohol will adhere to the lock and prevent moisture from freezing over it. Rub it onto the key and the door lock with a paper towel once per week to prevent ice from forming. This can also work to melt existing ice, but is typically slower than the methods below.

  • Petroleum jelly is another option, but may leave a messy residue on your equipment.

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2. Spray a lock lubricant for severe problems. If rubbing alcohol is not enough to keep your lock usable, select a lock lubricant. Even experts tend to have differing opinions about lubricant choices, but some options are recommended more often than others. Use only one of the following options per lock, since a mix could easily gum it up:

  • A graphite lubricant typically comes in a squeeze bottle of air that can be pressed directly into the keyhole. Some people find this can absorb moisture over time and leave gunk on the key.
  • Teflon-based lubricant is often recommended, but some people consider the products that contain silicone messy and ineffective.
  • Greaseless lubricants are supposed to attract less dust and debris.

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3. Spray frozen locks with a de-icer. Keep a de-icer product in your garage or winter jacket, in case you are frozen out of your car. These are typically sprayed directly onto the lock, and are the most effective option in severe ice conditions. Choose the lock with the least amount of ice buildup, spray, and insert the key.

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4. Heat the key. Hold the key with an oven mitt or tongs, with the toothed tip over a lighter or match, then insert it in the lock. If the key is completely metal, with no plastic handle or computerized fob, you can safely heat the key while it is inserted in the lock.

  • This is not common a practice in cold climates; it is hazardous and there are other, safer alternatives for you and your vehicle. This should be attempted if no other alternatives are available.
  • Do not do this with a key with a computerized chip. This may damage the electronics, and replacements can costs hundreds of dollars.

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5. Warm the lock with a hairdryer or your own breath. This method is less effective, but worth a try if no other options are available. A cardboard tube placed over the frozen lock will help direct the warm air. Keep trying for several minutes, especially if you do not have a tube or if conditions are windy.

  • If your car is outside, use a battery-operated dryer, or an extension cord rated for outdoor use.

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Sources and Citations : http://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Car-Doors-from-Freezing-Shut