If you live and drive in what we here at E3 Spark Plugs refer to as the “Frozen Tundra,” meaning anywhere north of the Florida-Georgia line, you’ve no doubt encountered the problem of your car door locks freezing, leaving you – literally – out in the cold.
Based in sunny Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, where we do sand, not snow (that freak winter of 1989 notwithstanding) we could just prop our flip-flopped feet on our patio chairs and laugh at you. But we have hearts. So instead, we’re going to offer you a few tips for thawing out that frozen door lock so you can get to work/the gym/the monster truck show on time.
- If your driver-seat door is frozen shut, try another one. Even on family cars, it’s the driver’s door that gets opened and shut more than any other, which means it’s more susceptible to water slipping in and subsequently and freezing. If all doors fail, try crawling in through the hatch or even the trunk if you’re able to get the back seat down. Start the engine and let your car run for a few minutes. Soon, it’ll heat up and warm the locks on all doors.
- If you’ve got a single, traditional key sans the modern, computer-chipped key fob, use a lighter or match to warm the business end of your car door key before inserting it into the lock. Be sure to wear thick gloves that won’t ignite. Burned fingertips do nobody any good. And only use this trick on a traditional key so you don’t fry your computer chip. Those chipped keys are pricey to replace.
- Everyone keeps a straw or a toilet paper tube handy during the winter, right? If not, start now. When your lock freeze, place the straw or tube over the lock and breathe. If you can’t do this without getting heckled by your neighbor, use a hair dryer instead. Or just tell your neighbor to knock it off.
- To prevent your locks from freezing in the first place, keep a can of deicer or WD-40 on hand. Spray your locks each evening. It’ll keep the condensation from freezing. And whatever you do, never pour hot water over your door locks. While it may sound like the perfect solution, it’ll only increase the amount of water pooling inside your lock and lead to more frustrating days locked out of your ride.
Got more cold-day automotive tips? Post them on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.