There are not things that ruin a good morning more than finding out you’re your vehicle lock has been frozen. Although a frozen lock might take a little of your time, there are many ways you can unfreeze the device and put your day back on schedule
Step 1 – Inspect all Locks
Before you pour out the chemicals, there are a few things you can try that might assist you get inside the car. For starters, walk around the car and double-check all available locks. You might get lucky and find the passenger door’s lock is not frozen shut. If all the doors are iced over, move to the next step.
Step 2 – Apply Pressure
If you can unlock the vehicle remotely, push on the door. The pressure should be enough to break thin layers of ice around the door frame and let you inside. This method will not function, of course, if you have to unlock the vehicle with a key and the door was already locked. You can also try and break the ice away from the lock with a scraper. Just be careful not to hurt the paint or damage the lock with repeated blows.
Step 3 – Use Your Body Heat
Put your thumb on the car lock and keep it in place for a minute or two. The heat from your body might be enough to free the lock. After a few minutes, try to stick the key inside the lock. Do not put too much force on the lock, however, as this can damage the key. If you observe any resistance, stop and try an alternative method. Repeat this process a few times until the lock is completely unfrozen.
Step 4 – Heat Source
If your body heat is not enough to unfreeze the lock, then it’s time to turn to a different heat source. You can start by heating the lock with a hair dryer. The heat from the dryer should melt the ice in no time. If you do not have access to a dryer, you can heat up the key with a lighter. Run the flame across the key, being careful not to melt anything plastic. Once the key gets heated up, put it against the lock. Repeat the process until you can put in the key without resistance.
Step 5 – De-Icer
If the ice on the lock is very thick, you may want to use a de-icer. These chemical agents will chew through the ice with little issue and have you up and running in no time flat. Do not store de-icer in your car as you won’t be able to get to it if the doors are frozen shut. You should keep the chemical inside the house or garage. You can also store some in your winter coat in case of emergencies.
Step 6 – De-Icer Alternative
If you do not have a good de-icer on hand, you can make use of hand sanitizer as a substitute. Hand sanitizers are made of alcohol, which can melt ice if there is a large enough concentration of it. Just pour the sanitizer on the key and then use the key to apply the liquid onto the lock. Only use hand sanitizer if you are not going to use a heat source. The alcohol could catch fire if exposed to an open flame.
Things You Should Avoid
You should not use hot water to unfreeze the vehicle lock. The hot water might melt the ice at first, but it will re-freeze later and even further complicate the problem down the road. You should equally avoid jamming the key into the lock. This can damage the lock and potentially break the key