How to Fix a Frozen Car Lock

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On the coldest nights in Philadelphia, temperatures can drop to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Locksmith in Philadelphia working temperatures can even remain below freezing for entire days, which can lead to frozen locks. At Star Locksmith Philadelphia, we have encountered this situation on cars from time to time. How do you deal with it? You have a couple of actions you can take to de-ice the lock.

Car Lock De-Icing Spray on Hand

To fix a frozen car lock, keep a bottle of de-icing spray in the back of the closet or on a shelf in the garage. Keeping this in the glove box of your car won’t do much good if the locks freeze. Available at hardware stores and auto parts shops, our experts locksmith can confirm this is the most effective method to fix a frozen car lock. The bottle of de-icing spray contains a mixture of glycol and water. With the contents under pressure, you spray the mixture of the bottle onto the lock to melt the ice.

Don’t Chip away at the Ice

Your first instinct when you see ice on the car is to start chipping away at it. If you value your car’s paint job and dent-free exterior, you may want to try something else. Don’t pour warm water over the lock either because this can refreeze the door more and cause damage to the electronics of the car like the sensors and the lock cylinders through a process known as thermal shock. Thermal shock happens when a rapid change of temperature occurs and adds structural stress that can irreparably damage the vehicle.

Check the Other Doors

In many cases, even when one lock has frozen firmly shut, you can open one of the other doors on the car. You could even try the trunk if it gives access to the rest of the vehicle. Once inside the car, turn the key in the ignition and let it warm up for 10 to 15 minutes. In most cases, the warming of the inside of the vehicle melts the ice on the lock.

Heat the Key: Should You Do It?

Occasionally, you will hear people recommend that you heat the key up to melt the ice. At Star Locksmith, we advise caution. If you have a newer vehicle, many of the keys will have internal electronics, which the flame can permanently damage. For plain keys, you might get away with this, but you could ruin a specialty key. You heat the key through grabbing a lighter and putting the flame underneath the key. Next, you insert the key into the lock to de-ice the tumblers. It can work, but people with a specialty key shouldn’t try this.

Grab a Hair Dryer

You can de-ice the lock with the use of a hair dryer. Plug it in if you have an electrical outlet nearby and direct the hot air toward the lock. You might grab a toilet paper tube to focus and strengthen the airflow in one direction. Exercise extra caution using a hair dryer outside. Don’t let the wire touch water or snow because people have gotten electrocuted. You must stay alert at all times if you use a hair dryer outside. The manufacturers didn’t design them for outdoor use.

Don’t Let It Freeze

Especially when the weather reporter talks about a cold morning tomorrow, you might run outside and spray some WD-40 on the lock. The WD-40 prevents the internal condensation from freezing in the first place. In that way, you take active measures to prevent the frost from forming on the lock, to begin with. Some people also report how WD-40 can act as a type of de-icer for the lock, but people experienced mixed results with it.

How to Keep Your Lock from Freezing While at Work

You had a tough day at the office. The last thing that you want to deal with is a frozen car lock. How do you prevent your car locks from freezing while at work? Grab the parking spot that gets the most direct sunlight. Strategically plan it so that direct sunlight shines on the driver’s side door. Because of the sunshine, your car will feel warmer when you get in.

Hand Sanitizer on Frozen Ice

Maybe you don’t have a bottle of de-icer, but in the age of COVID-19, you have a bottle of hand sanitizer. The ethanol and isopropanol alcohol lower the freezing point of water. You can melt the ice with hand sanitizer in seconds. To do this, dribble some hand sanitizer on your key and insert the key into the car lock.

Important to note: Don’t force the key because this can break it. Gently wiggle the key around the lock until you can safely enter. After the key enters the lock, leave it there for 30 seconds, which gives plenty of time for the alcohol to work its magic. The same principle at work with hand sanitizer is the same reason why vodka freezes at much lower temperatures.

Push Hard on the Door

You can slip past a frozen seal through pushing hard on the door. The pressure against the door breaks the ice in some cases and lets you slip inside. Repeat the process as many times as it takes to break the seal. Don’t push or pull too hard because you don’t want to damage the door.

If all else fails, call Star Locksmith in Philadelphia. Don’t force the lock. You don’t want to damage your car’s locks. We have the know-how and equipment to help you get back inside your car. Speak with our experts today!

 

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